The Maven team is excited to announce our portfolio company Chariot was acquired today by Ford Smart Mobility, a new arm of Ford Motors. This is an incredible opportunity for the Chariot team to further their mission of solving everyday commutes with affordable, reliable rides.

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Mark Fields (Ford CEO), Ali Vahabzadeh (Chariot CEO), and Jim Hackett (Ford Smart Mobility Chairman)

We first met founder and CEO Ali Vahabzadeh two years ago in September, 2014. We knew that companies like Uber and Lyft had already changed people’s daily transit habits– but there was still a massive problem for city dwellers. Ride-sharing services were not a realistic daily solution because of the varying costs, and public transit rides could be unpredictable and lengthy.

Between that meeting and our first investment in Chariot a few months later, we met with Ali several times to really understand the vision and opportunity. We knew this would be a challenging company to build and even harder to scale. A defining moment for us was seeing Ali’s passion and dedication shine through; we asked how he could possibly get people to trust an unknown brand? He said he already had– and was driving the routes himself, with rented vans full of paying customers. After a few members of the team experienced Chariot first-hand, we confirmed that his vision was becoming a reality by offering a reliable, efficient, and much more pleasant way to work. Chariot was helping people build community through their daily habits by riding with people in their offices and neighborhoods, while starting their day on a friendly and positive note.


Ali, Chariot CEO, and the Maven Team at the press event announcing the acquisition

At Maven, we always look for a vision worth fighting for and a strong team that can execute it. It was clear Ali cared deeply about this issue, and he would work with the local government and other key stakeholders to provide a solution that worked in partnership with, not against, their efforts. Our friends at SoftTech VC were also investing, and we were excited to partner with them in the Seed round.

We can’t wait to see what Chariot will accomplish next, with the power of Ford Motors behind an already incredible team and product.

We’re excited to announce our inaugural Hypergrowth Retreat on September 23rd in the Presidio of San Francisco. At this exclusive event, attendees will learn how to take their startup from growth to hypergrowth to billion dollar exit from the Maven team and our speakers – an incredibly talented group of the top experts in scaling consumer software businesses. We’ll focus on practical tips and tactics about consumer growth hacking, viral marketing, and network effects that will have immediate impact.

The Hypergrowth Retreat will not be your typical boxed-lunch, sit-and-listen conference. We promise that attendees will leave with practical advice and meaningful new connections to make their startups more successful. Over the past several years, we’ve organized dozens of events connecting the best consumer growth mentors with our portfolio companies. Those events taught us a lot about how to effectively connect growing companies to critical resources, and we will utilize these learnings at the retreat.

Here’s what we promise:

  1. An intimate event – not a traditional conference – at a beautiful venue with great food and company.
  2. Meaningful time with speakers through roundtable lunches, effective networking breaks, and a happy hour reception.
  3. Experts who have committed to spending significant time at the event.
  4. Targeted growth content, relevant to every attendee, that won’t be found anywhere else.
  5. An affordable price, set with the goal of covering our costs rather than generating a profit.

Our team is very enthusiastic about hosting this day-long retreat. Founders can get away for the day and get help with their biggest growth challenges, alongside Mentors who have direct experience in their areas of need. With a relatively concentrated portfolio of 25 Maven companies, we saw this as an incredible opportunity to give back to and support the broader Maven community by making a few seats available to consumer software startup founders in our network. If you’re a founder (or have a portfolio company) interested in spending a day with Maven Ventures to unlock the viral growth of your own startup, we invite you to join us. Limited tickets are still available and early bird sales end next Friday.

The Presidio of San Francisco