Episode 12: Zouaoui and Harrak challenge cultural norms in Morocco’s first ridesharing app

Co-Founders and childhood friends, Hicham Zouaoui and Otman Harrak, came back to Casablanca after spending high school and college apart, experiencing different cultures and realities. Once back together, they had the idea to build out a new business model and the first ridesharing app in Morocco.

Otman Harrak (gauche) et Hicham Zouaoui (Droite), fondateurs de l’application Pip Pip Yallah. Image courtesy of We Love Buzz.

Now they’re working together in a big, beautiful office overlooking the cinematic backdrop of Casablanca. “It’s been a wonderful adventure,” says Harrak. Carpooling isn’t a new concept for a culture that already has sharing as a big part of its values. This is what made it challenging for people to understand that it was ok to exchange money for something that is usually considered simply neighborly ⥖ even among strangers.

Zouaoui started Pip Pip Yalah through a Facebook group, just connecting people wanting to travel between universities and their hometowns. Ridesharing. They started talking about the new concept just among friends. They got all the way up to 100 users before reconnecting again with Harrak, coming back from studying in the London School of Business and the Grenoble École de Management.

Pip Pip Yalah now has recorded over 26 million kilometers in shared rides, reducing CO2 emission by 6,500 tons as people shared their rides and did not use their own cars.

Zouaoui and Harrak talk us through serial-entrepreneurship, battling “against” cultural norms, user experience and driving social, economic, and ecological impacts by facilitating and incentivizing ridesharing throughout Morocco.

Their pure friendship and excitement to conquer their mission together really comes out clearly in this very light and joyful conversation. “It challenged us to battle through interpreting  English and French context together at the same time,” they agree. Their story of beating the odds is certainly inspiring and we know they are only at the beginning of their journey.

Learn more about Pip Pip Yalah downloading their app or visiting their website.

Listen to Episode 12 on Spotify.
Listen to Episode 12 on Apple Podcasts.

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