SoftBank-backed car subscription service Fair is concentrating on profitability, according to Fair’s new Chief Executive Bradley Stewart. Instead of focusing on exponential growth, the emphasis will be on “building a sustainable business that can be self-funding sooner than later,” he told Auto Finance News.
“I tend to try to principally focus on how to meet the market where it’s at and to win — not through gimmicks — but through service and through elegant customer experience,” Stewart continued.
Stewart formerly served as the chief executive at XOJet, a private jet charter company, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He led that company into a record sale to Vista Global, a Dubai-based aviation conglomerate. Fair hired Stewart in early May to replace former chief executive Scott Painter. Painter and his brother, Tyler, the company’s former chief financial officer, both stepped down in October 2019, following an abrupt 40% staff cutback.
Prior to the layoffs, the service had noteworthy cardinal years. Between its inception in 2016 to late 2019, it had raised more than $2 billion in equity funding through investors, such as SoftBank, Silicon Valley Bank and Ally Financial.
Stewart pointed out the parallels between his passions and Fair’s founding concepts, including a digital consumer experience, end-to-end seamless transactions and financing through vehicle leasing. He said he anticipates tying these together into one elegant enterprise, drawing on his experience at XOJet.
“We sold a sort of branded charter through a membership model [at XOJet] and that allowed people to consume private jet travel on a trip-by-trip basis under the umbrella of a branded service experience,” he said. “I think Fair has an opportunity to do a very similar thing.”
Fair had initiated a partnership in January 2018 with Uber for “Xchange,” a flagship leasing program that gave participating Uber drivers the opportunity to lease a car for 30 days, or more, to use on the job. However, Stewart said “it’s no secret” the partnership is now being wrapped up.
“That pivot … underscores a theme that I will be bringing to the company, which is we definitely need to grow,” he said. “It’s a growth-oriented story, but we need to grow in a really disciplined way.”
When asked how many customers use Fair, Stewart replied that it may be a few months before the company can provide the information as any current data “would have mixed messages.”
“I’m just starting and I want to be really disciplined in articulating where I think the company can scale, which is really tied to how much we can invest,” he said.
Originally published on Auto Finance News