The administrators of women-only rideshare business Shebah say the startup has been saved from collapse.
The Melbourne startup Shebah was placed in voluntary administration last October, a victim of ongoing lockdowns during the Covid pandemic.
Shebah founder Georgina McEncroe tried to find new investors to ride out the pandemic, especially after revenues plummeted 70% due during 2021’s Covid lockdowns in NSW and Victoria, but failed, placing the business in the hands of administrators Sam Kaso and Rachel Burdett.
They kept the business operating and today Kaso said creditors had accepted a plan to keep the company’s drivers on the road under new ownership. No buyer was identified by the administrators.
The business will be restructured under a Deed of Company Arrangement, which Kaso said will facilitate the injection of substantial new capital with an immediate focus on the recruitment of more drivers.
“This is great news for the business and the community,” he said, adding that the timing of the transfer of ownership could not be better as it coincided with the return of schools
“A large proportion of Shebah’s business was school drop-offs and pick-ups for working families and youth support services. The lockdowns last year were a major cause of the company’s problems,” he said.
The business launched in 2017, and until entering voluntary administration last year, held the record for the country’s biggest crowd-sourced funding raise, with 2126 small investors backing a $3 million campaign in March 2019.
Shebah raised another $700,000 round through crowdfunding – less than half the maximum sought – in late 2019.
Prior to the pandemic lockdowns, Shebah users booked up to 10,000 trips a month nationally. It is the only rideshare business with licence to transport unaccompanied children. The app allows women to order in advance the driver of their choice and 80% of Shebah drivers have child car seats.
The business had a pool of 1000 drivers before lockdowns. The typical driver is aged 49, single, with older children.