Yale Startup Rally Bus Set to Transform Bus Travel

RallyBusCartoon

December 22, 2014: When it comes to disrupting personal transportation, travel by car is covered. There’s Uber, Lyft, GoGreenRide and a host of other startups that will take you from point A to point B with the aid of an app. But bus transportation still has some catching up to do. Numaan Akram, cofounder and CEO of Rally Bus, is putting those wheels in motion. The startup, which was developed at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute over a 10-week 2014 YEI Fellowship by cofounders Akram and Yale Divinity student Siheun Song (’15), provides crowd-sourced, on-demand bus travel to everything from college football games to concerts and NASCAR races. “Rally Bus is sending buses to every Cowboys, Dolphins, Patriots and Packers game this season,” says Akram, adding that they are currently in discussion with the National Football League to provide transportation to and from this year’s Super Bowl.

The startup recently received a $100,000 investment from the YEI Innovation Fund, a fund run by Yale, Connecticut Innovations and First Niagara Bank that provides seed-stage funding to companies that have participated in a program at YEI. Ultimately, Rally Bus is looking to raise a $750,000 seed round. Explaining how they will use the investment, Akram says that initially: “We are looking to redesign our website and improve the user experience, as well as adding more social media integration.” Other goals include hiring a sales and marketing expert and building out the advisory board.

Rally Bus is transforming the typical bus experience by turning the bus ride itself into an extension of the experience. Users register for a seat on a bus to a particular sporting event, concert or festival from the location of their choice and then help spread the word to reach the required number of seats filled. These luxury motorcoaches that travel to and from the event are now filled with other friends and like-minded fans. The buses are safer than driving (particularly if there’s drinking involved) and an environmental alternative. Word has spread since Rally Bus launched in 2010. They are now close to reaching their 60,000th reservation.

“The bus industry is ripe for change,” Akram says, “and Rally Bus is set to lead the way.”

CONTACT: Brita Belli, Communications Officer, Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, (203)804-1911, brita.belli@yale.edu