Crowdfunding pours in to women-friendly rideshare Shebah
Written on the 29 March 2019 by Matt Ogg
Update: On 1 April Shebah announced it had reached an Australian crowdfunding record by hitting its $3 million target. The funds were raised from more than 2,100 investors of which 94 per cent were women.
A business catering to women's safety has picked up strong investor interest en route to taking a slice of Australia's $290 million rideshare market.
Women-friendly rideshare Shebah announced today its ongoing equity crowdfunding round has raised $2.4 million so far, edging closer to a $3 million target.
The result to date puts Shebah close to the $2.6 million raised by mobile 'neobank' Xinja on crowfunding equity platform Equitise in January.
The offer has just over two days to go for investors wanting to get a stake in the company, which according to crowdfunding platform Birchal has grown into a national service with around 200,000 trips completed and 8 per cent revenue growth month-on-month.
Company founder and CEO George McEnroe (pictured) says the last three weeks have been an exciting time for the Shebah team, and she is confident the funding target is achievable.
"Given the feedback we've received from investors, media, our community and women's groups from all over the country, I believe we'll hit three million, or come very, very close to it," she says.
"The response has been overwhelmingly positive and I'm thrilled with where we are at."
She says now the company has passed the $2 million mark, it can start to make a difference and put plans into action.
"There is a long list of plans, from technology advancements, to improving the driver onboarding process and expanding internationally, so the focus is on implementing these and putting the right team structure in place to see them through," she says.
The company recently received a $1 million boost from a sophisticated investor, and has a diverse pool of 1,352 investors thus far including politicians, experienced investors of both sexes, and mothers who have become shareholders for the first time.
Jude Munro AO and advocate for women in sport, Danielle Warby, are two public figures who have recently bought shares in the company.
"I want to make a contribution to a world in which women and children are safe. Where they can travel around our cities safely," says Munro.
"My day job involves planning for cities and I believe Shebah is a practical solution to ensure safe and easy travel. It also creates work for women."
Warby invested in Shebah because she believes the business is not only a good idea, but is going to change the way business is done.
"It's important to put women and girls front and centre and this isn't something that a lot of businesses consider. Our needs are different, especially around safety and community," she says.
"When I heard George talk about how so many male venture capitalists couldn't even see the value in her idea because the things that are of importance to us are not even on their radar, I knew I'd made the right decision. When women support women, amazing things happen."
McEnroe notes a lot of investors are "coming back for a second bite of the cherry".
The company notes the industry is growing at around 14 per cent year-on-year, while the taxi industry is valued at $6 billion.
"We offer a service within the Australian market that doesn't already exist, and there is a huge and growing demand for it," she says.
"No other rideshare service guarantees women the opportunity to travel with fellow women drivers, and to travel safely with their children.
"Shebah is the only solution locally, and we are looking forward to seeing our influence spread."
Crowdfunding group Birchal has burst out of the gates in 2019, hosting five successful crowd-sourced funding (CSF) offers in the first quarter of the year, raising a total of $4.8 million thus far from 3,300 investors.
Next up is the Speakeasy Group, which owns of award-winning Sydney and Melbourne establishments Eau De Vie, Boilermaker House, Mjolner and Nick & Nora's.
Speakeasy recently caused quite a stir with the announcement of its next instalment of the Nick & Nora's Champagne bar concept at the eagerly anticipated 80 Collins St development in Melbourne.
They join other marquee tenants including The Lucas Group and Alejandro Saravia.
Speakeasy has so far raised over $900k from over 330 investors, well past its minimum target and with its offer closing this Thursday 4 April, is set for a big finish.
Other groups to have launched successful CSF offers on Birchal this year include Black Hops, Motherhood and Chief Products.Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
Business News Australia
Author: Matt Ogg