HOP into the Ride-Sharing Economy

Young entrepreneur, Zeryab Cheema, discusses the challenges of competing with Uber.


Attempting to challenge the likes of Uber in the ride-sharing economy is a monumental task that few would attempt.

Zeryab Cheema, HOP

However, anyone that successfully enters this market alongside these disruptive giants has the potential to receive a handsome return.

The risk is something that potentially drives executives away, but it has not stopped 20-year-old entrepreneur, Zeryab Cheema, from seizing this opportunity.

Despite being a second-year student at the University of Sydney, Cheema is also the founder of emerging ride-sharing company, HOP. It differentiates itself from the competition by offering rides that are 40% cheaper than taxis, and drivers receive 100% of the fare.

Hertz, the multi-billion-dollar car rental company, has partnered with HOP to provide their cars for HOP drivers.

Cheema told Tech Exec. that he looks to US company Lyft as a leading example of how to ensure employee loyalty and satisfaction, as they aim to make drivers feel equally as important as the riders.

“Lyft is driver-centric. I know we keep saying it’s important to keep the rider happy, but I think we miss the biggest source in the ride-sharing space – the drivers,” he said.

There is a constant evolution of disruptive companies within this industry. Uber’s innovations revolutionised the taxi industry, and Cheema believes that this transformation will continue. It is up to businesses like HOP to constantly adapt to the newest strategies.

“We do envision that in the next few months and years there will be other players that step into the market to do better than we do. But the whole idea is that we have to continuously pivot and move with the trend.”

From a broader perspective, the shared economy is quietly expanding with more industries realising that Peer-to-Peer (P2P) has cross-industry implications.

Cheema also believes that the future of the shared economy will continue to grow, as more people realise that the middle man is often an unnecessary inconvenience. The development of the digital age empowers customers to organise deals themselves.

“It’s really knocking out the middle player and just creating a platform; be it banking, insurance or any other sector. It will continuously make it easier and reduce that friction.

“We’ve seen that in the real estate market you don’t even need an agent to put a property on the market. That’s where the share industry is going right now.”

At only 20-years-old, Cheema possesses a unique insight into marketing towards younger generations. In terms of the ride-sharing industry, he suggests the price point as a significant decision making factor, even more than the experience.

The balance between price and customer experience is beginning to be recognised as a controversial concept for businesses in upcoming years. While he suggests price is a priority for HOP, he acknowledges that in more competitive and stable industries like the financial sector, user experience is a large differentiator for customers.

The entrepreneur believes that his success has stemmed from 3 fundamental P’s: “passion, persistence and pivoting.”

Cheema encourages anyone looking to follow their passions or begin their own business to follow these three P’s. He states it is important to stay flexible and be adaptable to the changing environment; this is how he achieved success with HOP.