CharterUP recently announced the opening of a new headquarters in Austin, Texas, marking a milestone in the company’s growth.
With the new headquarters, the company plans to hire over 100 employees in the region.
CharterUP also announced the expansion of their senior leadership team with three new executive hires including Brian Showers as the company’s chief technology officer, Nick Donelson as VP, product, and Evan Hopkins as VP, supply.
CharterUP CEO Armir Harris explained the decision to open its headquarters in Austin, expand the leadership team, and more.
CharterUP Chooses Austin for HQ
Austin will serve as the company's tech and product hub, and it was an easy selection as its headquarters, according to Harris.
“Austin's thriving center for innovation and technology has made it a natural choice for CharterUP to expand its business,” Harris said. “As one of the fastest-growing tech scenes in the country, Austin is home to a wealth of talent, and CharterUP is excited to tap into this pool of skilled professionals as it grows its team by over 100, mainly in product and technology, in the coming year.”
CharterUP has established itself as a reservation solution in the industry, and its online marketplace allows groups to charter a bus in 60 seconds.
“By establishing our presence in the Innovation Corridor, we're looking forward to accessing resources that will help us continue to push boundaries in travel technology, and bring even more value to our customers,” Harris added.
CharterUP’s sales, customer success, and finance operations will remain in its original headquarters in Atlanta. As a result, the company did not encounter any logistical challenges as it added its new headquarters in Austin.
“Our biggest obstacle to overcome is competing with the many growing companies in the area to attract the best and brightest individuals in the tech industry, but we believe the team, culture, and product we have built so far will serve as our strongest recruiting tool,” Harris said.
CharterUP’s Senior Leadership Team
Under the expanded leadership team, CharterUP said it is poised to achieve its goal of bringing accountability, transparency, and reliability to charter services across the nation.
“When looking for new leaders to join our team, we sought individuals who embody our values of customer focus, commitment to excellence, taking ownership, inventing and innovating, executing on strategy, and being built for speed,” Harris said.
Showers joins as CTO, bringing more than 15 years of experience in the technology industry, including from RetailMeNot and Dosh. In this role, he will be leading engineering efforts and working with product teams.
Donelson joins as VP, product, with over 10 years of experience in product management and innovation, having led product teams at several startups and Fortune 500 companies, including Walmart Global eCommerce. He will lead the company’s product strategy and roadmap.
Hopkins joins as VP, supply, and brings extensive experience in startups, supply chain, and operations, having held senior leadership positions at logistics and transportation companies and formerly served as Outdoorsy’s VP, global sales and customer operations. As the leader of the company’s supply side, he will oversee relationships with bus operators, partnerships, and customer support strategy.
“We believe our new executive hires will bring innovative ideas and a deep understanding of our customers' needs to help us continue to grow and succeed,” Harris said. “We're excited about the future of CharterUP with the support of these leadership additions, and we're confident that our values will continue to guide us forward.”
What CharterUP Offers Up
Harris explained CharterUP’s services as “Expedia for charter buses.”
“Anyone who has ever attempted to book a charter for group transportation knows the process can feel as archaic as phone books,” he said. “Call multiple charter options, provide an itinerary, wait days for each vendor to provide a quote, slog through each option individually, pick one, provide a credit card number over the phone, and hope they arrive on time. There’s a better way, and we’ve built it.”
CharterUP’s digital marketplace delivers real-time availability and pricing and allows customers to compare quotes, vehicles, safety records, and reviews.
“CharterUP is on a mission to raise the standards of service in the industry so customers can always book their travel in confidence,” Harris said.
The company also offers interest-free financing to help operators expand their fleets to meet demand.
CharterUP partners with motorcoach operators to provide these services.
“The motorcoach industry is massively fragmented, with many small and mid-sized operators struggling to compete with larger players,” Harris said. “Our online platform simplifies the process by allowing operators of any size to earn back their share of the market. What we're doing is helping these operators win long-term, more predictable recurring business, and this predictability allows them to scale their business quickly.”
CharterUP announced its official launch in New York City in March, with a virtual fleet of more than 220 buses in partnership with over 30 locally-based charter operators.
Demand for CharterUP’s corporate shuttle programs has increased, and there has been interest from Austin-based companies specifically, according to Harris.
The company’s CEO shared future initiatives and projects, and it appears employee shuttles are a part of CharterUP's vision moving forward.
“Employee shuttles are a convenient and comfortable way for employees to commute to and from work, and are increasingly being used to recruit and retain employees,” Harris said. “These shuttles are particularly valuable in Austin, with an increasingly congested transportation system and a growing number of companies setting up headquarters outside of the downtown areas.”
Ultimately, CharterUP said its mission is to provide a group transportation experience that’s “stress-free and good for the planet.”
“By removing barriers from group transportation, we are making it easier than ever for groups to make responsible and sustainable travel decisions,” Harris said.