This powerful entrepreneur’s tenacity and kind spirit motivate the father of two to pay it forward by sharing profits to advocate for education and rally against child and human sex trafficking.
Greg Martel’s entrepreneurial soul and passion for innovation is apparent in his inspiring journey to bring financial literacy to the everyday individual. Martel founded Shop Your Own Mortgage, a company which quickly became a top performer in online mortgage. He then pivoted with the creation of SHAiR Your Car, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform.
Through this company, Martel empowers people to seize control of their futures by temporarily renting their vehicles to other users to pay off their expenses. Named Mortgage Broker of the Year in Canada and mentored by top business strategist Tony Robbins, Martel has quickly soared as a leading expert. Martel’s work ethic is unparalleled as he inspires a generation of entrepreneurs; he is surging forward to cultivate a community of change.
Tricia Love: Tell us about yourself.
Greg Martel: I’m from Canada. I was born in Quebec, grew up in Toronto and then moved out to the West Coast. I was moving around when I played hockey. Then I moved to the west coast of Canada, to Victoria, Vancouver Island. [I] got into business finance as a mortgage broker. I became a partner of the firm and then became an owner of the firm. I got into entrepreneurship along the way.
Tricia Love: Do you still have your mortgage company?
Greg Martel: I invested in smaller companies to raise capital while running my mortgage company in Canada. I met Tony Robbins in 2011 [and] worked with him [Tony] for a year. I took all the risks. I trained people to run their own brokerages. Tony taught me to go digital.
My car was stolen when it was brand new. The only thing worse than getting your car stolen is when your car is stolen [and] it comes back right before the insurance is going to pay it out, all damaged and banged up.
I started thinking about how I could get that money back. There were peer-to-peer car-sharing companies, so I got a new car. I was traveling back to Canada, where my kids are, and I was coming back to work every other week, [so] I would rent my car out. The first month I made $4,500. I bought another car and the next month was very successful. Eventually, I increased it to 32 cars.
People have cars that sit idle for hours a day. You pay 100% of a car payment that loses value. This company gives you the opportunity to use that vehicle to pay your mortgage, car payment or buy another vehicle. People have thousands of car payments and can’t qualify for mortgage. We designed a technology platform that’s built for the host. Our competitors are built for the users, the renters. [SHAiR Your Car] has implemented functionality and AI that no one else [in this] industry has.
Photo: Shair Your Car
Tricia Love: What business principle has been one of the most profound for you?
Greg Martel: That’s a good question. I think when people start a business, there are two things. [First], you may have a great idea, but the market may not be ready for it. Understand [and] build your product for the user. Don’t build the product for yourself. Make sure that there’s a need for it.
Understand that you don’t want to start a business to make money. You want to have a purpose and money [is how] it gets to that destination. The last thing is innovation and marketing. If you’re not innovating, you’re getting lapped by people.
Tricia Love:That’s powerful. What is your purpose behind SHAiR Your Car?
Greg Martel: We spelled share differently because we share the purpose of our company. When you rent a car from us or list [a] car with us, [you can choose] a portion of the profits [to] allocate to ending child sex trafficking. We want a company that’s not only about making money for ourselves. It’s about contributing and seeing the impact of fulfillment and happiness. People may chase happiness by getting a bigger car, a nicer house, [but] happiness and fulfillment comes from sharing with other people and not expecting anything back in return.
Tricia Love: Why is this cause so important to you?
Greg Martel: It gets me a little emotional. An ex-Navy seal, ex-CIA gentleman named Tim Ballard was approached by a man from Haiti. The man’s son was stolen from him. He was in tears and begged Tim to help find his son. Tim went to a supervisor, [but] they don’t have a budget to help at the time. This man asked Tim, “Can you imagine going to an empty bed at night, knowing that someone stole your child? Children don’t have the ability to make decisions and protect themselves.” I have two sons. [I had] goosebumps.
Tim quit [the] CIA. He collected a group of friends together and they saved 28 kidnapped children ages 7 to 12 years old. Most of these children rescued aren’t able to be reuinted with their birth parents because they’re in different areas. They don’t know where they are anymore. We help find an orphanage or school where they can sleep, [be] fed and go to school until someone adopts [them].
Tim has adopted three or four kids. What blew me away is that you never think it’s happening in your backyard. You don’t think it’s in Los Angeles. You don’t think it’s in Canada or the US. But 2.5 million Americans before COVID were buying kids and since COVID, the number has almost doubled.
We’ve funded an orphanage already. Witnessing how these children were impacted by adoption and education is everything. It moves you to have the opportunity to create change.
This quote is by Matt Damon, “If you have the ability to make money and have financial freedom, be a leader and do something good with it.” It’s very powerful [and] I’m very passionate about it.
Tricia Love: How did you know that the market was ready for SHAiR Your Car?
Greg Martel: Our competitors focus on people renting cars. We are a financial literacy company, teaching people to use their cars as an asset. SHAiR Your Car teaches people that they have this liability that they pay monthly for and that loses value every day you’re not using it. It teaches people to turn it into a revenue source. Long-term, we want people to never own a car and week to week [with] a monthly fee that’s part of our platform. Pick and choose different cars to drive for the next week and you pay a flat fee per month. You can have different cars and not worry about losing value. The car insurance is covered when you use it. If you don’t want to pay that monthly fee, you can pay as you go.
We weed out people who are not safe drivers, are unsafe, committing identity fraud, etc. We have technology that authenticates your identity. We have internal GPS on the cars that shows if they’re over the designated speed limit. Over time, that data gives drivers an internal score. That score determines your insurance rates.
Tricia Love: Is there anything else that you want to share with us?
Greg Martel: We just came up with our artificial intelligence damage report. The convenience available on our platform is what separates us from our competitors … [you are] able to open your phone, see the available cars and check out a car without meeting anybody.
We are coming up with a facial recognition device that’s an internal camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds while the car is moving to make sure that the driver has been authenticated and is the approved person for the car. We want to build our business for the host, for our owners.
Credit: Shair Your Car
Tricia Love: That’s phenomenal. Tell us what social media handles exist for SHAiR Your Car and where should readers can find more information.
Interview by Tricia Love
Edited by Jennifer Yasutake Stagner
Read next: Carlos Bruner a New Age of Finance