Saturday 18 November 2017

READY BUSINESS PODCAST: The Irish serial entrepreneur who sold his house and moved in with his parents to make his car rental app a success

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Far from the world of tech and apps, Maurice Sheehy grew up on a farm in Wicklow which, he says, taught him all about hard work. He is also the classic serial entrepreneur turning his hand from developing one idea to another throughout his business career. From farming and flying to gyms, horses and now a car rental app, Fleet, he has done it all. 

After school he studied construction management and engineering in college but the downturn happened and he started looking at other options. Training as a commercial airline pilot in the UK was his next step but then back trouble started affecting him and he had to put that to one side.

His interest in health and fitness was growing and so he decided to open his own gym in Wicklow. It was a hard sell initially but he was proven right and the first one was a success with a second gym opened in Wicklow soon afterwards.

He didn’t stop there though and watched to see what trends were happening in other countries. With previous bad experiences with other car rental companies and seeing the success of Airbnb, why couldn’t it be the same for cars he thought? He knew he would kick himself if he didn’t do anything about it and Fleet was born.

The Fleet app has now been developed with people in Ireland able to sign up to make their cars available for rent or for people looking to rent a vehicle. It gives accessibility to everyone – tourists, workers, commuters – and with pricing 10% lower than the market average. But it’s up to the owners of the vehicle to price it as they see fit.

Fleet is the first of its kind in Ireland with plans to roll out to UK, Australia, New Zealand. It’s been a steep learning curve he admits but having the advice of mentors and advisers has been vital and he cites the cool head of his father as being so important. Having said that he’s selling his house and moving back in with his folks to invest in Fleet as proof of how much he believes in the product.

“You have to have a product that is solving a problem and if you believe you can make it work and succeed then just go for it,” he says. “Because you don’t want to be looking back in a few years wondering what if?”

The Ready Business show, in association with Vodafone, is available via iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher or subscribe to the RSS feed of the Ready Business Podcast using your favourite podcatcher.

You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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