Mark Shrayber, CEO of Muv, talks about the ground transportation business and how his company has a new and better solution for anyone needing ground transportation in this “Spotlight on Texas Innovation” series, brought to you by Salesforce.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio, texasbusinessradio.com is the website. See the entire thing in beautiful high definition right there at the website, and get your questions in there at the website, you can use Twitter, we monitor #tbr or 844-814-8144 is our 24-hour call-in line.
I’m your host, Matt Register. Jay Curry is the one sitting over there in the co-host chair, and we are at a point in our show we like to call Spotlight on Texas Innovation, and this is brought to you by our friends over at Salesforce, salesforce.com.
We like to bring in very innovative companies across the state, companies that are doing things differently and changing the face of the way business is done, and we have a great one here in the studio. Mark Shrayber is the president of MUV, muvpeople.com is the website.
Mark, welcome to the show, sir.
Mark Shrayber: Thank you very much.
Matt Register: MUV. What do you do? Who do you do it to?
Mark Shrayber: Absolutely. We provide ground transportation, as unsexy as that sounds. But we provide it for travel management companies, corporations and third-party meeting planners, so we primarily focus on larger events, marquee events like Super Bowl, Final Four, et cetera, and moving large groups of people all over the world.
Matt Register: Well, and as unsexy as that may sound, it is a problem for business, right? It is something that is hard to get right, it’s resource-intensive, it’s time-intensive, and you guys do something about that using technology. Walk me through that.
Mark Shrayber: Yeah, no, and to your point, I think it’s a really difficult part of the journey, so when we talk about travel in general, it’s become more and more stressful, right? So you can get to the airport, you get charged $25 for your bag, it’s delayed, they put you up with God knows where, then you get to the hotel, it might be sold out, so we really help our meeting planners take care of the ground transportation. Once you get on the ground from the hotel to your destination, to your venues, off sites, to your important meetings.
And what we do is using technology, we make that very, very transparent, and we make sure that the meeting planner has a comfort level by allowing them to be able to log in online, see vehicle statuses, driver names, how much things cost, so they can make business decisions.
One of the great things we recently released is this dash board, so as a meeting planner, as somebody who’s controlling this ground transportation piece, you can see, you know, how are we performing so you’re not blindsided by somebody coming in and saying “You won’t believe what happened to me.” You can see how much money you’ve spent, up to the minute, in case you’re working against the budget in some of these additional services, so you’re able to really decide, yeah, we can do that, or no, we cannot do that.
And then it gives you an overview. We tie in technology from the FAA so you can actually see what’s going on with flights without having to have a travel agent on site-
Matt Register: And adjust en route, right?
Mark Shrayber: Absolutely. It’s all about what are you doing, planning ahead, reacting. I mean, think about what’s going on in the Northeast today. We’ve got another weather alert, La Guardia, everything will be shut down.
Matt Register: But your guys that are using your technology have the ability in real time to see what’s going on, make adjustments, have the appropriate ground transportation in place, when it can, right? And be able to react as best as possible according to the circumstances, right?
Mark Shrayber: Yes. So we actually really manage that for our clients, but we allow them to make sure that they have everything at their fingertips, so they’re actually able to see things and react to it, and then rely on us to actually execute everything that needs to be done.
Matt Register: Now when we were talking during the break, I understand, and I’m just learning about your company, very impressed with your company, but you do this on a national and global scale, right?
Mark Shrayber: We do, we do. About 10 percent of our business is outside of North America, so we go to some very, very far-flung places. In fact, just recently, driving over here, I had a conversation about an event in Saudi Arabia that we’re gonna be handling later this month.
But yeah, so we go to every major market across the globe. Most places that we operate in, the people have to have a service delivery standard that meets our criteria, insurance criteria that needs to be met, otherwise we don’t want to promise something that we can’t deliver.
Matt Register: And you don’t own a vehicle, right?
Mark Shrayber: We don’t own a vehicle. I did own ’em for about 10 years, and I just wasn’t that great at it.
Jay W. Curry: So it looks to me like one of the big things is that, because you’re doing this all over the world, you’re used to going, you know, business people are used to having big events, maybe in Saudi Arabia, or Dubai or something, and the culture’s different, and the way things are done is different, and they don’t understand it, and they don’t get … You standardize all of that so they know what they’re getting before they even get started.
Mark Shrayber: That’s a great point, and exactly. Most of our clients are U.S.-based, so they have U.S. expectations, and they don’t really care whether they’re in the Middle East or Europe or wherever else. So we normalize that for our clients, so we have one way of doing business, whether you’re in San Francisco, New York, Dallas or Dubai. So it makes it much easier for them to consume, much easier for them to understand, and to scale, because most of these people are doing meetings at the same time across multiple locations many times a year.
Matt Register: Well, and you guys being able to quality-control the actual people that do own the vehicles, right?
Mark Shrayber: Absolutely.
Matt Register: And you’re able to learn in different markets who does perform the best, right? You have that repeatability and that historical data that you can hook them up with somebody that’s gonna be on time, with, you know, the correct level of service and everything else, right?
Mark Shrayber: Yeah, and so, I mean, we’re really a three-legged stool, so we’ve got our clients, we’ve got our vendors, and we’ve got our internal team, and they’re really equally weighted. So our vendors have to be vetted, they have to be managed, our clients, we have to meet their expectations, and my team has to have the right tools to be able to deliver the service.
So we have a fully-dedicated team to vendor management. It’s a fairly large team that does nothing but make sure that our vendors are happy. And happy doesn’t mean that they do exactly as we tell them. They have to meet our service delivery, but we have to pay them on time. We want to be a good client to them, so the relationship there is really, really critical, so we have a team dedicated to managing those vendors, so they deliver the MUV way.
Matt Register: No, makes a whole lot of sense.
We’re talking to Mark Shrayber, president of MUV.
Who is the person in these organizations that ends up hiring you? I mean, who is responsible for this?
Mark Shrayber: Right. So we a lot of times start our conversations with a meeting planner, but it usually ends up going into the travel department, so whoever is managing travel, usually sitting in procurement or finance, is somebody that we’re going to end up talking to. So, we call them kind of our, we have multiple masters. We have the person who decides, you know, what I need done, which is the meeting planner. There’s the person that decides what’s happening on the finance side, how am I going to pay, is this within budget? Then there’s the person that actually gets into one of our vehicles. They all three have different needs, so we work with all of them.
Matt Register: Yeah, and you’ve gotta make all of ’em happy, right?
Mark Shrayber: Absolutely.
Matt Register: Being a technology company in an otherwise non-technology-heavy industry, how has this changed the way that you have operated as a CEO of a company? You used to own the vehicles, you used to be on the lower tech side of it. You’ve made the decision to become a technology software company as that is your backbone and enabler. Walk me through that decision, and how has it changed the way you operate?
Mark Shrayber: Well, we’ve always been really focused on technology. We think technology really provides us with efficiency, but really, when you make a decision to spend the amount of time and resources and capital that we’ve spent to build a purpose-built platform that serves our client niche, you know, that’s a very different decision.
Matt Register: Sure.
Mark Shrayber: And you learn things along the way. I made quite a few mistakes, probably built some things we didn’t need to, but we’ve gotten pretty good at it, and as long as it solves a client problem or enhances the customer experience, that’s how we prioritize things. And we learn a lot from our clients and our vendors, so they tell us the things that are working and things that are not.
Matt Register: Well, the one thing that when we were talking during the break, is this is a painful process, normally, right, without you guys, and your reason for all of the technology, your reason for being, is to take that pain away from that event planner and that company. You can make life easy for them, right?
Mark Shrayber: And that’s our goal. We really want to make the event planner feel like a super hero without having to do all the super hero work. You know, when a vehicle shows up, or 10 or 20 or 100 of them, it should be easy and stress-free for the people that are getting on, and for the people that booked it. And our goal is to really make that transaction very, very simple.
Matt Register: No, makes a whole lot of sense.
Talk to me about growth, because your company itself has undergone some tremendous growth, right? I mean, you indeed are making life easy for these event planners and they’re coming to you in droves. Talk to me about the scale of your company. How have you managed some of that scale, because the problems you have in your business change as you grow.
Mark Shrayber: Yeah, and I think one thing I learned early in my career is that too much growth can absolutely kill a company. So the things for us to manage growth, there’s really two components.
One, you’ve gotta have the right people, right? And it took me a long time to get the right team, but I have one of the best teams around, seasoned professionals who know a whole lot more than I do, who really help make sure that everything happens in a timely manner, and really drive a lot of the initiatives.
And then you’ve gotta have the right software, right? So we built our software, but we also use companies like Salesforce, who integrate with our platform, who allow us to do so many more things than just the CRM, or, you know, they’re really working on helping us be a platform.
So software and people allowed this to really mix and match really, really well to deliver the service.
Matt Register: Well, I tell you what, it’s a very, very impressive company and I appreciate you taking time and coming on the show. MUV is the company, Mark Shrayber is the president. What’s the easiest way for somebody to learn more, should they be interested in solving this problem for themselves?
Mark Shrayber: Absolutely. If you have any inquiries or you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s m-u-vpeople.com. Feel free to call us at 800-360-5466. You can even send us a text. You can also go to our website at any time. We have 24/7 live chat, and we’ll be glad to help.
Matt Register: MUVpeople.com, m-u-vpeople.com. We’re gonna have that linked right from texasbusinessradio.com. Mark Shrayber, thank you very much for joining us.
Mark Shrayber: My pleasure, thanks for having me.
Matt Register: MUVpeople.com. Thank you very much, Salesforce, for this Spotlight on Texas Innovation segment. We gotta go pay some of our own bills. We’ll be back right on the other side of the break with a whole lot more Texas Business Radio. We’ll be back.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.