Two days before Super Bowl XLV in 2011, Dallas was hit with an intense winter storm. Life, for most people, stalled for almost a week. Some called it the “snowpocalyse.” Mark Shrayber and Arthur Veytsman call it the five worst days of their lives.
The co-founders of the Dallas-based ground transportation company Muv— pronounced “move”—were navigating nearly 35 cars between airports, hotels, and Cowboys Stadium. Shrayber, the company’s president, says their goal was just to survive. They had been in dire straits before.
He and Veytsman, Russian immigrants who met when their families lived in the same apartment complex off Northwest Highway and Jupiter, started the privately held company 11 years ago. They thought they could do something to improve the ground travel experience after swapping horror stories.
Their company, 360Limo, went live in early September, 2001. They had three cars, the minimum Dallas requires, and a sublease in a medical office building. Six days later, 9/11 happened. Veytsman and Shrayber jettisoned plans to expand into the leisure market and concentrated on the business side, catering to event coordinators putting together company meetings and administrative assistants who need reliable black car service for their CEOs, no matter what city they’re in.
“What we learned very quickly was that it’s important for a corporate client to make a single phone call, and to be able to go everywhere in the country,” Veytsman says.
Muv provides that, and more, Shrayber says. That’s why they changed the name and transitioned to a “fleetless” model in 2010. That means the drivers own and operate their own vehicles, with a revenue-sharing model.
Jessica Yost, ground transportation manager for Dallas Fan Fares Inc., a destination management company, says Shrayber, the salesman of the operation to Veytsman’s measured, softspoken businessman, sold her on Muv’s service within five minutes of their first meeting. She has used the company for seven years.
Muv operates in 200 cities around the world, including tier-one markets such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. The company earns between $7 million and $10 million in annual revenue, putting it in the top 1 percent of their industry, Shrayber says.
National clients include AT&T, Behringer Harvard, and Deloitte. The Super Bowl, no matter where it’s played, is one of the company’s marquee events, making February Muv’s largest month of the year.
The partners say they’re keeping an eye on Uber, the mobile phone app that allows potential passengers to book town cars and SUVs on demand simply by locating a nearby car on their smartphones. Technology, they say, is finally converging to truly meet demand. Muv is planning its own standalone app, but Shrayber says his and Veytsman’s cell phone numbers will stay in their email signatures.
“This is the business we chose to be in,” he says. “You have to be there for your clients.”