Seton Hall Alumnus Introduces a Safer, Cheaper Alternative to Uber

By Liam Oakes,
Stillman News Writer

Members of the Seton Hall Entrepreneurship Club met on September 12 to hear a motivational founding story by an alumnus of the Stillman School of Business. Curtis Adams, who graduated Seton Hall in 2012, discussed a new mobile app that he believes will “make carpooling easy.”

SWIFTE, a social carpooling app for mobile devices, is intended for college students to have the opportunity to meet new people through carpooling while also paying a significantly lower rate than other transportation services, such as Uber and Lyft. Students without cars on campus can carpool with other students that do have cars and can be dropped off either at a point along the route or at the same destination. The student drivers are essentially paid by the other student riders for the ride.

According to the company’s website, SWIFTE is aimed to fulfill three objectives with their app: to share the ride (a student can either be a driver or a rider), to split the cost (students can evenly contribute to pay for gas), and to save the environment (reducing climate change by decreasing the amount of cars on the road).

Adams, who holds a B.S. degree in Finance, is the Director of Northeast Marketing for SWIFTE LLC and joined the team the following year after it was founded by Justine Avoudikpon and Sofia Demay in 2014.

“(After graduation) I started like any other college student. I was eager to find a job, get some work experience, and start my own business. I joined SWIFTE through networking,” said Adams.

As the members of the club gathered around, Adams began the meeting by sharing how the carpooling company initiated.

“The idea started out with asking the question: What are our problems? We went through the days of our lives and then came to a solution, which was that we did not have access to cars on campus. Once we established that, then we thought, ‘What is our niche? What if we target this to specific kind of person?’ and that was how SWIFTE was born.”

After implementing the idea, the next step for the team was to find a developer, which was indicated by Adams to be the most difficult part of the process.

“It almost took an entire year to find a developer before we launched our app. You’re not going to get your developers off the bat. You have to find the right people to actually do what you need. It’s a matter of trust,” expressed Adams.

After finding their team of four developers and finally launching the app, the company then had to partner and network with universities across the country that would allow and promote the app to be used by their students.

Adams is responsible for developing these relationships with universities and partners as well as developing a market platform.

Currently, SWIFTE is partnered with over ten universities across the country ranging from California to Georgia.

Adams stated that he came back to visit Stillman not only to introduce SWIFTE to a university in the northeastern region, but to also receive input and ideas from students.

He networked with Professor Susan Scherreik, Founding Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and Chase Mulligan, President of the Entrepreneurship Club, a few weeks prior to the meeting.

“Curtis is really well-known here and has a lot of fans among the faculty members,” said Scherreik. “He was highly-recommended to me and I had a level of trust with him.”
The floor was then turned over to the students to compare Seton Hall’s transportation services to the benefits of SWIFTE and to provide any ideas or input on the concept.

Mulligan expressed his concern for late-night transportation, claiming that Seton Hall’s SHUFLY and SafeRide services were unreliable during late-night hours to return back to campus safely.

“A lot of people don’t know that there is a limit as to how far the SafeRide will drive to pick you up. People will be standing for over an hour just to get a SafeRide only to realize that they are technically not within reach. You have to walk a certain distance just to get a ride back to campus safely,” explained Mulligan.

Another student expressed that she “felt like a target” just standing out in the middle of the night for a long period of time, waiting for a SafeRide to pick her up.

Adams responded by explaining that with SWIFTE, students and drivers use the app as a platform to connect the students with the drivers.

Drivers can view their “job postings” on Facebook.

After a match is found, students and drivers communicate through Facebook using the messenger tool about their destination, route, and availability.

By doing this, students are also safely connecting with other students attending the same university with the possibility of making new friends.

The meeting concluded with Adams providing advice about entrepreneurial concepts in the business world to the students.

Faith Whitfield, a freshman Athletic Training major who possesses a strong interest in entrepreneurship, emphasized that the meeting was very informative and discussion-based.

“It was great having Curtis here. I really love big discussions, and we had a speaker here tonight who really did not come here to just share his story—he also wanted to hear our experiences on campus,” Whitfield commented.

SWIFTE is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Information about the company can also be found on their Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages and their website, getswifte.com.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 26th print edition.

Contact Liam at
liam.oakes@student.shu.edu

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