Our Start-up of the Week is JourneyBid, an online platform that enables passengers to arrange transport with private bus companies.
Founded by Tracy Hadnett and James Gavin, JourneyBid is an online marketplace that connects passengers with private bus companies to secure transport, with the aim of offering an alternative to traditional directories online and in phone books.
Hadnett, JourneyBid’s managing director, said the platform provides users with quotes from bus companies, allowing customers to compare prices online.
It also sends customers emails with price comparisons for private bus hire options, and offers a private dashboard on the website where customers can confirm and secure their bookings.
Hiring a bus for your corporate, sports or leisure group?
Where hundreds of private bus companies from all over Ireland are waiting to quote for your journey.
Get Your Quote Now! pic.twitter.com/HVGrhcYKEI
— JourneyBid Ltd (@JourneyBid) February 4, 2020
Galway-based JourneyBid is targeting the corporate, sports and leisure markets, including sports teams, sports fans, leisure groups travelling for celebrations, birthdays or other gatherings.
“For all of these groups, our platform removes all of the headaches associated with first sourcing local bus hire companies, contacting each one individually and negotiating and comparing pricing,” Hadnett told Siliconrepublic.com.
“They can sit back and relax while our system does all the work.”
Her ultimate goal for JourneyBid is to make the private bus hire industry as well-serviced online as the taxi industry is, with apps such as Free Now, Lynk and Uber.
‘We’re only getting started, but the opportunity is endless’
– TRACY HADNETT
“With JourneyBid’s online marketing platform, operators can significantly increase business while also saving time and money for their passengers,” Hadnett said.
“While the site was being developed throughout 2019, our team was focusing on registering transport providers with the platform, all around the country. We were thrilled to reach our target of achieving 100pc national coverage, with hundreds of companies registering with us from every county, making it possible for us to launch the platform to the public with confidence.”
The site was launched in February 2020, but Hadnett said that business is starting to get off the ground. “We’ve already had passengers post and book journeys from across all industries: corporate groups, sports teams, girl guides, universities and leisure groups. We’re only getting started, but the opportunity is endless.”
For the last two decades, Hadnett has been working in a variety of sponsorship, marketing, communications and events roles. For 10 years, she worked with the IRFU in Dublin as a brand manager, overlooking a sponsorship portfolio consisting of brands such as Diageo, O2, Puma, Coca-Cola and DHL.
Nine years ago, she moved to Galway to work with an online education company, before taking on the role of training and education manager at heart and stroke charity Croí. Then, she joined Gavin, who is CEO of event management company Grooveyard, to set up JourneyBid.
Hadnett said that getting the business off the ground has been tricky at times, and in the coming months, attracting investment is definitely going to be on the cards.
“Trying to keep the costs to a minimum while working with a very limited start-up budget is a big challenge. And there are never enough hours in the day when you have a very small team trying to do everything in the early stages. In our case, we had to register hundreds of private bus companies from all over the country, which was time consuming with a small team.”
But as someone who has worked on a tight budget, Hadnett advised others in her position not to go with the cheapest option, as it could cost you in the long run. “This is particularly true when developing a tech business, you need to work with very good developers,” she added.
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