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Roshni Rides

A transportation network solution to help the underserved women in Pakistan with their daily commutes.

Photo of Roshni Rides
19 20

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Roshni Rides recognizes that women in Karachi are four times less mobile than men leading to a decrease in independence and job participation. We believe we can close this gap by formalizing the current pick & drop system through our digital platform. Roshni Rides partners with businesses and educational institutions to aggregate their employees and students based on geographical locations. Riders are matched within a 5 km radius to create more efficient, timely, and reliable routes. Our subscription based model allows users to have the same driver and route for their subscription period, increasing predictability and reliability while remaining affordable. Organizations can select our dynamically priced packages that are tailored to three major customer segments: labor workers, office workers, and students. We understand that our customers have different needs- this is why our tiered packages allow our customers flexibility to ride on a quality service within an affordable range. Safety is a priority at Roshni Rides, where we carefully select and train our drivers through a 4 point extensive vetting process. Having trained drivers is a top priority for Roshni Rides as they, along with our technology, distinguishes our solution as the optimal transportation choice. Roshni Rides empowers local communities to be organized under 1 platform so that all of their commutes can be easier. Through our business model, we are bridging the gaps of peace and prosperity. Giving women the chance to get to work and school on time and be mobile will increase their income, thus increasing prosperity for the entire family. Current transport options are either too expensive or extremely crowded, dangerous, and time-consuming. Since we handle all logistics and strive to give our customers a dignified commuting experience, they can now have piece of mind while going to work or school.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our beneficiaries are women aged 18-55 who commute to school and work, a market size of 10.4 million. Commuting women face the worst transportation conditions, and we want to offer them an opportunity that increases piece of mind and prosperity through our accessible, affordable, and reliable service.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There is no business doing what we are doing in Pakistan. Currently, pick and drop services in Pakistan are private contracts with individual drivers. This model is extremely inefficient and more costly. Uber and Careem are on-demand services that must be ordered every single day, with a different driver, making every ride experience different. Additionally, there are limited seats, and typically an individual would travel alone on these platforms. This makes the service a lot more costly. With our subscription model and pooling method, we are able to create effecient routes, ensure reliability of customers because they will be matched to the same driver throughout their subscription period, and utilize ride-sharing to make the service more affordable.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Roshni Rides is comprised of 4 individuals who are committed to social enterprise, so much so that all 4 of us have moved from America to Pakistan to help mitigate this crisis.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In May 2017, we travelled to Orangi Town, Pakistan, where we met Nasreen. Orangi Town is the largest slum in the world (over 2.5 million). As Nasreen was telling us about the extreme challenges her and millions of people like her face in healthcare, sanitation, education, and employment, we noticed one commonality. Transportation was an underlying issue that was affecting and enhancing the scope of all the other issues. After hearing Nasreen's story, we had to help.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace is a deep issue that has external and internal factors. When a person has constant anxiety or worry about getting to work/school on time, how they will reach there, and being harassed by drivers and passengers, it tremendously disrupts the community's peace. We are bridging peace by connecting these women to a transport service that makes their day-to-day so much more peaceful with an accessible, affordable, reliable, and safe ride. Individual Prosperity is impacted by your ability to grow financially, and communal prosperity rests on the backs of the country's middle class. Pakistan's middle class is dwindling, and our aim with this service is to take those in the lower middle class up to the middle class by offering a cost-effective transport solution. The potential economic effects of this initiative will have ripple effects in every industry. We want to be the bridge to prosperity for those who are suffering economically in Pakistan.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

In order to execute this initiative, we have a dedicated and diverse advisory board comprised national and international professionals and mentors. For our operations however, we are very keen on local collaborations and community support. Our operational partners are all based in Pakistan and have the interest of the country and its citizens in mind. For mapping and logistics, we have partnered with TPL Maps, a local mapping company that has more mapping coverage in Pakistan than Google Maps. In addition, we are partnering with local businesses, NGO's, and universities to do transport for their female staff and students. Some notable partners in this regard are Shahi Food Group, TAF Foundation, JS Bank, and Artistic Milliners.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

With a high population density and youth population, there are many young professionals who are ready to work with us. Additionally, Karachi is a huge metropolitan city with large amounts of businesses and schools, so it serves as the perfect area to test our model.

Geographic Focus

We are starting in Karachi, Pakistan, and will expand to all of South Asia.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

This project is in the process of being implemented, and these funds will accelerate that process. With these funds, we aim to scale up to 2,000 customers within the first 3 months of receiving the funds.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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19 comments

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Photo of Andrew Salema Ludigo
Team

What an inspiring idea, am quite impressed and I have learned a little about what women have to put up with through your approach.

Photo of Jaci Braga
Team

Great initiative! I was thrilled to see that the vehicle giving rides in the video was electric and then to see the solar panels that I am assuming are used to power the vehicles. I would definitely emphasize the fact that the rides are using renewable resources and include the way this also bridges the planet with the peace and prosperity bridges you highlight, because this brings your proposal to a whole new, more sustainable level that might be missed by those who don't watch the video or look further into the project, other than your initial description here. Good luck and great work!

Jaci

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

Hi Jaci,

We tried sustainable vehicles in the pilot, and are definitely going to incorporate them in the future but unfortunately Pakistan does not have the infrastructure to support them at the moment.

Photo of Natalie White null
Team

This is an incredible and practical idea with the potential to make positive impact on a variety of fronts: healthcare, employment, education, etc. Incredible work. I understand this is a social enterprise. Is it meant to be a non-profit or for profit business?

Best,
Natalie

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

Hi Nathalie,

Great question. It will be a for-profit business because we believe in the concept of social enterprise and sustainable impact. We want to do the work of NGO's without relying on donations.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Hi team Roshni Rides 
I really like your concept and how well you have been able to communicate it on the platform, especially with regards to peace and prosperity. I also enjoyed watching the shared videos(highlighting your journey and your 6 minute pitch).
I have some follow ups:
1. Could you highlight on the traction since pilot
2. I wonder if there any suprising insights/feedback that the team uncovered when doing the pilot that has now re-shaped your approach to the business. If yes, could you share some of the insights?
3. I am a bit curious to learn more about the team behind Roshni Rides(your backgrounds , passion and motivation to relocate).
4. The 2000 customers you hope to reach, do you mean the drivers? And are there any form of support that your team is looking for that the OpenIDEO community can help provide?
bikash gurung it would be great to also have your thoughts on this.
Really excited to see the idea progress.

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

Hi Isaac, thank you for your interest in Roshni Rides. To answer your questions:

1. Since our pilot we have pivoted our model. Our model was more of a subway type service that made multiple stops on a fixed route. We were trying to serve everyone and had a value proposition that was specific, but not specific enough in hindsight. That being said, during the pilot which was operational for about 6 weeks, we gave over 120 rides, and increased drivers average daily income by 50%.

2. There were definitely a lot of data points and findings from the pilot that shaped our pivot. We saw that the majority (75%) of our customers were women. We also saw that the overwhelming majority of working women worked outside of their town, and that a lot of them were working in similar areas. Thus, we created the pool model for female commuters.

3. Our team is comprised of 4 dedicated, passionate, and hardworking individuals (on an operational level). Other than that, we have various advisors from different disciplines, industries, and countries that have helped and guided us tremendously throughout the way. Additionally, we received so much support from our community and families back home (New Jersey) which has fueled our drive to succeed even further. We all decided to move here after witnessing and living some of these issues first hand.

4. The customers refer to users of our platform, not drivers. We believe that with the support of the OpenIDEO community through this Bridgebuilder Challenge, we can realistically hit our target of 2000 customer within 3 months as we are preparing to launch a larger scale pilot for this new idea.

Hope this gives some good background and clears up and questions you had!

Photo of bikash gurung
Team

Hi Isaac Jumba , thanks for sharing about this amazing idea to me, otherwise I would have left it unnoticed. Congratulations to Roshni Rides team for winning the Hult Prize. I was curious to learn how have you been mobilizing the funds from Hult Prize? Your proposal is perfect example of human centric design thinking and while going through your pitch in the Hult Prize, you have mentioned you will create 1200 jobs and serve 2.2 million population, in how many years have you planned to achieve this goal. With the fund from Open Ideo, you mentioned you would hit our target of 2000 customer, I was curious to know if that has been already achieved through the fund from Hult.
I am also willing to learn more about cell networks, Internet connectivity, Smart Phones accessibility, digital Literacy for the targeted group which comes with solution like yours. What is the current status ? Have you also tried reaching out the government officials or transportation authority to support your initiatives. Looking forward to learn more.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thank you! Yes it does.

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

Hi Bikash! We are currently mobilizing the funds from Hult Prize for all of our operations. As we do not have any other form of funding, the Open Ideo funds would tremendously help scale our business quickly. In the Hult Prize pitch those impact projections were 5 year projections.

The metrics we gave for the 2000 customers was assuming that we do not obtain all of the money at once. We are assuming the money will be given in trenches and for the first trench that is what we feel we can accomplish through calculating our customer acquisition cost.

In terms of connectivity and digital penetration, Pakistan ranks amongst the world's lowest in terms of smartphone penetration and digital literacy. That being said, this number is increasing every year and there is a focus on increasing it. Our solution will have a digital platform, but is not limited to that. We want to serve as many people as possible which is why we also have other options for signing up that are non app based or internet based. We are finding ways of collecting data and inputting it into our backend system manually so that it can sync with the data through the tech.

Photo of Arafat
Team

Hello Team Roshni Rides ,

This sounds like a very useful concept that can positively impact the lives of many people. My team and I were wondering what sort of business relationship the initiative will have with riders/drivers.

Will drivers be salaried employees or will it be a commission model similar to companies like Uber?

If drivers are going to be company employees, will you be maintaining a fleet of vehicles?

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

Hi Arafat! In the beginning, we will be employing drivers and renting vehicles, but in order to have a scalable and sustainable model, we will shift to a profit-sharing model similar to Uber. In this way, we are try to gain traction while being as lean as we can. Once we create the demand and driver standards through owning the assets, we can leverage our traction to attract drivers as opposed to giving incentives that would burn a lot of cash. Hope this provides some clarification!

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thanks for bringing up this question Arafat . In Kenya, I have also seen a model where Uber partners with a (local) car manufacturer and provide the cars to the drivers on loan and then pay back monthly through Uber. I wonder if this model could also work for you Roshni Rides 

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

That's really interesting Isaac Jumba ! Definitely something to explore for us.

Photo of Gayanjith Premalal
Team

Hi Roshni Rides , I really like the way your team perceives peace. That is really unconventional and interesting. But I am a bit confused about the vehicles? In the video I saw that you are using electric three wheelers. But in your write up or in your pitch, it is not mentioned. Is it something not relevant for your submission?

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

Hi Gayanjith! Since that video came out we have slightly pivoted our model. We are now focusing on vehicles with a bit more seating capacity in order to utilize ride-sharing to drive down cost as well as provide a more comfortable ride.

Photo of Haseeb Shaikh
Team

Good stuff! You might want to look into SheKab, a ride-sharing service for women in Islamabad. There might be a potential collaboration in the offing.
Would love your feedback on our project, which is creating opportunity for children-in-poverty to live prosperous lives: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/review/eradicating-child-poverty-by-establishing-ties-lettucebee-kids

Photo of Roshni Rides
Team

Hey Haseeb! Yes, we've heard of SheKab. They are doing great work and there may definitely be room for alignment in the future!

Photo of Melinda Kerins
Team

Very impressive! You've hit a sweet spot at the intersection of a market opportunity and social good. Following your journey with interest.