WeFlex was launched in 2016 as a new way for ride-hailing drivers (Uber, FreeNow, Ola, Bolt etc) to own their own vehicles, but in a much more flexible way than was offered at the time via regular car dealers/finance businesses.
The options available to would-be ride-hailing drivers were ill-suited to the specific demands drivers faced or the challenges inherent to working in the industry – such as varying incomes and uncertainty.
We believe that ride-hailing drivers, who work so hard to earn a living and provide an essential transport service for millions of people every day, deserved access into the industry that was more tailored to their needs.
Our product was conceived so that ride-hailing drivers could with only a small deposit of £500 get a new, efficient vehicle which they will pay towards owning instead of renting, but with the added benefit of being able to give only 4 weeks notice and hand it back if at any point they want to leave the agreement.
How did you come up with the idea for the WeFlex?
I set up my first business in 2006 at the tender age of 23 which was an environmentally friendly taxi firm called Climatecars, which I grew and sold to Addison Lee in 2015. In the lead-up to preparing Climatecars for exit, I saw the market was changing rapidly. With Uber coming into the sector, there were thousands of drivers needing vehicles, and all that was being offered to them were rental deals from mom and pop operators, offering, what I felt, were poor deals for drivers.
I knew ride-hailing drivers would prefer to own their own vehicles, but also that many would struggle with the large deposits and inflexible financing offered by the traditional car finance and dealer market. So we set up WeFlex to address this market need and we have grown very quickly.
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How has WeFlex evolved during the pandemic?
Well it’s undoubtedly been very challenging. We have had to make a bunch of difficult decisions. When the pandemic hit, we saw cash collections collapse, churn shot up and customers just kept struggling as the work for ride-hailing drivers dried up overnight with the “stay at home” order from the government.
We helped our customers as much as we could – we gave payment breaks, reductions, deferrals, anything we could to help keep them going. We also dedicated a team member to helping find our customers other work, so helping them get delivery jobs, etc so they could keep earning. One of our values is to be kind and we really focused on this value during this extremely difficult time for the ride-hailing industry.
We took the decision to pivot to offering 100% electric vehicles during the pandemic as we saw this as the future and took the opportunity to sell a lot of non-utilised non-electric cars. This was the right move and why we are now announcing our re-brand as a solely EV-focused business.
What can we hope to see from WeFlex in the future?
We are very excited about the future and see huge growth potential in our space.
There are currently c. 1,600 Uber drivers in Electric Cars out of c. 50,000 drivers and Uber have committed to being 100% Electric by 2025. WeFlex plans to play a key part in this move to EV’s with a short-term aim to reach 5,000 vehicles.
We will initially keep expanding in London and Birmingham and will then target other regional cities. Improving the UK’s air quality is now central to our mission as a business and we’re excited to accelerate our move to being a net-zero emissions company.