Go Safr: On Transforming Neighborhoods Into Sisterhoods
Safr is pioneering a new ridesharing concept, tailored specifically to the needs of women. We speak with Safr’s Founder, Syed Gilani, on this new endeavor and its mission to empower women through safe transportation.
Tell us about the philosophy and mission behind Safr; how and why was it founded? Ridesharing giants and other companies in the general transportation sector have long ignored the market need of providing a safe transportation service for women, children and in general, families. Women not only make less than men, they also end up spending more on their transportation than men. Rideshare economy couldn’t fulfill its promise to provide equal opportunities to women due to safety concerns. Reports about sexual assault etc., have been frequently making their way to our national news media with little action from the early entrants in the rideshare market. Safr’s mission is to empower women through safe transportation. Although we don’t discriminate based on gender, race, color and religion, we stand firm with our mission and philosophy. Although our mission is relevant in the western societies, the meaning of empowerment magnifies when we talk about the societies in Asia, Middle East and Africa, where lack of safe public transportation and cultural and religious barriers bar women from free movement. Safr is founded to allow women around the world to enjoy freedom of movement anytime of the day without the fear of safety. We have been lucky to gain the interest and support of others who also share our mission.
“Safr’s mission is to empower women through safe transportation.”
How does Safr work to support women, specifically? Only 14% of the rideshare drivers are women and almost all of them don’t drive after sunset due to security reasons. Also, only limited number of women choose rideshare giants for their transportation needs. Security and safety concerns severely diminish the potential for women to earn equally. Safr empowers women through safe transportation. Comprehensively vetted women drivers picking up women offers them a peace of mind and help them earn more by providing them more earning hours. The mission of women empowerment runs through our DNA and therefore, we have created programs like “mothers for others” to increase the earning potential for women. We are also creating other programs that help women in achieving their lifetime goals. Our Captain program also offers a launch pad for women who have great organizational and management skills and would like to earn more.
How does Safr work, and in what cities is it available? Safr offers not only same features that people are used to by using other rideshare platforms but also offers additional safety through its gender selection preference, color match, SOS button and other pro-active features that work behind the scene. We are currently operating in Boston and opening up in Orlando, Fl. Our goal is to open in the DC Metro area as well other cities through our rapid expansion program.
“Only 14% of the rideshare drivers are women and almost all of them don’t drive after sunset due to security reasons.” How has other ridesharing ventures not served women well in the past; and what makes Safr different? Ridesharing market has been welcoming several differentiating platforms, each focused on their own market vertical. Like any other market, only the fittest survive by the end of the day. We cannot speak for other women focused rideshare ventures and their performance but for Safr, our concentration has been on building a platform that is laser-focused on serving women on every level. It starts with our mission of women empowerment and a relentless pursuit of our mission. To augment our mission, we started working on an artificial intelligence based platform DEBRA to ensure better market reach. In addition, we have been aligning Safr with other organizations who may share our mission. We understand that we have a tall order ahead and it will take a whole lot to achieve it so we are reaching out to everyone who can help us in empowering women all across the world. Tell us about the Safr SOS button, and how does it work? Safr is a pioneer in introducing SOS button which lately we have seen other rideshare giants have also copied. It allows women to reach out to their emergency contacts, law enforcement and our support with one touch. With safety being the core of our value proposition, SOS button allows both riders and drivers to seek-out help without leaving the app and with minimum effort. What kinds of measures do you have in place to ensure riders feel safe using your service? Safety starts with our mission and every action we take to ensure we meet our mission objectives. We personally interview every driver-partner through our Captains, during which their cars are inspected and they are given some tips about providing the better experience to their rides. Once a driver-partner passes in-person interview, we conduct one of the most in-depth background checks on every driver with zero-tolerance policy. Once a driver-partner is approved, we don’t leave them out without support. Our Captains stay in touch with their driver-partners throughout their association with Safr and provide them much needed support and guidance. In addition, we offer a variety of safety features within our driver and rider apps. What do you hope for the future of Safr? Safr aims to become an extension of lifestyle platform for women. We have been diligently putting together all the right ingredients to gain our users’ trust and to offer them services that fit their lifestyle. As a next generation platform, we also wish to contribute to the on-going innovation in the transportation market in general. Safr aims to be in all 50 states in the US and in Asia and Europe in next three years. We are getting a tremendous interest from women all across the US and from around the world and we are steadily moving towards achieving our expansion plan.