In an ever-evolving business world, sustainable and purpose-driven solutions stand out. One such promising innovation comes from the heart of Spain, an eco-friendly platform known as HOOP Carpool.
Our latest episode of The Bright Founders Talk at Temy, an initiative by the international software development company Temy, brings us an enlightening conversation with Andrea García Torrijos, the Co-Founder and CSO of HOOP Carpool.
Andrea sheds light on the conception of the company, the essence of collaboration, and the pressing challenges they’ve faced and conquered. The story behind HOOP is not just about a business, but about finding common ground, envisioning a greener future, and chasing one’s dreams passionately. Dive in with us as we unravel this inspiring journey.
Carpooling Dreams: How HOOP’s Andrea García Found Her Road Less Traveled
Ever meet someone who’s been practically plotting world domination since birth? Meet Andrea García, the dynamic force behind HOOP Carpool. When Matthew, our ever-curious host, asked Andrea to dive into the essence of HOOP, she beamed, “We connect people so they can share their everyday rides to work or university.” At its core, HOOP is more than just a carpooling platform; it’s a software-as-a-service solution designed for businesses and academic institutions. What this means? You can now ditch that lonely car ride to work or campus and opt for a more sustainable, communal journey.
You know those too-good-to-be-true stories where potential competitors team up instead? HOOP’s foundation is exactly that! Andrea reminisces, “We were all in Madrid, the four of us, unknowingly crafting the same dream.” The real magic happened when they started conversing. In Andrea’s words, “When you have an idea, what you have to do is really talk to a lot of people and share it.” That sharing led the four like-minded entrepreneurs to recognize the vast potential in collaborating rather than competing. Today, with the shared vision they’ve nurtured, HOOP operates in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and Colombia. It’s an inspiring testament to the power of communication and collaboration.
Taking a nostalgic ride back to her childhood in Madrid, Andrea painted a vivid picture of long hours stuck in traffic. That very annoyance seeded her passion to find better, greener solutions. “I’ve been a social entrepreneur almost since I was born,” she shares, emphasizing her innate drive to look beyond problems and envision solutions. Her disdain for the corporate grind and desire to walk her own path steered her towards entrepreneurship. Sure, she admits the entrepreneurial path means you might work more than your average 9-to-5er, but to Andrea? Totally worth the journey.
The Art of Balancing Success with Sanity: Andrea’s Blueprint
The exhilarating world of startups and entrepreneurship is often painted with a brush of glamour and success. However, as Andrea pointed out, there’s a side to it that remains hidden – the relentless hours, the mental strain, and the overwhelming need to find balance amidst the chaos. “Up to this moment, entrepreneurship was all about going crazy and building something huge,” she mused. But today’s intrapreneurs are rewriting the narrative, striving to achieve success without sacrificing other life areas. For Andrea, it’s all about setting boundaries, prioritizing sports to keep herself grounded, and ensuring family remains a focal point.
Beyond the personal balance, the challenge is to build a cohesive team that aligns with the company’s evolving values. Andrea’s solution is both innovative and personal: The Barbecue Test. While it doesn’t involve any actual grilling, this unique approach sees potential team members meeting up for an informal chat about life, dreams, fears, and personal anecdotes. It’s a chance to gauge if they would fit seamlessly into the company’s culture. “We search for profiles that share not just work values but also how they perceive life,” Andrea explained, emphasizing the importance of cultural fit.
Andrea’s passion for carpooling is more than just about easing daily commutes; it’s about creating a significant environmental impact. Their initiative has already equaled the impact of planting 30,000 trees. But the goal is more profound. “We don’t need to invest in more infrastructure… we just need to optimize what already exists,” Andrea declared. In her eyes, the move towards sustainability isn’t just about implementing new solutions but also about changing our mindset. For a better, greener future, the world needs to shift from individual thinking to collaborative action. In Andrea’s words, “We probably can all live better if we just help each other out.”
Evolving Through Adversity: The Drive Behind Andrea’s Innovation
It’s not just about finding a way to beat the traffic or get a free parking space, Andrea’s project has been transformative in its essence. “The company offers, they pay for the rights of people who are sharing,” Andrea shared with a glint of passion in her eyes. “So, when you share your ride to work, not only do you get compensated for fuel, but you also receive parking perks. Parking has always been a universal headache, and we’re here to alleviate it.” But it doesn’t stop at the tangible benefits; the beauty of this initiative lies deeper. “It’s incredible seeing how people evolve from mere co-riders to friends. They form genuine connections just by sharing a ride to work.”
When asked about the impact of COVID, Andrea’s determination became evident. “When the news hit, it wasn’t just a disruption for us; it threatened the very core of our project. No one was sharing spaces, let alone rides.” There was a notable weight in her voice, reflecting the challenges faced. “But we saw it as a hurdle, not a stop sign. We were adamant that this phase, however elongated, was temporary and that our project had a future beyond it.” The commitment Andrea and her team demonstrated during this phase was commendable. “We poured our energies into refining our technology, resulting in a new app built from the ground up, considering the pandemic’s peculiarities.” They didn’t just survive; they evolved.
“No way! I’m glad we didn’t know,” Andrea remarked, thinking back on the unpredictable duration of the pandemic. That uncertainty, oddly enough, was what kept them pushing forward. The belief that it might be just around the corner kept the team’s spirits up. “It’s funny,” Andrea mused, “If someone had initially told us it would be a two-year challenge, we might have buckled. But taking it one day at a time, with hope as our compass, we kept moving forward.”
Tapping into Your Superpower: Andrea’s Journey Beyond Labels
Every individual has a certain genius about them, a knack, an area where they excel. Andrea emphasizes this with a conviction that is palpable. “When you’re working in your genius zone, you’re not just doing the task; you’re embodying it. It’s like tapping into your unique superpower,” she mused, leaning forward. Andrea’s journey has evolved from strict business structures to recognizing and harnessing these innate skills, urging others to find and leverage theirs.
One of the many challenges in the entrepreneurial landscape has been the lack of representation of women, especially in leadership roles. With a determined look, Andrea shared her view, “Yes, I often find myself surrounded by men, but it’s never felt like a disadvantage. In fact, standing out as a female founder has its perks.” Andrea’s perception is refreshing. Instead of seeing it as a challenge, she’s used it as an opportunity, a chance to bring something different to the table. She added, “It’s about breaking those age-old perceptions, and every day, more and more successful women are leading the way.”
When asked about a mantra or a saying that keeps her going, without missing a beat, Andrea said, “Enjoy the ride.” She elaborated with a smile, “The destination has its value, but it’s the journey that truly matters. Every bump, every turn, every high and low is a part of the story.” Andrea’s message is clear: while goals are essential, it’s equally crucial to embrace and relish every moment of the process.