RSG028: From Uber Driver to Co-Founder of a Rideshare Startup Called Vugo

By October 26, 2015November 4th, 201616 Comments


    Rideshare drivers are very entrepreneurial by nature and on today’s podcast, I interview a driver who decided to take things one step further.  You guys might have heard of Vugo but what you may not know is that one of its co-founders actually came up with the idea while he was driving for Uber.

    I know a lot of drivers have bigger plans for themselves and Uber can be a great stepping stone to launch a business or pursue a passion.  But what I like about James’ story is that he saw a huge business opportunity and instead of waiting for someone else to take action, he went out and did something about it.

    James Bellefeuille - Former Uber Driver and Vugo Co-Founder

    James Bellefeuille – Former Uber Driver and Vugo Co-Founder

    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here


    • Thanks to everyone leaving us iTunes reviews!
    • Shout out to 5-star reviewers
    • Today’s episode is with James Bellefeuille, one of the founders of Vugo, which has been getting a ton of press lately
    • Recently covered Vugo for Forbes
    • Special thanks to our sponsor, Stride Health – they can help you if your personal needs change, or if you don’t like to deal with health insurance. It’s a free service you should definitely check out!

    Interview with James Bellefeuille of Vugo

    • James Bellefeuille, started driving for Uber in Chicago just before New Year’s Eve
    • Stopped driving for a few months, then picked it up again and realized earnings were dramatically less
    • Started Vugo after including menus from a local restaurant in the back of the car
    • Realized drivers’ destinations could be altered through visual advertising

    What is Vugo?

    • Did not initially think visual advertising was the way to go until Harry covered Vugo in Forbes article
    • Started driving to meet new people and to make extra money. Uber was the catalyst for getting started in rideshare
    • Vugo uses a tablet with an app, placed in the back of the headrest, that shows targeted advertising to passengers
    • Drivers get 60% of advertising revenue
    • The tipping feature, while not the core of what Vugo does, has certainly been beneficial for drivers
    • Majority of drivers’ income will increase through the tipping feature, but expect revenue to increase as Vugo partners with more advertisers

    How to Start a Business

    • Having a good team and choosing the right team is one of the best things you can do
    • Vugo was created among friends, important to make sure everyone is on the same page – and everyone gets along!
    • Total of three co-founders, and everyone contributes different skills and resources
    • Incorporating for drivers is different than incorporating for business, and it’s important to make that distinction

    Day in the Life of a Start Up

    • Never enough time in the day or week to complete all tasks
    • You’re going all day, every day. You have to be passionate about your business!
    • If you don’t currently have a full-time job, you’re in the perfect position for starting your own business

    Challenges Facing Vugo

    • Initially worried that Uber would deactivate drivers participating in Vugo
    • Uber announced they wouldn’t penalize drivers for using Vugo
    • Constantly working with major brands and advertisers in order to bring more revenue to drivers

    Upcoming for Vugo


    • Wanted to show everyone how rideshare is constantly changing
    • So many companies emerging to support the burgeoning rideshare industry, like Sherpashare
    • Think of your short, mid- and long-term goals and recognize the opportunities as they’re coming
    • Thinking of being an entrepreneur? James’ advice is so useful and timely – consider becoming your own boss
    • These businesses need drivers – unlike rideshare companies, companies like Vugo need you, and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship
    • Have suggestions for who you’d like to see on this podcast? Send me an email!
    • Check out the full transcript here
    • Thanks to everyone leaving us iTunes reviews! Subscribe here to receive new podcasts every 2 weeks
    • Sign up for our email list

    Show Notes

    Stride Health

    This episode was sponsored by Stride Health, they’re a company that connects self employed workers with health coverage and health care for free! And even if you already have health insurance, once you sign up, you’ll get access to a personal advisor who you can call to get help with all your health care decisions and more.  Sign up here to get free access today!

    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here

    Drivers, what do you think about James’ experience as a startup founder with Vugo?  Does this sound like something you’d want to do and is Vugo a product that you would be interested in using to earn more money as a driver?

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    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.