Get to Know Student Entrepreneur Program Finalist Neha Husein, Founder of Just Drive
Between the advent of smart phones and distracting apps, fatalities caused by phone-use behind the wheel are on the rise. In fact, last year 1.6 million drivers crashed their cars while using their cellphones. Neha Husein, a recent SMU graduate and human rights entrepreneur, recognized this problem and sought to solve it with her app, Just Drive.
Just Drive rewards users for driving without the distraction of their phones by giving discounts for local businesses. The resulting product is safety for everyone on the road, discounts for the driver, and more money spent with local businesses. It’s a win-win all around.
Neha was the fifth-place winner in the 2019 WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) Pitch Competition, which took place in June during the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair in Baltimore, Maryland. As the premier startup program for collegiate female founders, SEP fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum, mentorship, and a pitch competition, where students compete for $20k in seed capital.
We interviewed Neha to learn more about her entrepreneurship journey, her advice for other female founders, and what’s next for Just Drive.
What inspired you to start your business?
In February of 2014, I was rear-ended by a driver who was texting and driving. She said she had just glanced down at her for a second and by the time she looked up she had already hit me. After that day, I was honestly so stunned with fear. I constantly felt like everyone around me was texting and driving. I sat with this fear for a while until I thought of ways I could prevent distracted driving accidents and entered my first pitch competition with my idea for an app to reward undistracted driving called Just Drive. I struggled with seeing myself as an entrepreneur at first, but have since realized I have the ability to make a difference and implement a solution to this societal problem.
Fast forward a year and some change later, and Just Drive is available on the App Store and Google Play store with almost 1000 users and over 550 hours of undistracted driving.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a young female entrepreneur?
The most rewarding part of being a young female entrepreneur has definitely been meeting other like-minded people who are driven to make the world better. Complacency is such an easy trap to fall into, but surrounding myself with people who don’t take no for an answer and push me to be a better entrepreneur makes it so fulfilling.
What three traits define you?
Empathy, drive, and sincerity.
Where do you see yourself in one year? How about 5 years?
In one year, I hope to be working on scaling Just Drive globally to combat distracted driving in other countries. In five years, I hope to be drinking an oat milk latte in my own vegan co-working space/coffee shop mentoring other young entrepreneurs.
What are you reading or listening to now?
I’m currently reading “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis and I’m always listening to early ‘00s R&B.
What advice would you give to other female founders just starting their business?
Push past the imposter syndrome. You are enough just as you are and you are capable of starting, running, and scaling your own business. Find the people that are willing to help you and not just give you a pat on the back.
How did you first learn about the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program?
I first learned about the WBENC Student Entrepreneurship Program at another competition geared towards young entrepreneurs called GSEA. That's where I originally met Mona and Andrew who were both extremely helpful throughout this process.
How would you describe your experience?
My experience with WBENC was absolutely incredible. I met so many amazing entrepreneurs and was given valuable mentorship and feedback on Just Drive. I also built wonderful relationships with the other women in my cohort. It's so refreshing to be able to talk to other female students who are on a similar journey with starting their own companies.
What did it feel like getting up in front of an audience and judges to pitch your business?
Pitching is always nerve-wracking, but I felt very supported by my corporate and WBENC mentors, Allstate and Frontier Technology respectively, and my fellow cohort and alumnae mentors as we spent the week prepping together. We were all there to watch each other succeed and that was really special.
What did you learn during the program that will help you grow your business?
I learned about how powerful it can be to have so many incredible women entrepreneurs in the same space at once. The power of building connections is so valuable especially at conferences such as WBENC.
What’s next for you and your company?
Just Drive is currently looking to build strategic partnerships with restaurants, retailers, and large chain corporations to continue to scale nationally and continue preventing distracted driving accidents. I hope distracted driving becomes an issue of the past so let’s do the world a favor and Just Drive.
Learn more about JustDrive.