Dundee start-up GoRoadie to roll out across UK

A Dundee start-up billed as “Airbnb for driving instructors” has expanded south of the Border as it targets a 10 per cent share of the market within the next year.

GoRoadie co-founders Michael Carr (left) and Barry White. Picture: Michal Wachucik

GoRoadie, which connects driving instructors with learner drivers, has launched in Nottingham and Leeds after experiencing rapid growth in Scottish cities since the start of 2019.

The start-up is now actively seeking investment to drive expansion and support the recruitment of five new hires in its development team.

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The number of instructors listed with the platform has surged to almost 300, up from 40 in January, as it targets an ambitious goal of partnering with 10 per cent of the nation’s driving instructors over the next 12 months.

Earlier this year the start-up rolled out in Aberdeen and Glasgow, and has plans to launch in further key cities across the UK in the coming months.

Founded in 2017, GoRoadie helps learner drivers to search for, compare and book a driving instructor, while allowing teachers to more easily manage their students by holding contact details in one place.

The firm’s “unique” business model does not charge instructors for listing on the platform, but takes a fixed fee per student that the client connects with through the site.

Co-founder Michael Carr cited the benefits for instructors, who would normally pay to advertise without the guarantee of receiving new business.

He said: “Usually you’re paying for that hope of getting a student in the car. That’s what is unique about us.

“It’s a partnership. If you don’t get someone in the car, we’re not going to be making money.”

Carr and his co-founder Barry White launched GoRoadie as a side project in 2017 before committing to the venture full-time in September last year, when they took part in a 12-week accelerator programme with business incubator Elevator.

Carr said: “Our primary focus is investment. But we also want to get cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester on the go.

“Our strategic plan is to grow GoRoadie nationally, with our fundamental goal being job creation. In the next 12 months we aim to recruit five employees, while continuing to support instructors who work for national franchises become independent.”

He added that the start-up wants to “be synonymous with driving lessons, such as Airbnb is with flat shares”.

The company also has a long-term ambition of creating a software studio in Dundee to build on the city’s reputation as a developer hub and “attract world-class talent”.

Andy Campbell, head of Elevator’s Accelerator, said: “Michael and Barry are great examples of the Elevator programme, working with their customers to build the latest and greatest features. We continue to work GoRoadie encouraging and offering support through workshops and coaching.”