Selfdrive Q&A

The mobility, particularly car rental industry is on a high. In the coming months, the sector is anticipating profound growth given new trends and mechanisms. We spoke to Soham Shah, Founder and CEO of Selfdrive who offers deep insights on his company, the industry and the way forward.

  • Tell us about your journey and how the inspiration for Selfdrive come about? 

Selfdrive, is a smart mobility Super App, that allows users to rent a car on demand in a simple, safe and flexible way. The app is designed on a proprietary tech foundation concept known as search–select–pay, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to match users’ profiles with the cars they wish to drive. It’s currently available in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, KSA and Bahrain, and we plan to add further new markets in the near future.

The idea to start Selfdrive spurred when we realized that the car manufacturers and dealerships have a unique problem – they have a lot of unsold inventory standing. This led us to come up with the idea of having a platform that facilitates deals for consumers and gives them direct access to dealership vehicles.

  • Tell us what you aims to achieve in the car rental industry? 

As compared to other car rental services, Selfdrive is a Super App, which basically means that it is end-to-end integrated. The app offers a 3-step convenient process of SEARCH- SELECT- PAY with a flexibility to subscribe from 1 day to 36 months.

When we started our operations, we noticed that car rental customers were offered old, used cars at high prices. This is where we came into play. We started associating with dealers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to offer brand-new and almost brand-new cars to customers from 1 day to 36 months. Today, we have partnered with car manufacturers, dealers, and the top leasing companies making it the fastest-growing company in this space.

In addition, our AI integration helps us to profile customers based on their specific requirements. For example, if you are a registered customer on our platform and have been driving a certain segment of a vehicle, say BMW – every time you return to the application, the look and feel of the application would typically change based on your profile. This helps us better understand that this client is within the luxury segment, and so he doesn’t have to waste his time navigating through the entire app.

As a fast-growing company, our aim is to ensure that customers have access to On-demand vehicles, which is a key disruptor for the industry. Our application provides cars and vehicles on demand for customers to just have it for a day or two or a month, return it, upgrade it or exchange their vehicles with any other model. So that amount of flexibility has already been launched, and it’s already been successful in the market and as we grow, we aim to continue the positive momentum.

  • How has the business been affected in the face of the rising fuel costs? 

As we don’t own assets, and partner with dealers and OEMs, the rising fuel costs haven’t affected us directly. However, we have seen a shift in customer renting patterns, where most customers who were using full sized SUVs are now shifting to compact SUVs and mid-sized sedans. Also, individuals who were considering purchasing a car, are now opting for car rentals.

  • What are the future plans of the company? 

Being a pioneer in the digital car rental industry in GCC, we are looking to lead the digital transition/transformation in the Mobility space by offering seamless customer experience and ease of access for mobility across GCC, Europe, UK and Western Markets.

Currently we provide an all-in-one portfolio of services starting from 1 day to 36 months. As we see an exponential growth in the mobility space – we plan to be a global leader in mobility sector & have plans to launch EVs, Digital Charging Network, E-scooters & end integrated mobility network across channels. 


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