As Radeladians, we are aware that our city gets a pretty harsh, unfair and sometimes just downright embarrassing rep.
On too many occasions along my travels I have heard, “why would you live in Adelaide”, “where is Adelaide”, “Adelaide? What a shithole!”
Well, too all these people, I say: La Mule.
From the bright mind of Oliver DuRieu, comes what will be the latest travel trend; the backpackers guide to Australia (and let’s hope) beyond. It is the Air B’n’B of the roads, and yes, it has originated from our wonderful city.
La Mule offers travellers the option of safe, comfortable and extremely cheap 'ride share' across Australia. By signing yourself up at www.lamule.com.au, you are able to connect with other members, share your ride from origin to destination, link up and be on your merry way. It is that simple.
Oliver was featured on the latest episode of Channel Ten’s ‘Shark Tank’, as he passionately pitched La Mule to potential investors.
Following the airing of the show, I was able to chat to Oliver about La Mule, its success and insights he has for other entrepreneurs.
Congratulations on being a part of the show, what has been the immediate response to La Mule, following the airing of Shark Tank on Sunday night?
“Thank you, after the show we had an immense amount of traffic on the website. Following the 48 hours after show, we had 15,000 users on the website, 107 rides posted in five different states in the country and 1400 new members."
"The use of the website was around the mark of what I thought there would be, but there was heaps more traffic than I thought, so a pretty good result.”
“As well as that, I’ve had a dozen investors interested and from that probably six will follow through and we will look to work with further. A guy from Western Australia has contacted me and would like to volunteer for La Mule to get it going in WA; he wants to push the social media and take the La Mule brand to the West. As well as a similar style of interest from Queensland.”
You had a lot of positive feedback from the investors, what has been the biggest thing that you have taken away from the show?
“The show has been great to take La Mule to the market, to find out what pitching to investors is like. It's five months ago now and we’ve grown ten fold now on what we were then. We have really used Shark Tank as a learning experience to move us forward to where we need to be."
“I have kept in contact with Janine and Steve (the investors or sharks on the show) especially, and catching up with John in the next few months. They said, 'I was too early', and I realised that back in December. That means that it’s not a no, and there’s room to continue to conversation.”
Janine in particular aired concern toward the safety features of the La Mule website. How are you going to address that?
“Well, we don’t actually provide the ride share service, we are just the communicator between the driver and the ride. We do everything possible to introduce the passenger to the driver and vice versa before they go. We provide email verification, Facebook verification, profile verification, as well as the option for people to build reputations and reviews on the website."
“To put it into perspective, Tinder doesn’t have half as many verification codes and people are going to each other’s houses. We’re simply linking people with people and making them feel as comfortable as possible before they engage face to face.”
It seems that there is so much passion and drive behind La Mule. What keeps you going every day?
“A lot of people talk about sacrifice and putting everything on the line in regards to myself going forward with this, but to me, sacrifice and doing something risky would be not going through with this idea and passion I’ve got. I think I’m doing enough now, to go ahead and learn from the experience, the whole way through."
“I’ve always had a passion for creativity, building something from nothing and making every small gain towards a sizeable vision like La Mule. It puts fire in the belly and it really excites me to see progression. The goal is to create a platform where anyone can get from any major city or town in Australia, on any given day, through a peer to peer website and every step we take towards that is super exciting.”
You have recently re-located from Adelaide to Melbourne, has this helped the La Mule ride share company grow?
“Yes, yes it has. The reason for moving was because I have a network of people here who are equally as excited about La Mule as I am. Surrounding yourself with the right people is so important, not just in life but in business, as you are the three closest people you work with."
“I moved here to work with people who will take it to the next level.”
What would you suggest to other young entrepreneurs like yourself looking to start out?
“I would start with your idea and then take it to market as soon as possible. Don’t be the person that holds back and have a good idea but do nothing about it. Take all your ideas to market and show people, talk about it with people straight away, so you get real feedback from real people."
“If I’ve got an assumption, I try to take it to market as soon as possible. Website, business model, anything, as soon as I formulate it, I’ll take it to the people I work with because you need to get feedback. A lot of people will say that seems like a lot of hard work, I’ve never done this or that before, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you have spend four years on a university degree doing something different to what you have found to be your passion, it just means you have to go through the process of learning about that particular field. If you’ve go ideas; go for it and give it a crack!”
Well, if that doesn’t make you feel like you’d better go and sign up for a ride share, or that you need to go out, find your passion and start a business, I don’t know what will!
For more information on La Mule, check out their Facebook page here.
Header image via La Mule