How A Broken Travel System Inspired My Startup

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I neveSeth Rudinr meant to start a company. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. I got my MBA from Baylor almost ten years ago, and since then it’s been ingrained my nature to look for solutions in the form of business opportunities.

Anyway, starting a company wasn’t on my radar when I came up with the idea for asterRIDE nearly two years ago. I was crisscrossing the country as part of my role with a technology consulting firm, living out of a suitcase and doing my best to keep my latest itinerary straight.

I’d show up to catch my flight—that much I could do—but between preparing for my sales presentations, arranging my hotel accommodations and packing everything I’d need for the trip, my ground transportation plans always seemed to fall by the wayside.

After getting off an exhausting flight, the last thing I wanted to do was wait in a crowded cab line like cattle. Getting a black car was hit-or-miss and required looking up a company’s phone number, sitting on hold, and waiting for the car to arrive. Uber was just becoming mainstream, but you never knew who’d show up to pick you up. I couldn’t swing by to pick up potential clients with some teenager driving me around in a Honda.

No hate on Honda, by the way. I just like to impress my clients, you know?

Somewhere around my umpteenth red-eye, it hit me. Why wasn’t there an app you could use to hail a professional, licensed and vetted driver with the touch of a button? The kind of upscale driver my secretary would research and reserve for me (if I had a secretary who managed my travel itinerary, that is).

That was my ‘aha’ moment for asterRIDE.

14 months later, asterRIDE is a fully functioning mobile app for iPhone and Android. It connects passengers with licensed, background-checked drivers and professional chauffeurs, with the ability to select the type of vehicle you want with the tap of your index finger.

If you forget to book a ride until the second you’re getting off a plane, no problem. Just tap the app and rest assured you’ll be greeted by a driver who’s the utmost professional, presentable and courteous to impress any clients you may bring along for the ride.

We have operations in five cities, with seven other cities in the works to come online over the next several months.

I’m proof that business opportunities sometimes present themselves in the most unlikely places, like the annoying cab line at the airport. You never know when the problem in front of you will become your next million-dollar idea.

What was your business ‘aha’ moment?

If you liked this post, do me a favor and follow asterRIDE on LinkedIn, where you can keep up with the business side of this fun and growing startup.