“I’m the founder and CEO of Project 100 (newly branded as SHIFT), co-founder of Work In Progress and a general partner at VegasTechFund. I lead Technology & Industrial Investments with Downtown Project and developed the Downtown Las Vegas Campus for Zappos.com,” Zach Ware shares on his personal website.
Project 100 started just over a year ago in the Spring of 2013 with what Zach Ware calls a simple belief.
“People are happier when they can more easily connect with the people and places they care about. Most people heard of us thanks to our plans to acquire a significant number of Tesla Model Ss. But that was only part of the story, like focusing on the carpet order for a massive art museum,” he wrote in a recent blog post.
He and his team aim for soon-to-be-members’ use experiences to be incredibly simple, while the complexity of what they happens behind the scenes.
“In our core service area, first in Las Vegas and soon in other cities, we will enable people to be on their way riding, driving or biking within five minutes,” he wrote. “We’re combining small city cars, larger sedans, shuttles, bikes and more into a single monthly membership designed to remove your thoughts about cost as a factor in whether or not you should go somewhere. By the end of the year we will not only replace your car, but we’ll deliver so much more than your car could ever deliver. And we’ll be far more affordable than you might think.”
He says that the Shift team is currently busy building iOS and Android applications for members as well as integrating an in-car application they are developing in-house.
“The application hooks into both an RFID reader for your member card as well as the vehicle’s onboard systems to lock/unlock/let you drive and to help you find parking. Suffice to say, we have a lot going on,” explained Zach Ware.
When asked about the growth of the team to 23 in downtown Las Vegas, he shared thoughts from the perspective of the CEO and founder.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “When you start a company you know what’s happening in every corner of the organization. When you’re at 23 people you learn to be comfortable not knowing everything. Take today, I read in a Slack channel that one of our cars is being used in a video shoot. I have no idea what that shoot is. It’s crazy and inspiring when you reach a size where you don’t know what’s going on.”
“He spearheads our R&D work looking at things like building a commodity electric vehicle charger because the ones on the open market are expensive for no good reason. His role gets to one of our company mottos, F**k this, we can do it better,” he explained.
He said the team just hired their first data scientist, which he says is exciting.
“The amount of data we’ll have is vast and the importance of intelligent system optimization and demand prediction cannot be overstated. We are committed to delivering on a five minute promise, that’s hard. Prediction is our strongest tool to getting there,” he said.
Right now, Zach Ware says the team is searching for someone to lead their in-car hardware area.
“We actually hired one of the co-founders and one of the roboticists from Romotive on contract to build the systems we are going to launch with,” he said. “But they have other things to do so we need to find someone who loves OBD2 ports, CAN Buses and cars to help us continue to innovate in this area.”
Zach Ware says he thinks the opportunity with SHIFT is bigger than just replacing your car.
“We want to create a product so easy to use it’s a replacement for the car keys in your life,” he explained. “People need to move in a variety of different ways on a daily basis. In fact there are a lot of times when you want to go somewhere but the friction of getting there is so high, you question whether you really need to do it today. We aim to be so simple and so efficient that you can connect with 10 times more things in a day than you would if you just had a car or could occasionally hail a taxi or an Uber.”
As a membership system, the concept behind SHIFT is that they are not forcing you to pay every time you want to go somewhere.
“The freedom that brings will encourage you to move more frequently and ultimately better connect you with the people and experiences you care about,” he said. “Also, by simple math, we’re able to bring you shared cars, rides and bikes under one membership that’s likely more cost efficient than owning a car. Anytime you need to go somewhere whether you want to drive and park your car at a destination and be done or ride because, you know, occasionally we enjoy one too many drinks, we are there for you.”
When asked how he feels about the future of the sharing economy, Zach Ware says he is not an expert in the sharing economy.
“A lot of people see us as a transportation company, some see us as an electric vehicle company and others a sharing economy company,” he explained. “I see us as a promise company. We get you moving within five minutes, period. Companies like Zipcar are very good at articulating the future of the sharing economy. Of course it makes sense that if your car sits idle 95% of the time it makes more sense to use a car that’s equally accessible during the 5% of the time you need it.”
“The difference between SHIFT and that industry is that we aren’t providing pseudo-convenient cars or simply a ride that comes within 5-10 minutes when you need it, we’re providing a promise,” he continued.
Zach Ware says the launch of SHIFT will be in phases, where community members will start to see vehicles distributed around Downtown Las Vegas in July 2014.
“We’ll have a very limited beta period that will give us a chance to test the mission-critical things like when I put my member card over the RFID reader, does the car open?” he said. “We’ll be surprising our early members over the course of the first few months with new products that are included in their current membership. We’ll keep adding new and exciting experiences as time passes.”
“You’ll see pricing start to creep out over the next few months. But it’s worth noting that our three levels of membership aren’t just cheap, not as cheap and expensive, but they are actually targeting three different customer segments,” he said. “We’re equally as useful for people who commute downtown daily as for those who live downtown and everyone in between. More to come on that.”
Zach Ware says the average cost of car ownership annually, according to AAA, is $8,876 per year.
“That’s roughly $739/month,” he said. “So if you can deliver the same sense of control over mobility to a member for less than that plus provide the security of rides, you’ve changed the way people can connect with their city.”
To keep up to date on launch plans, signup for the email list found on the Project 100 website. If you’re interested in joining their team, check out the career opportunities also listed on the website. For partnership and media inquiries email [email protected]