All about the Nigerian founder awarded $10M to build New York’s first all-electric dollar van network

Abu Mubarik December 22, 2022
Sulaiman Sanni. Photo credit: Dollaride

Sulaiman Sanni is a social entrepreneur and tech executive from Brooklyn, New York. He is the founder of Dollaride, a technologically driven company for communities that are underserved by public transit. Dollaride works like a ride-hailing app and allows users to see where nearby licensed dollar vans are operating to enable them to get a ride.

Dollar vans can accommodate up to 20 people while charging passengers a couple of bucks. Unlike Uber, dollar vans do not do door-to-door service. They load passengers driving along fixed routes, reminiscent of the informal transport system used by Blacks who could not afford public transport.

“They’ve been around for well over 30 years, and primarily work in the outer boroughs like Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx,” Sanni said of dollar vans to builtinnyc. “Most of the drivers and riders are folks from the Caribbean, Chinese immigrants, folks who are from the Latino community,” Sanni added.

Originally from Nigeria, Sanni grew up using dollar vans. His uncles, who first arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s, were dollar van drivers. It was his experience with dollar vans that inspired him to create Dollaride.

“I personally grew up in low-income housing in New York City,” he said. “I grew up in a transit desert, which is a part of a city where you have remarkably limited access to public transportation.”

He continued: “As a result, I ended up relying on dollar vans when traveling to school or work. I had lived the problem. So I just wanted to provide that solution to more people who are also living in transit deserts around New York City, and now, potentially, around other cities around the country.”

Sanni recently got $10 million in funding to build New York’s first all-electric dollar van network. The project will commence in January 2023.

“I am proud to be providing the most significant investment yet in clean transportation for historically underserved communities in New York State,” NY Governor Kathy Hochul said, according to a press release. 

Prior to starting Dollaride, Sanni founded WeDidIt, an online fundraising platform. He assisted more than 2000 nonprofit organizations to raise over $50M using WeDidIt. He operated WeDidIt for eight years before it was acquired by Allegiance Fundraising Group in June 2019.

Sanni has degrees in Psychology and Business Management from Boston College.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 22, 2022


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