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Meet Haydn Sonnad of Tesloop in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Haydn Sonnad.

Haydn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I turned 16, I got my license and wanted to obtain a car. However, I did not have the means to pay for one. After digging into Tesla, I was impressed by what their team had created. For the first time, a sustainable vehicle was offered without the standard compromises (range, luxury, etc).

However, I also noticed that access to this was limited to those who could afford a high-end vehicle. I knew there had to be a way to introduce this technology to the masses while simultaneously funding my own vehicle. I came up with a plan to buy a Tesla Model S and drive people between LA and Vegas during the weekends. I figured that I would be able to pay for all of the ownership costs while driving the car to school on the weekdays.

After running the service for a few weeks, it became clear that the economics of ridesharing on an electric, connected, and semi-autonomous platform are transformative. Due to the incredible longevity of the electric drivetrain and the low cost of fuel, the per mile cost was dramatically lower than any internal combustion engine car — when running at high utilization. During this period, we were extremely focused on curating an in-car experience that allowed your time to be a net-positive, instead of something that was stressful and a hassle.

After proving the concept, we obtained an additional two vehicles and began offering service between LA/OC and Palm Springs. After seeing success here, we bought an additional five vehicles and began service between LA/OC and San Diego. Now, we are making more per car revenue than anybody else in the world by a large multiple, as well as being the highest rated transportation company in the world. Our first car has over 325,000 miles on it and still drives like new. However, this is just the beginning.

It is clear that the landscape of mobility is extremely fragmented and disconnected. When you go to purchase a vehicle, you buy it from a dealer. When you want to rent a car or be driven around in another city, you look to Avis/Enterprise or Uber/Lyft. When you want to monetize your personal car during these trips, you have to deal with the hassles of p2p car sharing through services such as Turo.

Due to the advantages of the next-generation car, we believe it is possible to unify many mobility scenarios into one platform. By doing this, we will dramatically lower cost ownership expenses and remove the friction of getting around. Starting this year, Tesloop plans to mobilize a shared fleet of Teslas by allowing owners to enlist their vehicles into our program and realize the economics of high-utilization.

Has it been a smooth road?
Pioneering a new type of service is not an easy task. Some of the challenges included: developing the software to efficiently route/schedule our trips, figuring out what amenities to stock the car with (we probably tested over 50 neck pillows), and making travelers aware of how our service works. However, due to our intense focus on the customer experience, there is an offline virality effect that has been driving bookings. Tesloop fits a need for many people, and they have no hesitations to tell their friends/family about it.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Tesloop story. Tell us more about the business.
Tesloop first product offers city-to-city ridesharing that is safe, convenient, and affordable. We are most proud of our ability to encourage the exchange of cultures and ideas, our ability to ease the struggles of transportation for our community, and our focus on continually improving the service through taking customer feedback to heart.

Generally, we view our competitors as trains, planes, and people driving themselves. However, as the operating costs trend towards zero, it is inevitable that car-based mobility will become a key focus of many large mobility brands. Through this period, we will always put the customer first.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Automotive mobility is clearly on the verge of a sea change, and it is now inevitable that electric platforms will replace polluting gas vehicles over time. We feel that over the next few years much of our society will begin to radically restructure around autonomous/electric vehicles, just like it did around the train in the 1800s.

When we look at the economic potential of various technological innovations, we see nothing that compares in the next few years with the trillion dollar opportunity of building out the next generation of global mobility services, and while we are very early in the process, we have a clear vision for what this should look like:

It must be Clean, Secure, Healthy, Human-Friendly, Efficient and Decentralized.

However, beyond this, we feel that as technology evolves, and costs come down, access to this type of transportation could soon be regarded as a basic human right, just like access to adequate housing The ability for people to move across cities and connect with others is instrumental to their economic well-being as well as their social prosperity.

We feel it is possible to build a successful transportation system whose primary goal is to benefit the needs of humanity, instead of focussing strictly on monetizing us to the highest degree.


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