Maxime arrived in Australia 2 years ago, he is a dynamic and rigorous Digital Marketing Consultant and Entrepreneur. He has a major degree in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Digital Marketing strategies and has worked during 5 years for Digital Marketing agencies and during 5 years as freelancer. On his spare time, he has created a car-sharing website for travellers in Australia: HopHop Ride.
Australiance Team: What is your startup mission and “value-add”?
Maxime: HopHop Ride is an online platform that allows drivers who have empty seats to find backpackers travelling around Australia.
HopHop Ride connects international travellers to help them reduce the cost of their trips by sharing petrol charges. It is also a formidable way to meet new people and to share incredible moments during the road trip.
HopHopRide.com is a mobile-friendly clear and simple web platform especially made for backpackers.
In a minute, it is possible for a driver to create a free advertisement and to describe his road trip and his vehicle (does he have a camper van, how many empty seats, shared cost and other options). A passenger would be able to list all the available rideshares between 2 cities (Sydney and Melbourne for instance) and to contact the drivers to know more about the lift.
This is the first version of the website but we have in mind to develop new functionalities to improve backpackers’ journey on HopHop Ride.
AT: When and how have you started your business in Australia?
In France, I did some car sharing for over 1 year. When I was travelling in Australia in 2014, I noticed there were no efficient websites enabling to find easily some travel mates. Nowadays, backpackers are mainly using Facebook or Gumtree, which is not convenient.
In July 2014, I co-founded HopHop Ride with a web-developer friend that I met earlier in Australia. In March 2015, we were joined by a web-designer friend.
AT: What types of experts have you engaged in your entrepreneurial journey?
With passion, I am developing HopHop Ride during my spare time. It is a “family” project and each member of the HopHop Ride team has some complementary skills. We are still opened to complete our team with new reliable members having one of the following skills: English content writer, marketing and communication, web-development (front office) or smartphone application development.
AT: Do you have 1 tip for an international entrepreneur willing to set up his business in Australia?
I guess that setting up a business in Australia is the same as setting up one anywhere else. It requires a lot of personal investment and effort.
Australiance’s advice has been really helpful. With their experience and their network, I would definitely recommend contacting them to boost your business set up.
AT: What advice would you give to an international professional looking for employment opportunity in Australia in the IT industry?
Australia is still full of opportunities. It may take time for you to find an employment opportunity. It took me time.
I would say it is important to enjoy Australia and soak up the culture and Australian way of life while you are seeking a position. Just keep your determination up, stay motivated and be patient.
AT: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
As most of the Aussies, I am addicted to sport and outdoor activities. I love playing soccer, beach volleyball or just running along the eastern beaches cliffs. In 2015, I ran and finished the Sydney half marathon which was an unbelievable experience. In September 2016, I am planning to invest myself for the Randwick Football Club and to run the Sydney full marathon.
During weekends, I like also relaxing and going to the beach and having fun with friends.
AT: Can you suggest “useful links” (including links to your own content) for our Australian entrepreneurs toolbox?
I am currently in Australia with a Working Holiday visa, and I am willing to get a 457 visa. So I would recommend the Australian Department of Immigration website or Australiance’s guide about visas.