Fetii, a ride-sharing service for groups who want to go places in a 15-passenger van, plans to roll in Dallas later this year.
The startup—which calls itself “the Uber for large groups” and “the world’s first group rideshare platform”—was co-founded in 2020 by CEO Matthew Iommi and CTO Justin Rath. It currently operates in College Station, Austin, and Lubbock. According to Forbes, Iommi got the idea as a senior at Texas A&M, when he and a friend were operating an event shuttle business.
Iommi noticed that big groups enjoyed the camaraderie and cost-sharing of traveling together in one big ride, instead of navigating the logistics of splitting into multiple vehicles.
“We can generate three times the revenue (of a typical ride share trip) in one Fetii trip because we can put in more passengers while still maintaining the cost of the trip,” Iommi told Forbes.
Fetii has another benefit, Iommi says: It reduces both traffic and CO2 emissions by reducing the number of cars groups might otherwise take from A to B.
Raising $500,000 on WeFunder
Fetii itself is a platform. Instead of owning its vehicles, its vans are supplied by fleet owners and rental agencies, with Fetii getting 30% of the revenue, Forbes reports. Since its overhead is low, Iommi projects that it can be profitable in new markets in less than three months.
The startup has currently raised nearly $250,000 of a $500,000 goal on WeFunder. “It’s not a donation, not a profit share, it’s equity,” Iommi told Forbes. “We’re raising on a convertible note. It’s not a Kickstarter, not a GoFundMe. It’s really investing in a private company.”
The startup plans to use the funding to expand—with an ultimate goal of going global. It plans to begin operating in Nashville in April and aims to roll into Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston later in 2022.
A ‘night out on the town’ with friends or co-workers
It’s no coincidence that Fetii (a South Pacific word for extended family) launched in three college towns. A key use case cited on its WeFunder page is a night on the town with a big group of friends or co-workers—and the fact that the logistics involved can be “a real buzzkill.”
Fetii aims to turn that buzzkill into a breeze for groups who want to pile in a big transit van, and it seems to be working: It’s served over 250,000 passengers on 40,000-plus rides, according to its WeFunder page, with a $3 million-plus revenue run rate and 300% quarter-over-quarter growth.
A ‘$136.5 billion total addressable market’
The startup says it’s serving what promises to be a $136.5 billion total addressable market, with “driver economics more favorable than Uber’s and Lyft’s.” That total market includes the $5.3 billion rideshare market, a $27 billion scheduled and charter event transportation market, and a $104.2 billion “smart commute” market.
A ‘Future 5 Startup’
Fetii was named a Future 5 Startup by Built In Austin for Q1 2022.
Iommi told Built In that most of his clientele is college students going out in groups, as well as companies organizing employee events.
On-demand or prescheduled rides average $5 per person
Fetii’s rideshare platform “combines the convenience of Uber with the experience of charter transportation,” the startup says on WeFunder. “Our model is better for groups, drivers, and the planet.”
The platform’s fares are less expensive than Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing apps, Fetii says, with individual rates averaging $5 per ride. A “unique check-in system” automatically splits the costs among a group’s riders when they scan a QR code with their Fetii app as they enter the van. (Group rides originate from one location, instead of each passenger being picked up at individual addresses.)
“Book like Uber/Lyft, Pay like Lime/Bird,” Fetii says on WeFunder.
Rides can be ordered on demand or by prescheduled reservation. The platform’s algorithms determine pricing based on distance, demand, time of day, and other factors.
Partnered with Texas A&M to help reopen campuses
When the Texas A&M University System began returning students to in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it partnered with Fetii to help reopen its 11 campuses.
The system’s chief information officer, Mark Stone, wrote Iommi a thank-you letter saying that Fetii and the use of its QR codes provided “touchless validation of transportation fees,” helped take classroom attendance, registered student usage, validated event registration, and managed vehicle density on the campuses.
“TAMUS found Fetii to be simple to implement, highly cost-effective, and extremely flexible,” Stone wrote.
Other corporate clients
For more evidence that Fetii does more than transport frat parties in college towns, it offers a list of other corporate and academic clients on its WeFunder page. They include the University of Texas, HPI, Nutrabolt, Delta Airlines, “Austin City Limits,” the Texas Heritage Songwriter’s Association, Alpha Schools, and Silicon Valley Bank.
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