Accelerating Global Mobility Growth with inDrive
Mark Loughran, Group President, InDrive Holdings, Cyprus, discusses his vision for the future of mobility, P2P ride-hailing, sustainable mobility, and his advice for ME entrepreneurs.
1. If you were to describe your career path and the factors that led you to this point in your career, what would you say has motivated you?
I currently lead inDrive's business strategy, investments, and new businesses and oversee its internal processes. I am also in charge of advancing inDrive's inVision hub, which supports justice and equality in various fields. My primary motivation has always been to create something innovative and valuable.
Before joining inDrive, I was the head of Honeywell's CEE business, which had over 8,000 employees across 25 locations, including four R&D sites and nine factories. I also worked at Microsoft as GM of Cloud Business in Poland.
2. Tell us about inDrive's meteoric rise to become a unicorn in a very short space of time– what has been key in catalysing its international growth?
inDrive connects people who need services and those offering them. We believe people should have the power to decide on the price, payment method, route, and vehicle type for their rides or other services instead of relying on algorithms. This model has made us a ride-hailing leader and pioneer in other urban services.
Our people-driven approach fuels inDrive's international growth - we always hire local teams who understand specific market needs and preferences and tailor services accordingly. On the other hand, our social mission is to challenge injustice and empower individuals through the inVision hub, which runs various programs across regions and industries.
3. How integral has inDrive's app been to the company's overall success?
The app is the core of our relationship with users, both riders and drivers. Significant investments have resulted in a user-friendly and efficient app, enabling users to negotiate and agree on a ride or other service promptly and efficiently. The app's popularity is evident from the fact that it was the second-most-downloaded mobility app globally in 2022, according to data.ai.
4. What are the future plans for inDrive? Where do you see the biggest opportunities?
We are constantly exploring new ways to expand the range of urban services. Plans are underway to launch a new feature allowing users to request and provide services such as plumbing, electrical, cleaning, and courier services through the platform. This will create more economic opportunities and access to services for users, improving their financial wellbeing.
5. Where do you see the future of p2p ride-hailing globally?
I anticipate two main trends in the market. One will be dominated by global players who use algorithms to maximise profits and minimise human interaction. These players will target more developed markets and benefit only a few at the top. The other trend will be driven by innovators using technology to create and share value with more people. This is inDrive's vision.
P2P ride-hailing is based on people using the app, and we have the second most popular app in the world. This model will continue attracting more drivers and service providers, making inDepth more appealing to customers.
6. What are the risks of rapid-fire growth for promising start-ups and how can they remain profitable as they continue to grow into new markets?
Start-ups must balance financial planning and growth investments while maintaining product quality and company culture. They must also be aware of common challenges related to fast growth, such as operational issues, cash flow problems, competition, and regulation.
Start-ups should focus on understanding and meeting their customers' needs, which will help them succeed in any market instead of expansion at any cost.
7. What are the three key pieces of advice you would give start-ups who are looking to scale up on a global level?
First, stay true to your vision, and don't compromise on the human factor. At inDrive, we want to improve people's lives by giving them the power to decide on their rides or services, not algorithms. Second, pay attention to the needs of your service providers and consumers. Their interaction with the platform makes it valuable. Finally, understand the local markets and work with local professionals. They can assist in adapting your services to local regulations, preferences, and language.
8. What are your thoughts on Dubai and the Middle East as a global hub to accelerate start-up opportunities?
The Middle East has a lot of potential for start-ups. Despite the global downturn in funding, the GCC has a strong outlook for the long term.
The UAE's start-up ecosystem is vibrant and dynamic, supported by the leadership's commitment to making the country a sustainable global hub for start-ups. We closely follow the UAE start-up scene, and I'm excited to meet many promising founders and start-ups at Expand North Star.
9. And what about the UAE and the Middle East for InDrive – will this region be the app's next big market?
MENA is already a major market for inDrive - we have a significant market share in Egypt and are growing in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. There are plans to expand into other Middle Eastern countries soon, but we can't reveal the details yet.
inDrive's global expansion is rapid and ongoing. inDrive launched in the US over the summer, and we are confident that this peer-to-peer pricing model appeals to drivers and riders worldwide. The company is committed to sustainable growth and are keen to explore new markets and services. For example, we offer urban services like intercity transportation, freight and courier delivery, and on-demand task management in some markets.
10. Finally, how significant was it for you to speak at Expand North Star?
Expand North Star is the world's largest tech and start-up event, so it's an excellent opportunity to discuss the latest trends and challenges in technology. I look forward to the conversations on stage and off stage and meeting some of the most innovative minds in the industry.