5 Startup Tips With Bora Hamamcioglu Founder & CEO of CarHopper
I had the pleasure of interviewing Bora Hamamcioglu, Founder & CEO of CarHopper, a unique online booking platform for luxury and exotic car rentals.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
After I graduated from Georgetown University, it was right when Uber and Airbnb were just starting to scale up. The sharing economy made a lot of sense to me, so a friend and I started brainstorming about boat sharing — but that idea didn’t appeal to me as much as how this model can be applied to luxury and exotic cars.
CarHopper was initially a neighborhood car sharing program, but competed with major players like Avis, Hertz and Enterprise.
It was then when I realized there were no providers offering unique vehicles for rent. I saw a lack in supply there and decided to facilitate access to these top luxury cars in each market, which brought us to our current model where we are, an online booking platform for luxury and exotic car rentals.
Yitzi: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
In the first months I got started I knew I needed to build the supply side of the marketplace first. I experimented every possible way while trying to being efficient. I put out Google ads, Facebook Ads, sent mails, emails, cold called rental agencies etc. After being shut down many times I decided to go out of my office and try walk-ins. The results were amazing. People suddenly started showing interest, listening, and asking questions. This process not only improved my sales pitch, but also helped me understand my own business better, and build a better product overall.
Yitzi: So how exactly does your company help people?
CarHopper is a first-of-its-kind online booking platform for luxury and exotic car rentals. Available in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and San Francisco, CarHopper’s iOS and Android apps and website gives user access to the most desired cars in the world. From BMWs to Bentleys, CarHopper allows users to book luxury and exotic cars in less than 60 seconds. By providing a streamlined way of booking unique cars in top destinations, CarHopper is centralizing the exotic and luxury car rental experience
Yitzi: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The traditional way of renting a luxury or exotic car before CarHopper was for the renters to hunt deals on Groupon or Yelp, find a reputable exotic car rental agency after hours of research, then get in touch with the agency, and finally explore the car options available for rental over the phone. There was no online booking flow, or a way of pre-booking/securing an exact vehicle prior to the rental start date.
CarHopper has been disrupting this model by partnering up with the most trusted providers of luxury and exotic cars in each market, bringing their inventory live in real time, and allowing renters to book these luxury/exotic vehicles online through our website or mobile application.
Because we partner with several providers in each market and do not own the fleet, not only we have a much larger variety of cars from standalone rental agencies, but we are also able to offer much more competitive pricing to customers through a centralized channel.
Yitzi: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My family has been extremely supportive throughout my entrepreneurial journey. It is not easy to have your only child away from you for 10 years. Despite the distance between me and my parents they have always motivated me and pushed me to work my hardest. They have always been present and my “consultants” when I had to take important decisions regarding my career. It is thanks to them and the values they have always taught me that I run my business while being fair to people I do business with.
Yitzi: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
CarHopper is about creating memories and celebrations. Most of our customers book a car on CarHopper to celebrate something unique in their life; a honeymoon, an anniversary, a birthday present. We love being part of these memories and putting a smile on the face of our customers that look back in their adventure. For example, one of our customers rented a Lamborghini in Las Vegas for his honeymoon with his wife. They were both car enthusiasts and dreamed of making a road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in a convertible. There is nothing more rewarding than being part of their memory when years from now, they look back and remember their “dream drive” in their honeymoon.
Yitzi: What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
● Your job will not be 5 days a week and from 9 to 5.
● You will need to upgrade your “job description” every 3 months, take on more and more responsibilities while keeping your salary the same.
● There is no such thing as creating an “automated growth engine”. A successful company is not built on a formula, and does not run itself on autopilot. You need to be the pilot at all times.
● When building your company, do things that do not scale. Do not try to find the most efficient solution to grow. Go out, and hustle the old school way. Do not just sit behind a computer and spend time trying to “hack growth”.
● Make a lot of mistakes early so you can make proper adjustments while in infancy stage. Mistakes will help you understand product-market fit; and customer behavior with your product. Read the data well, and embrace the pivot.
Yitzi: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Brian Chesky from Airbnb and Jeff Bezos from Amazon.
Originally published at medium.com