23 Jan 2018

Podcast: Payam Safa of Bellhop on building a transparent transportation network

There’s been quite the pivot for mobile concierge startup Bellhop. The startup recently moved into providing a “best fare” search layer across on-demand transportation apps. It’s basically a meta-layer for ordering a ride from your phone. The vision is that, regardless of where you are in the world, you have the ability to search for the best fare and/or car availability across whichever on-demand transportation apps are the most popular wherever you are.

Co-founder Payam Safa sat with the Travel is Your Business crew to discuss this pivot, as well as operating a new business model within other companies’ walled gardens.

Show notes from Mouth Media:

All-in-one ride-hailing app making ride-sharing transparent…

Payam Safa, Founder & CEO of Bellhop (an all-in-one ride-hailing app enabling price comparisons and ride-booking from multiple ride-sharing companies) joins Marc Raco, Nick Vivion (tnooz) and Brandon McKenzie (MetroButler) in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

A lack of transparency, bringing all into one, and obtaining API access

Safa discusses how consumers don’t have transparency across multiple apps, why Bellhop is starting with ride-hailing, how many consumers shift between different apps in a non-transparent environment constantly shifting to find best ETA/price. Bellhop is bringing all apps into one, enabling consumers to make more informed decision to save time and money. Offering direct API access to companies, either building for them or first company to have access to API.

A race to the bottom, an ally in a new CEO, and loyalty programs

How rideshare companies are starting to accept their fate that they are interchangeable. A race to the bottom, capturing rideshare, no brand loyalty, determining the need/demand, and knowing ridesharing companies were determined to agree to this, and why the new CEO of Uber is a key to the opportunity. Potential loyalty programs at rideshare companies, incentives, and a potential program for random upgrades.

Data, global expansion, and the pain of pivoting

The data of Bellhop, price transparency for the consumer, and how the purpose of aggregating is the transparency. Why Bellhop changed focus onto ride-hailing, and the initial version had one partner in a vertical (food delivery, ride-hailing tours, etc).

The name Bellhop and its fit with vision as the business focus have changed, and whether this is a data play globally? The need to build supply in other markets in order to go international, working with air travel for the most efficient way to travel, and an exciting pilot working with the Port Authority of NY and NJ along with other partnerships to grow demand. Plus, personal questions cover the pain of business pivots, and stirring things up on the dance floor.

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