This interview is with Robert Sadow (@rsadow), CEO and Co-Founder of Scoop Technologies. He will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds event titled, Disruption in Transportation CEO Roundtable Featuring Scoop Technologies, Getaround, Ridecell, and Faraday Electric Bikes on November 30th. Click here to get 20% off tickets.
Q. With Tesla, the self-driving car is arguably already on the market. How long will it be until the majority of cars in service are automated?
We could see ride-hailing fleet automation within the next five to 10 years. It may take significantly longer before the majority of non-fleet vehicles are automated — it typically takes more than 10 years for innovation to work its way through the private car market.
Q. Significant disruption has happened in the taxi industry. What are there other industries that you think will be affected? And why?
The better question is “what industries would not be impacted by disruption in mobility and automation of vehicles?” The answer is very few. Decreasing the cost and pain of covering distance will impact where we live, where we work, how services are delivered, and how humans interact. Cheap access to mobility is one of the great enablers of social and economic mobility. The American dream itself becomes more attainable as mobility become ubiquitous.
Q. Besides self-driving cars, what other transportation technologies do you think are disruptive?
I find the evolution of telematics fascinating. The amount of data being generated by vehicles and drivers has profound impact on safety, insurance, cost of vehicle ownership, cost of fleet management, even routing / mapping. Autonomous vehicles get more press, but the data generation and corresponding ripple effects are every bit as interesting.
Q. What inspired you to start a company?
Deep passion for the problem we are solving. Our mission at Scoop is to build congestion-free communities — to improve quality of life for commuters and residents. 100 million commuters drive alone to work in the United States. Long distance solo commuting is expensive, unproductive, has been linked to myriad negative health outcomes, and even divorce. My brother and I grew up commuting more than 250 miles each week to school in Atlanta — we know what that feels like and felt compelled to invest energy to solve it.
Q. Is all the excitement around entrepreneurship warranted? Does entrepreneurship deserve all the media attention that it’s currently receiving?
The excitement around entrepreneurship absolutely is warranted. Entrepreneurs take big risks to try and change the world around them, and we should celebrate risk-taking to advance quality of life. Personally, I don’t love how the media covers entrepreneurship. There is too much of a focus on fake milestones and vanity metrics that don’t really reflect the health or value of underlying businesses. With not enough focus on why entrepreneurs start companies, how hard the journey is, and how to be a better entrepreneur from those that have been successful in the past.
Q. What’s one piece of advice you would offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Make sure you believe deeply in the mission of your company. Being an entrepreneur is HARD. Some days you feel like the smartest person in the world. Other days you don’t understand why you are putting yourself through so much stress and hardship. Underlying belief in your mission and why doing what you do is important is how you get through the tough days. If you don’t feel that way about the problem you are solving, don’t go down the entrepreneurial path.
Q. What’s the best part about being an entrepreneur?
For me personally, it is getting to work with my brother and see him every day. More broadly, it is the ability to build a team of passionate individuals that work together to accomplish a bigger vision. Getting to build and work with a tremendous team is the real payoff in being an entrepreneur.
Q. What’s the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?
The learning curve is exceptionally steep, and it never slows down. Every problem you solve breeds three more problems you didn’t foresee. But that is also what makes it fun! I’ve learned more in the past two years than I had in the previous five, and I am incredibly thankful for the journey.