Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Vince Cifani, Founder and CEO of Joyride, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
As the world’s first micromobility software platform, Joyride has been an industry leader in shared mobility since 2014. Our platform enables entrepreneurs to swiftly launch and grow a fleet of shared vehicles, as well as manage operations, through white-label user applications and backend dashboard tracking.
We’re best known for e-scooter and bike sharing, but our platform is hardware-agnostic, meaning we support all forms of mobility. With our turn-key platform, micro-transit operators have all the tools they need to manage their fleet(s), including the branded rider application used by the end customer.
Joyride is currently powering operators in 200-plus global markets and has recently expanded to the delivery space. Our customers are mobility companies, private and public institutions, and entrepreneurs with fleets of all sizes.
Tell us about yourself
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in vehicle sharing. Our customers are dependent on not just our service but other software and hardware as well (smart locks, IoT devices, GPS, payment gateways…). By necessity, we are experts in the whole ecosystem. In addition to selling our core service offering (software), our sales and support teams found themselves spending a lot of time as consultants and advisors. Leads were coming to us raring to go but missing critical components of their business, for example, proper insurance coverage.
This inspired us to build Joyride Academy, a knowledge base dedicated to shared micromobility. In a nutshell, we consolidated years of industry experience and leadership to create a self-serve multimedia e-learning experience. The curriculum covers all the essentials: hardware, software, regulations, insurance, and operations. With all these resources in one place, new operators are able to avoid costly pitfalls and plan their business launch for sustained profitability. We didn’t stop at our doorstep, though. Our latest courses, Micromobility Marketing Masterclass and Rebalancing Strategies give experienced operators additional tools for business development.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Joyride Academy had a quiet go-to-market launch, which resulted in slowly building engagement levels. To prove the product, we knew it needed to be put in front of the right audience–enter the first Joyride Academy Experience at the annual Micromobility Europe in Amsterdam. In this dedicated two-hour workshop, we addressed the most pressing (and often overlooked) pain points of the industry with the help of leading experts, current research, and hands-on demonstrations.
Following the conference, Joyride Academy had all kinds of enrollments–from leads to customers to competitors. Since this event, with the help of dedicated marketing efforts and third-party collaborations, our active user base has skyrocketed.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
When you are an expert in a niche, it can be difficult to know when to sell versus when to share your experience. Joyride Academy is currently free and open to anyone. That means our competitors and their customers could leverage our knowledge without us seeing a single cent. However, on the flip side, free access to the right resources means more would-be operators can become our customers.
By enabling more entrepreneurs to grow their businesses efficiently, we accelerate the uptake of sustainable transportation options in cities around the world.
Overall, the purpose of the Academy is to bring digestible knowledge to an oftentimes complicated industry and build long-term business relationships. Joyride is the only platform you need to build a profitable and sustainable micromobility business - Joyride Academy sweetens the deal.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Joyride Academy went live in the winter of 2022. We were still building the curriculum and refining the platform, but our minimum viable product was three courses. Since then, we’ve restructured content, tried different media, and brought in multiple collaborators. It’s been a learning process, but Joyride Academy wouldn’t be where it is today if we had waited to click ‘publish’ every single time.
- Plan to spend twice as much money as you expect. We built Joyride Academy without any guarantee of a return on investment. Hosting an e-learning platform, populating it with high-quality content, and marketing it to the right people comes with a price tag. Since our courses have remained free to the public, the payoff is not in dollars but in brand awareness/sentiment, lead qualification, and customer retention.
- All the effort, time, and resources you invest in your customers, invest the same in your team. Joyride Academy is managed by two individuals who also work cross-functionally with other Joyride departments. Despite a lean team, we’re able to operate at a high level because our company culture empowers autonomy. Give each team member the tools and space they need to feel creative, and you’ll see results you could never have imagined.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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