Last week, New York City’s yellow cabs went on a brief strike in response to the Muslim ban Donald Trump enacted. While the cabbies were standing in solidarity with the thousands of protesters at JFK airport, Uber was undermining their strike by keeping Uber drivers on the road. This, along with the fact that CEO Travis Kalanick was on Trump’s economic advisory council, prompted #DeleteUber, a social media movement meant to hit Uber where it hurts them the most: their pockets. With Uber no longer an option for #woke passengers seeking companies more aligned with their beliefs, many are flocking to Moovn, a black-owned alternative to Uber and Lyft.
Moovn is the brainchild of Tanzanian immigrant Godwin Gabriel. The tech entrepreneur holds an MBA from the Foster School of Business but taught himself how to code before developing and launching the app in 2015. Now, Moovn operates in several major U.S. cities, including Seattle, New York, Chicago and San Fransico. They’ve also gone global with offices in Dubai, Tanzania, South Africa, and plans for a presence in more cities in the next coming months. Still, the app remained relatively unknown until #DeleteUber happened.
A shout from R&B singer Kehlani to her 253,000 Twitter followers helped the start-up appear on the radar of many passengers. The singer’s tweet has been retweeted nearly 4,000 times and favorited over 5,000. It prompted Gabriel to reintroduce his company to new riders while also condemning Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.
“As an immigrant, I built this company with the mission to provide accessibility across all demographics,” Gabriel writes in response to Trump’s ban and Uber’s screwup, “with the same level of service throughout all communities, including various regions of the developing world.” The tech entrepreneur says Moovn employs many immigrants as drivers and will remain steadfast in telling their story.
In light of the recent travel ban directed toward some refugees and immigrants, our U.S. driver partners — most of whom are immigrants — have also reaffirmed my commitment to get our story out that this nation has provided many of us a wealth of opportunity which has enabled us to realize our entrepreneurial dreams. We believe we are American, in every definition of the word. We also know as Americas, you raise one hand up to grab whatever opportunity is being given to you, while extending the other hand to pull up those who need it.
We at Moovn are calling for unity, to remember this America, and to respect all the remarkable cultures that have created it. I firmly believe this we stand together, we will keep moving forward.
As well as being black-owned, Moovn also doesn’t believe in surge pricing which jacks up the prices when there are more passengers than cars on the road. They also allow users to book trips a month in advance and choose from “local vehicle options available, such as tricycles and bikes in developing economies.”