Oliver Du Rieu founder of La Mule

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Oliver is an extremely passionate and genuine person, who strives to make his vision a reality. After growing up in the country South Australia he has since lived in Adelaide and now Melbourne to be amongst the thick of the tech space. He lives and breath’s progress, each and every day he makes his mission to grow him self and the business.

Oliver is renowned for not leaving anything in reserve if it is going to be done it will be done with 100% effort.

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

After growing up in country SA I found it a pain to go home to see family and friends on a given weekend, The cost of driving alone and how boring it is to sit in a car by your self for more than 3 hours was just too much. I came up with the idea over a period of 6 months in late 2012/early 2013 and conceptualised building an app. After traveling to Europe and seeing it working on a massive scale there I became addicted to the pursuit of creating the same here in Aus.

Oliver Du Rieu

Please explain your business model.

A driver will post a ride from point A to point B and dedicate a price per seat which will then be available for passengers to book, La Mule takes a 15% commission for every seat booked.

Example: Jenny is driving from Byron Bay to Sydney and dedicates a price per seat of $40, Reviews and books a seat in her car using the online booking system and pays $46. $40 goes to Jenny and the other $6 goes to La Mule.

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?

We have a new web app coming out any day now, plus all things going to plan we will have both native applications [iPhone and Android] out in the early months of 2016.

We are also really excited and passionate about some of our partnerships we are building, so keep an eye out on the La Mule FB page for announcements for these in the coming weeks and months.

How do you make ideas happen?

We are fortunate enough to have both a product team and a small go to market team, so executing both tech and communication activations is becoming quite rapid. New ideas come from all parts of our team and almost everything is considered so long as it is generally in line with our core focus.

What does your typical day look like?

A typical day for Oliver Du Rieu is quite a hard thing to pin point. But when I’m not traveling interstate meeting with potential business associates or the like I will be at around 5 – 5:30am then go for a run or some exercise, eat breakfast, catch the tram in from Brunswick to the office, the York Butter Factory, sometimes have a coffee and then sit down and put my todo’s for the day on post it notes and stick them to my laptop screen (best tip for staying on task throughout the day), then I will complete any remaining tasks from yesterday and try to send out emails between 9am – lunch (it gives people enough time to reply that day). I try to make any calls I need to make around lunch time, schedule in catch-ups or coffee meet-ups in the afternoon.

I really enjoy going to different tech meet ups around Melbourne and learning as much as I can about the industry so I will do that from 5:30 – 9 and then normally come back to the office to do any non time sensitive work I need to do and then I try get back home by midnight. I’m fairly addicted to what I am doing at the moment so the time flys by pretty quick. 


What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?

To be honest I think Australia is a fantastic place to start a business, we have one of the greatest countries in the world to be able to take total control of what you ‘want to do and do it’. I have been dead set on giving LaMule 110% of my focus and effort and that does get recognised and there for rewarded but it doesn’t happen overnight.

One of the challenges I have faced with the concept of carpooling in Australia is that to reach my goal of creating a network of transport which utilises the most abundant form of travel in Australia and the world (personal vehicles) to connect every capital city and every major town in the country and beyond on every day of the year, we have to influence a mind-set shift away from the risk or downside of carpooling. But if it was going to be an easy task it would have been done already, “love the challenge”. 

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

A paid peer-to-peer digital thank you app, where you can pay people to thank others on your behalf. Because I want to be able to pay Tony Abbott to thank all the small business owners/founders who are working their asses off to progress Australia into a more productive and recognised country.  If anyone actually wants a prototype for this I have wire framed it and if you are a legend and will actually pursue it I will give it to you… just tweet me @ojdurieu. 

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?

Working out of the York Butter Factory I can’t go past Pantree.co founders (Leigh & Josh) purely because of the team, everyone in their team is directly inline with the ethos and vision or Pantree and each are purely complementary of each other it is seriously inspiring to see as putting together a A team is not an over night thing. They are one to keep an eye on.

What about internationally?

I love watching what the big guys are doing and am very interested in seeing Google turn into Alphabet as I think that this move is going to have a flow on effect across all industries, gone are the days of slow-moving big vertical corporate structures.

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

I think that business is the key thing that leads to social change. A massive part of our ethos is to influence mind-set shift in not just the way we use our transport but all resources because at the end of the day we don’t really need to own a car we just need to get from point A to point B. Business can influence the way we think in regards to the objectives and problems we are trying to solve.

Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like to support?

My self and La Mule have been long time supporters of Trees for Life and the idea off being environmentally conscious by revegetating parts of the country where we have damaged of destroyed. Trees for life is an non for profit organisation and you can support the planting of trees through cash, but what I would like to support is the idea of being more conscious about the planet we live in and have some more respect to the simple mechanics and take some time out of the busy life’s we live to give back so future generations can enjoy what we take for granted.

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.

Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter. 

@leighsherman – Pantree.co founder, on the pulse tech.

@sbxr – Steve Baxter, no bull shit approach to business

@pc0 – Pete Cooper, founder of StartSoc, he is a all over the tech start up latest news and upcoming events. 

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?

We are currently working through funding opportunities and are interested in speaking to anyone who shares our vision and values. We have an intern program which runs each quarter the next one starting in November so if anyone is interested in applying please email [email protected]

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

The Britannia Hotel in Adelaide, I used to go there every Wednesday with a group of mates when I lived in SA. It’s not at all flash but they do a great parmy/pub meal.


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