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HerRyde: a Nigerian ride-hailing startup that’s built for women. Changing the narrative one ride at a time

HerRyde: a Nigerian ride-hailing startup that’s built for women. Changing the narrative one ride at a time

How to launch the first women-for-women ride-hailing company in the country

HerRyde created a female-only ride-hailing service, achieving two goals at once: catering to a specific group of people and securing their place in the ride-hailing market and changing the narrative of what it means to be a taxi business.

About the company

HerRyde was launched in August 2022 in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. The first women-for-women ride-hailing company in Nigeria was founded by CEO Monsurah Oluwafuyi, COO Muhammad Muazu, and Chief Product Officer Kamaldeen Ibrahim. It came as a solution for the safety and discrimination problem that women have faced while using ride-hailing services. In HerRyde, both the passengers and the drivers can only be women.

How it all began

The idea to build an all-female ride-hailing startup came to the founders based on their personal experience. Their siblings would ask to drive them, felt the need to constantly share their location while being in a taxi so that the location could be tracked, or would try to be on the phone while driving somewhere. The questions of safety would always be the primary questions for the founders’ female siblings. The founders asked themselves “How do we create an alternative for women who don’t want to have these experiences?”. That’s how the idea of HerRyde appeared.

As soon as HerRyde was launched, it attracted a lot of attention from the media. The ride-hailing startup was mentioned at World Economic Forum. Among other resources, Reuters wrote an article about HerRyde. This is how the founders knew their idea was indeed valuable.

The ride-hailing company stress that they are looking to change the narrative in the community: make taking a taxi a safe practice for women, involve more women in the male-dominated taxi industry, and give women an opportunity to make money by driving. HerRyde strives to be more than a ride-hailing company: they are an inclusive community where drivers feel valued and appreciated and receive the support they need.

The challenge: not enough drivers to meet the demand

The challenge that HerRyde quickly faced was that they couldn’t fulfill the demand for their services straight away. Customers kept coming, while female drivers were, and continue to be, a rarity.

The founders say that the solution to it is multi-faceted and might take some time. First, they want to lead by example. They expect that the female drivers they already have and the very existence of HerRyde as a service will show that driving is an appropriate line of work for women, and eventually more women will join this workforce. Second, as many women who would want to work as drivers don’t have cars, the company partners with other companies that can provide cars on friendly terms and assist with buying cars for their drivers. The founders predict that they will get more drivers as the cultural shift will start happening and driving will stop being seen as a male-only activity.

Looking into the future

It has been less than half a year since HerRyde joined the ride-hailing market. Yet, high demand means it’s time to plan out the next goals, and that’s exactly what the founders are doing. HerRyde plans to expand to two other cities in Nigeria - Lagos and Kano - in the near future. If all goes well, their long-term goal is to expand further away within the African continent and continue changing the narrative and making sure women can have a safe taxi experience everywhere.

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