We talked to Matthew Iommi of Fetii about the future of urban mobility and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Matthew Iommi: I am fortunate to say that the hardships my family has had to endure during these times are minor inconveniences compared to the many that have experienced a severe medical illness, suffered the loss of a loved one, or faced difficult economic circumstances. With what is going on around the world, it is more important than ever to show support for one another and focus on the people and things we’re most grateful for.
Tell us about you and how you founded Fetii.
Matthew Iommi: My journey as a founder began when Justin Rath, Fetii Co-CEO and my partner, and I built a peer-to-peer tutoring platform called EZ Tutor. After selling the company in 2017, Justin and I both wanted to use our experience and resources to build a new venture that would solve one of society’s most pressing issues, transportation. Right now in the U.S., over 75% of commuters choose to drive to work alone in their car. This translates into nearly 115 million vehicles transporting exactly one person each, a statistic that is increasing as the workforce continues to grow. As cities deal with a growing population, rising emissions and increasing congestion, one thing is certain, the future of transportation is shared mobility. Thus Fetii was born, a shared mobility company that provides on-demand group ridesharing and commuting solutions for businesses in order to reduce emissions and decrease congestion.
How does Fetii innovate?
Matthew Iommi: The proliferation of individual rides is too energy-intensive and leads to intolerable congestion levels, fundamental issues that many shared mobility companies today, such as Uber or Lyft, fail to adequately address in their business models. In fact, Schaller Consulting’s report shows that current TNCs increase congestion by more than 10% in some cities. What Fetii has done is created a network of large-capacity 15 passenger vehicles that have the ability to service groups on-demand as well as provide a cost-effective commuting solution to businesses and their employees. With Fetii’s technology and transit network, Fetii can remove up to 14 vehicles with each trip, bringing a very real and effective solution to cities.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect Fetii, and how are you coping?
Matthew Iommi: I am very proud of how our employees and shareholders handled the pandemic. The first few months of the pandemic were especially difficult with enforced lockdowns and rising levels of uncertainty, but human beings are a social species, and it quickly became apparent that isolation wasn’t going to be a long-term solution. The end of Q3 2020, we began to see groups and businesses begin to go out again, and in Q4 2020 we had our best quarter to date in our Texas market. We also closed many exciting partnerships; for example, Fetii was awarded a systemwide contract with The Texas A&M University System to assist in their reopening process using our UPC technology.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Matthew Iommi: I would say 70% of the job is about making difficult choices, and the pandemic was no different. Justin and I have a responsibility and duty to lead our team through any storm, and that’s what we’ve done and will continue to do. I think the biggest lesson to be learned from all this is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how dark things seem to get, a good team will always persevere.
Your final thoughts?
Matthew Iommi: 2021 will undoubtedly bring its own challenges and opportunities, and when it does, we will be ready to face them together. I am excited to see the innovation that comes from this pandemic and the people who will lead those efforts. No matter how pessimistic things seem, I believe we will always come out stronger than before.