Watch: How one viral video by a Dubai-based British expat helped her rental car start-up – Gulf News

A TikTok post has British expats lining up for new monthly car service start-up
Dubai: A viral TikTok post by the founder of a British-owned car rental company in Dubai, has helped the business secure a waiting list of expats looking to hire a vehicle from the female owned start-up.
The TikTok video, which has over 840,000 views, details the journey of Latifa Samie, the founder of Revv Car Rental, following her move to Dubai from the UK. The clip has helped the entrepreneur build a network of British expats looking to rent a car from her growing fleet of everyday cars.
Having relocated to Dubai in 2021, Samie was a long-term car renter herself and struggled to find the type of service she’s since dedicated herself to offering her customers. “I didn’t have a very good experience with some car rentals companies, that had poor customer service and so that gave me the motivation to start my own one and offer exceptional customer service,” she tells Gulf News.
During her first year in Dubai Samie spent a lot of time flying back and forth to the UK before finally calling the UAE home and starting her rental car business in February this year.
In her viral TikTok post that recaps 2023, Samie admits to feeling lost in Dubai in her first few months, despite chasing her dreams, and decided to travel to Japan and Thailand. “When I first came to Dubai I felt very lonely and I think a lot of British expats feel that initially,” she says.
“I left everything, my friends and family and comforts and I hadn’t come before, I had just heard a lot about Dubai and liked the sound of it. Being self-employed meant I didn’t have a job to go and interact with people. I felt like I was starting again and had to make new friends and connections. There are eight of us, seven girls and one brother, so I am the only one who just went away and didn’t see them every day.”
Upon returning to Dubai after a few months, her car rental company had the first vehicle in its fleet along with its first customer and things slowly began to pick up.
The company initially began life looking to cater to the luxury car hire market, and was even named ‘Need For Speed’, after the popular racing video games, before Samie conducted some in-depth market research and altered the company’s name and direction.
“When I first came out to Dubai I didn’t know much about the industry and everyone was telling me that luxury cars were the way to go,” she says.
“However, I started learning more about the market and my target audience I realised it was more about helping expats moving to Dubai and so luxury wasn’t the route I wanted to go down. I wanted to have more of a social impact with the business and be supporting people.
“It’s not just about renting a car, it’s about helping people with things when they first move here, so we rebranded. I did a huge amount of market research, I looked at every single economy car on the market in the UAE, the features they have, such as a sat-nav or Apple CarPlay, which turned out to be an important requirement for our clients.”
Samie, who also works as a tech-consultant, is no stranger to working with start-ups having been one of the first employees at a UK digital bank. It was here where she learned the trials and tribulations of working for a new company, made even more challenging during the pandemic. “I learned so much during my time there,” she recalls.
Now happily settled in Dubai, Samie says the support of the British community has helped her immensely and now regularly has Brits reaching out to her for help and advice on making the move to the UAE.
“I know a lot of people who want to move to Dubai and start something but aren’t willing to take a risk and I think if you really want to change your life you have to.” She added, “I’ve always wanted to pioneer something and I don’t come from money so it’s nice to be doing something of my own through hard work and it’s great if that’s inspiring others.”
Samie proudly believes she’s the first British female car rental company founder in Dubai and hopes her success will inspire others to take the leap and chase their dreams.
“When I was applying for my business license at the RTA the guy said he’d never seen a female car rental founder before, which makes me feel really good. I really want to inspire others, especially as a women in a male-dominated industry, my goal is to show people that they can do something if they really want to.”

Nick Watkins is a British journalist residing in Dubai and covers all aspects of lifestyle, sport, travel and business
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