People 26 July 2018
Maven is the new car rental service in town, and it has raced to the front of the automotive industry in record time. It provides an expeditious rental process by means of an app. Once you find a rental near you, instead of having to go through the hassle of signing paperwork on site and picking up keys from a desk, Maven allows you to unlock and access it with a simple few clicks on your phone. You can then connect your car to your phone so that you can play all of your favorite tunes or listen to your latest podcast obsession. At the end of your ride, you return your rental to wherever you picked it up, click “End Trip” in the app, and that’s it. It seems too good to be true.
"Maven was born because we saw a need, we saw a demand, and we saw people really in the cities asking for it"
Photo courtesy of maven.com
So who should we be sending our letters of gratitude to? Julia Steyn, the Vice President of Urban Mobility at Maven. Steyn dreamt of moving to the Big Apple to work on Wall Street after finishing up business school. A lofty dream, but she actualized that long-founded fantasy by joining Goldman. “I was obsessed with Wall Street movies, and so I was dreaming of coming to New York and was gung-ho about only going to one place,” Steyn explains. “That place was Goldman.” Steyn’s fantasy grew astronomically, as she worked for Goldman for seven years not only in New York City, but also in London, after she married her husband.
“To me it was always the challenges that were interesting. So with investment banking, every transaction is a new challenge. You learn all the time, and I love learning.”Her love for investment banking was then trumped by her love for advising and working on the client side of things, so she switched gears and ran corporate development at an aluminum company in NY. One shift led to another, and before she knew it, Steyn was agreeing—with some reluctance—to meet the General Motors (GM) management team in Detroit. “I was very skeptical,” Steyn admits, having no background in automotives. “I was like, ‘Well, cars, Detroit...I don’t know how I really feel about it.’” Steyn met with the previous CEO of GM to talk for two hours about its history, and as she describes it, they “basically held [her] hostage,” her new career trajectory initiated with rapidity.
“It’s really the best decision I’ve ever made because automotive has been on the cusp of so much change even in the six years I came to run a new team. It was fun to bring all these people who are deal makers inside the company, organize and build a completely new team, and really be on the cusp of corporate strategy.”
The idea for Maven was born two and a half years ago when Steyn thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we were partnering with some real-estate companies? Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to a vehicle just in your garage?” Based on all of her success, it’s clear that others thought that would be nice too. She worked with engineers and software developers to figure out the simplest thing to download onto your phone for reserving a car—efficient and seamless.
Steyn began testing the idea’s efficacy by putting a few cars in Manhattan with Stonehenge as a partner because they were looking to create new customer environments for renters. People from neighboring buildings grew interested in renting as well, so Steyn started the brand and gave it a name. “Well, I think the industries where you have hard assets that are idle and that sit idle like a house, or a vehicle, that is a perfect place to disrupt because you want your asset to work for you in a way,” Steyn says. “That’s something that you don’t want to stand your balance sheet for and so that’s how it really Maven was born because we saw a need, we saw a demand, and we saw people really in the cities asking for it.”
“Don’t shy away from a challenge. Even if you don’t succeed, you’re going to learn something. Also learn from challenging people around you because if you’re constantly coddled you don’t have room to grow. Having an opportunity to work with someone who is going to give you constructive criticism, it’s going to push you forward"
Fear not if you have strict preferences when it comes to automobiles. Maven offers electric cars, SUVs, compact cars, and sedans. If one of those suits your fancy and you’re in a travel bind, Maven could be your saving grace. It has locations in 15 major cities across the states, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.
“The majority of the population ends up living in cities and it’s so constrained you have a whole bunch of space constrained from parking to where you live, to where you eat. So, it ends up that you have to do it.”Maven is a subsidiary of GM, currently making GM the sole shareholder. “[GM] has funded us with millions of dollars over the years,” Steyn reveals. “So it has supported outgrowth. And we’re actually hugely additive to the core business because we’re tapping the audience that doesn’t interact with our brands.”
Out of there 6,000 vehicles, by the end of this year, a whopping 2,000 of them will be Electric. So ⅓ of Maven will be pushing for a more sustainable future with far less noxious gas emissions polluting the air, making Maven the largest electric fleet in the United States. Steyn believes that electric cars will eventually dominate the streets, though many U.S. cities are not conducive environments for that change. “We’ve been promoting the electric cars,” Steyn says. “In Boston there is only one fast charging system. So, working with cities to give them the preview, to be a procreator of what needs to happen for this to be adopted is a fascinating endeavor.”
Being a foodie, mom, pianist, and woman with wanderlust, Steyn has plenty of passions to pursue when she is not working. “I travel a lot now, personal and professional,” Steyn says. “I have a ten year old boy, and I was a concert pianist when I was young, so now I torture him with the piano. I also take my creative energy and put it into cooking. It’s really soothing.” Steyn is clearly a woman of many trades, eager to challenge herself in the workplace and outside of it. As a big believer in accepting challenges and not being deterred by the gripping fear of failure, Steyn offers fellow female entrepreneurs some advice. “Don’t shy away from a challenge,” she insists. “Even if you don’t succeed, you’re going to learn something. Also learn from challenging people around you because if you’re constantly coddled you don’t have room to grow. Having an opportunity to work with someone who is going to give you constructive criticism, it’s going to push you forward.”
Steyn took her own advice by jumping headfirst into entrepreneurial waters, brave and ready to face whatever challenges may come—and it did wonders for her. Maven’s success has granted her a rightful place of esteem in the automotive industry. Now Maven has over 130,000 customers and counting, growing 10x month over month this past year alone. One can only imagine the increase in growth and popularity to come as more city-dwellers search for the quickest way to rent.
3 Min Read
Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.
It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.
At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.
So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.
Before You Dial The Ex...
First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.
What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?
You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.
Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.
Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.
Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.
If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:
- Do: exercise — taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
- Don't: be a couch potato.
- Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
- Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?