After a year of development — and two name changes — women’s-only rideshare Safr is ready to launch, and set to close its latest funding round “very soon,” Auto Finance News has learned.
Safr, still in beta testing, will launch in Boston on March 1, and plans to expand into other major U.S. cities later this year.
The service is designed to connect female drivers exclusively with female and children riders, with the mission of empowering women in the ride-hailing economy.
Since starting its beta last year, Safr has received a lot of attention from media, investors, and the community, Co-Founder Michael Pelletz told Auto Finance News. To that end, the company has opened an undisclosed amount of funding rounds. Pelletz declined to offer specifics on the rounds, but “every round we have opened, we have closed very quickly,” he said.
Safr — formerly known as Chariot for Women at its founding in March 2016, then later SafeHer — made its final name change to Safr after bringing a marketing team onboard.
“We wanted a four-letter name, like Uber or Lyft,” Pelletz said, so that when rideshare comes to mind, consumers think: Uber, Lyft … and Safr.
Safr hired Chief Executive Syed Gilani, Chief Financial Officer Craig Gainsboro, and a slew of staff across all departments over the past few months, bringing the current total to 80 employees, Pelletz said.
Pelletz did not reveal the exact number of drivers in Safr’s network, but said that “thousands” are on the platform.
Additionally, the company is in the market to partner with an OEM to provide a fleet of cars to its drivers, as well as financing partners to offer “even better” financing opportunities than Uber’s Xchange Leasing program. However, the ride-hailing company is focusing on its growth and successful launch, before actively pursuing any partnerships.
It’s worth noting that Safr isn’t the only startup tapping into the female ride-hailing market. See Jane Go, also still in beta, is another rideshare company that caters to the female demographic. However, while Safr will launch on the East Coast, See Jane Go operates on the West Coast — Orange County and Long Beach specifically — with more expansion in Southern California planned for this year. The California startup has raised “several seed rounds” for an undisclosed amount, and is planning to announce its A round funding by yearend.