Uber and Lyft have been disruptive in the transportation market, but there’s still a missing piece to the puzzle. Meet Blongg, a company changing the way people use their cars! Very simply put: When you’re not using your car, Uber and Lyft drivers can use it to earn fares. Blongg will connect your car to drivers. You’ll share profits, and your car gets returned cleaned and refueled.
We had a chance to sit down with JP Galvao, CEO of Blongg, to discuss the company and the team’s experiences building it in #MiamiTech.
Tell us about Blongg. What led to you create it?
Our initial idea was completely different. We wanted to create a luxury car fleet to share it with Uber/Lyft Drivers. After 15 days of operations we noticed a huge demand of people outside of Uber and Lyft wanting to be part of the ride-sharing economy. They were not only drivers without cars, we found many car owners who wouldn’t want to drive for the Uber/Lyft but would love to lend their car to someone in exchange for some money. That’s when we decided to create a platform to bring people who are out of the revolution into the new world that is being born.
Fernando (co-founder) and I, we have the same life’s mission: To make a difference in people’s lives. When we realized that there was a way we could make a difference in the lives of many people and at the same time create a great company, we decided to start Blongg.
How did you decide on the name?
Blongg comes from Belong. We want to help people feel like they belong in the new shared world.
Who is your target market?
On the car-owners side, our first target are Uber and Lyft drivers, who use their cars in their spare time. Second, we believe that millennials believe in a collaborative economy and want to make extra money with their idle cars while they are working or sleeping.
On the drivers side, our first target is the huge demand of delivery employees and students, who don’t have an adequate car to work for Uber or Lyft.
When will Blongg be launched to the world?
We are currently in beta service in the streets of Miami. We want to finish all beta tests before November 2016.
Tell us about the technology behind Blongg.
We have an in-house experienced software engineers with tens of years of combined experience. We deployed an API-first architecture to that we can easily integrate Blongg’s core system with any platform (including connected cars), gain scale and have reliable data consistency across any different platforms/devices that we can integrate in the future. We use agile development techniques for efficient development, automated tests and code quality tools to reach international standards.
Blongg’s system is also deployed in a scalable Amazon AWS infrastructure to that we can focus in the software development while we gain scale with confidence.
You recently closed a seed funding round (congrats!). What was it like raising money from outside investors?
It was quite challenging because when we started we did not have a company yet, just a great disruptive idea in a powerpoint presentation. Despite that, we were fortunate, as it took us no more than 20 meetings to raise $585k from 4 different investors for our validation phase.
What caused them to want to invest in you and Blongg?
They were excited with the idea of disrupt (Blongg) the disruptors (Uber/Lyft). There are deep transformations in the current car-ownership model. We are the bridge between the actual model of car-ownership and the future one called: Own + Share. Our team is incredible, and the investors can see this. We have a passionate psychologist with a business driven mind in charge, some greats minds for coding, and the most committed and experienced banker taking care of our financial resources, all while working with a dream team of Wharton students assisting in our financial modeling.
Where do you see the company in 3-5 years?
We will be in 14 countries and 100 cities, making the difference for more than 150.000 people around the world.
What was your main motivation for coming to Miami as a Brazilian entrepreneur?
I was looking for venture investments, quality of life, and safety for my kids. My surprise was the discovery of an intense tech scene and a lot of opportunities.
What do you think makes the #MiamiTech scene attractive to entrepreneurs?
We have 4 key points here:
- Multi-culturalism: Miami is not only the capital of Latin America, but the city attracts people from China, Europe, and all US States. Miami is the best city to build a multi-disciplinary gifted team.
- An abundance of mentors: The best business men and women in the world come to live here when they’re retired. We have retired executives providing mentorship for us, they love to do that and they have a lot of time to do that.
- Wealthy tradition: Regardless of the tech money that is in California, Miami has a tradition to attract wealthy family offices from all over the world. The first steps for these offices in venture investment can be here. Do your part and let’s make it happen!
- Great community: With spaces like Building available for tech entrepreneurs, there’s a great community growing here where we can build together!
What is your favorite place to eat in Miami?
Stanzione 87, just across the street from Building!
Why did you choose to work at Building?
I can’t ever imagine a better place to build my company my response. Here I have an amazing environment, happy people, a lot of tips about providers network, the best internet connection, cafecitos at 3:05pm, and the most helpful staff that I have ever met. I love being a part of Building!
Blongg is one of many companies that are #BuildingMiami! To learn about membership at Building, the premier shared workspace for tech companies in Miami, click here.