🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: CharterUP
✍️ Notes From The Editors
We had the chance to talk with CharterUP’s CEO Armir Harris last week. His story was inspiring and described the journey of a first-generation immigrant who started a moving and transport business with his family. He learned much about the world of charter buses by directly working in the industry, and applied his knowledge to building CharterUP. Enjoy the article!
- Ethan and Arek 🦄
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Marketplace to privately reserve buses
CharterUP makes it easy to privately reserve (also known as chartering) a bus. Its live marketplace automatically calculates pricing details for your desired trip and generates the best quotes from different providers in your area. The platform offers options for both regular, one-off charter services and for more frequently running shuttles. Aside from a steady stream of customers, operators that work with CharterUP get additional benefits, like cheaper insurance and better financing options.
🔗 Check it out: charterup.com
💰 Business Model
CharterUP makes a percentage on each booking made through its platform. The fees it takes are individually negotiated with each operator service.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
  • Raised $60 million Series A from Tritium Partners
  • 3000+ buses across 500 operator companies currently available for reservation
  • Used by 1000+ companies for bus charters, including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and more
👫 Founders
  • Armir Harris, CEO: Previously Economics @ UCLA, Economics @ Boston University (transferred)
💼 Opportunities
🔮 Our Analysis
Armir Harris described learning about his family’s moving and transport company “at the dinner table.” After launching and successfully scaling a national bus business, he saw the pain points in the bus industry and founded CharterUP. CharterUP’s live marketplace for buses makes it simple for consumers to find a bus online by essentially modernizing an industry reminiscent of over-the-phone quotes. At the same time, it’s providing benefits to bus operators too. Importantly, it’s giving operators a new destination to find customers, helping to mobilize buses that would have otherwise stayed stuck on the lot. As a company that became profitable early on, CharterUP has demonstrated its ability to build a marketplace of operators and consumers. According to Harris, it’s the first-mover advantage and the data it brings that set CharterUP apart from rivals. It plans to eventually expand its product’s reach and build new products to help operators with business. Given its current traction, we’re here for the ride.
📚 Further Reading
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💰 Bonus Content
If you haven't heard about the powerful AI chatbot ChatGPT, we highly recommend giving it a look. We had it write this week's bonus content!
Unicorner Team: Write some bonus content for my startup newsletter for December 12.
  • Did you know that December 12th is National Poinsettia Day? While the colorful plants are often associated with the holiday season, they actually originate from Mexico and were introduced to the United States by the first U.S. Minister to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett.
  • In startup news, December 12th is also the anniversary of the founding of the tech giant Apple in 1976. Take some time to learn more about the company's history and its impact on the tech industry.
  • And finally, don't forget to celebrate the small wins! December 12th is National Ding-a-Ling Day, so take some time to appreciate the little things that make your startup successful.
How cool. Have a great National Ding-a-Ling Day!
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