Gia is the CEO & Co-founder of the 2017 Hult Prize winning start-up, Roshni Rides. Roshni Rides is a women’s friendly carpooling platform for commuters in Karachi, Pakistan. The company’s mission is to bring safe, affordable, and reliable rides to every commuter in Pakistan and beyond. Gia grew up in New Jersey, USA and moved to Karachi, Pakistan last year in order to launch her start-up. She is a January 2018 graduate from the Rutgers Business School where she studied Supply Chain Management, Political Science, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She and her team have won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in New Jersey and the Clement A. Price Human Dignity Award. Roshni Rides has been featured on NPR, The Huffington Post, CNN, and has been published in university case studies. Gia is a global speaker where she has spoken about entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, and women’s issues in emerging markets on platforms like Tedx and the Momentum Tech Conference. She is also a caffeine addict.
What was the inspiration behind your idea?
In Pakistan, women are 4x less mobile than men. As someone who was staying in Karachi and needed to go on a daily commute of 45 minutes to an hour, I found that my transportation options were dismal. After growing up with a variety of options on the East Coast including proper buses, subways, and trains, I found that Karachi had nothing to offer women. It was either face dangerous or uncomfortable options like overcrowded with men buses or rickshaws. According to a report by Arif Hasan, 89% of women in Karachi avoid public transport due to fear of sexual harassment. I was left with the option of asking a relative for a ride everyday or going through the Uber or Careem route. Uber and Careem prove to be too costly to use everyday and for those living in common residential areas (North Karachi, Gulshan, North Nazimabad), they often face frequent cancelled rides. Just trying to find a way to commute became a daily, stressful, nightmare. That’s when I knew there needed to be some kind of option for the average woman in Pakistan. As a team, we pivoted from our rickshaw network model to the successful carpool based pick and drop service we are today.
What are the factors that you believe give Roshni Rides an edge over companies offering similar services?
Safety. Affordability. Reliability. With Roshni Rides, you build a personal relationship with your driver so that the “stranger danger” effect of on-demand services is eliminated. We also use our technology and routing algorithms to match riders within a geo-fenced location, allowing for optimized routes (this means less commute time!). By carpooling, we are able to drive down the costs. Roshni Rides is NOT your average van wala. With us, you don’t have to worry about pan spitting uncles who refuse to listen to you. You have customer service support, quality control, and an overall professional experience with Roshni Rides. We also provide exclusive products and brand promotions in our experience buckets just for our riders with the help of our sponsor partners.
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