Do people worth hundreds of millions of dollars (and up) order cabs?
They could, but they’re more likely to use a “chauffeur-driven security service” — like the one run by Nathan Foy called Fortis. He’s the author of What Rich Clients Want (But Won’t Tell You) and knows a thing or two about how the super-rich like to get from A to B.
His job is to get them to B without being kidnapped or robbed – and his company uses a variety of flashy special ops-style techniques to ensure their safety, including decoy cars, armored vehicles and the employment of military veterans.
Nathan Foy, author of What Rich Clients Want (But Won’t Tell You) and founder of Fortis, which chauffeurs very high net worth individuals
He explained to MailOnline Travel that the “bread and butter” of what Fortis does is “chauffeured cars and security… for customers worth $600million (£492million) or more who have one or more private jets.” own”.
“The most discerning travelers in the world,” he added.
And he can chauffeur customers all over the world.
He explained that while Fortis is headquartered in South Carolina (with a branch in Nevada in September), it also has offices in Hong Kong and India — “it’s about 25,000 trips a year and about 1,000 cities.”
The goal, Foy said, was not “to return fire” but “to protect and evacuate.” And one of the key tactics Fortis employs to do this is the “chase car,” which could be a mere decoy car – to confuse would-be bad guys – or a second chauffeur on-site for convenience, to run errands and the like. Foy said: “If your partner left something at the hotel or someone has to go get something, it’s literally going to ruin your day.”
It is also a sign of strength.
Foy said criminals are less likely to mess with a convoy because it is “not as easy to target”.
He continued, “The chase car is especially helpful in Mexico and countries in Central and South America.
The Fortis headquarters in South Carolina. One of the main tactics used by Fortis is the “pursuit car”, which could act as a decoy car to confuse would-be kidnappers
In his book, Foy gives insights into the world of the rich
“We had a director [client]who was trying to get to Mexico City Airport from rural Mexico, and he was due to arrive at six in the morning in a Mercedes S-Class.
“We told him, and this is a person who has a huge security detail in New York, where he’s based, we said, ‘You’re a target for drug lords if you try to get in at two or three in the morning move with an S-Class in rural Mexico. Could you drive in daylight or fly out later in the morning?” And he said, “No, no, that’s what I want to do.” So we said the only option is a pursuit car.
“Everything went well and he came out the way he wanted out.”
Fortis also uses tracking vehicles that mimic the movements of a superyacht from shore.
Foy said: “So if the Headmaster decides he or she wants to go shopping, or if there’s a medical need or whatever, there’s a quick way, either by tender or helicopter, to get on a vehicle. “
The Special Forces people in certain locations are really good. If you’re going to Honduras, you need these guys
Nathan Foy, Founder of Fortis
And what kind of people does Foy employ – are they all ex-special forces?
Foy explained: “We have a lot of veterans, but the majority are people who are really good at service and have an interest in hospitality. I’d rather have someone who is passionate about service – the raw material we can shape. The specialists often cannot see the forest for the trees.
“The guys from the special forces in certain places are really good. If you go to Honduras, you need these guys, but most of the time they’re so attuned to high-threat environments… if you put them in Oklahoma, for example, they get bored. It’s like putting a tiger in a cage.”
Fortis also offers a means of secure communication, explaining that customers who attended the 2018 World Cup in Russia were given “burner phones” because “there is no data security in Russia”.
Those devices, Foy revealed, came with an add-on called “Beartooth.” This turned the phones into a walkie-talkie, ensuring customers could communicate with the chauffeur and fellow passengers in case the signal was lost due to thousands of people uploading pictures at the stadium and so on.
Fancy a ride with Fortis? “That’s a lot,” revealed Foy, who starts at around $500 (£410) for a transfer in an SUV or S-Class.
That’s a bit more than Fortis used to charge when Foy founded it in 2000 as a prepaid cab service for college students on America’s east coast.
“We’ve refined it into a high-end service over 22 years,” added Foy. Now it’s a “travel security” company that’s “like a tailored Italian suit but lined with Kevlar.”