Travel is essential to the startup and story of Faizan Bhatty 14BBA, an entrepreneur named to the Forbes 30 under 30 in rideshare advertising.
Journeying from Pakistan, he saw Emory for the first time when he moved in as a first-year student who valued kindness and being helpful. “That began the four most formative years of my life,” he recalls. “I was a first-generation student making independent decisions, in a country, university, and system that rewards persistence and dedication. I wanted to take full advantage of that.”
No case competition team for undergraduates at Goizueta Business School? Bhatty helped create one, and they flew to compete nationally. An investment newsletter written by juniors and seniors only? Bhatty broke in as a freshman. Google not recruiting at Emory then? “I can get a job with them,” Bhatty vowed.
And he did. Bhatty landed at Google for Entrepreneurs, as a digital lead for search advertising. “At Google, my impact was as one piece of a large, well-oiled machine,” he notes. “For me to have a larger individual impact, I had to take a risk.”
He left Google for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and he joined a fellow MBA student to co-found Halo Cars in 2018. A rideshare driver makes extra money by putting a smart digital advertising screen—a Halo—on their car roof, and the ads can be hyper-targeted based on the car’s location.
Within a year, Lyft bought Halo Cars, and today Bhatty is head of business development and strategic partnerships for Lyft Media. “Don’t be afraid to take risks,” is Bhatty’s advice for student entrepreneurs. “Early in your career, the risk is not that high, and that calculated risk will reap benefits the rest of your career. If you decide entrepreneurship is not your path, you will be a better employee and problem solver.”