Muriel Almeida/Contributing Writer
On Saturday, Sept. 1, South Florida brothers Matthew and Michael Vega-Sanz are launching the first car-sharing app, Lula Rides, for college students nationwide – all because of an overpriced pizza delivery.
The brothers told Student Media that they were studying in Babson College one night and were craving their favorite Papa John’s pizza, however, they didn’t have a car to pick it up and the delivery fee was $30. So they settled for Dominos, which was close by and had a cheaper fee.
This experience, Matthew Vega-Sanz said to Student Media, sparked a new idea in his mind for an application.
“When the pizza arrived and I walked outside, I saw the parking lot packed to capacity and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to rent a car out and pick up the food?’ and that’s how Lula was born,” said Matthew Vega-Sanz.
Lula Rides is designed to share cars between college students who do not own cars but need one to get to where they need to be at cost-effective prices. After testing it out in Massachusetts, they are ready to introduce the app nationally.
“I started talking to friends about it and realized that Babson wasn’t the only school with that problem,” said Matthew Vega-Sanz. “It’s needed and we wanted to do something about it.”
They realized how other car-sharing apps neglected younger students in particular and had expensive rates, especially considering age restrictions in renting cars from major companies. The idea was for students to be able to sit in class and make $100 just by renting their car for a couple of hours a week.
“The biggest motivation for us was saving and making,” said Matthew Vega-Sanz.
After downloading Lula and signing up, car renters and owners will go through an extensive background check. Once approved, owners will upload their car information and pictures along with their personal rental rates starting as low as $5 per hour and $30 per day. Car renters will gain access to a list of vehicles to choose from.
Last year the Vega-Sanz brothers met with Florida International University’s Transportation Department to discuss making a contract with the University, but weren’t able to move forward with the contract because they were struggling to obtain an insurance policy for their application.
Before the app gained its popularity, they had 42 rejections from different insurance carriers in about a year until they landed their one million dollar insurance policy.
“[It was] the challenge and people telling me it couldn’t be done, and I wanted to be the first one to do it,” said Matthew Vega-Sanz to Student Media.
Instead of getting a partnership with the University, the brothers instead opted to promote Lula Rides on campus through presentations to different organizations. Now at the beginning of the semester, the Vega-Sanz brothers want to get their word out to FIU’s students on campus and familiarize them with Lula Rides.
With their Saturday, Sept. 1 launch date, their biggest inspirations are to create something that has never been done before and to work together to design it.
“At the end of the day we have a common goal,” said Matthew Vega-Sanz. “We want to create something that people will actually use.”
As for Lula Rides’ future, the Vega-Sanz brothers hope to expand to other forms of transportation, such as scooters and bikes, and make Lula Rides a one stop shop where people can rent what they need, anywhere they are, at affordable prices.
Featured image retrieved from Lula Rides website.