Those of us who live in Finland will be familiar with the more than exaggerated prices associated with taxis, but on the southern side of the Gulf of Finland thrives another kind of taxi culture, one that is so casual that it has a strong demand for taxi applications.
Let me introduce you with Estonian Taxify (former mTakso), an application that connects everyone from short notice travelers to unsuccessful designated drivers with their local taxi service.
Week-ends in Finland is the time of the week when alcohol infused wrestling takes place anywhere there’s a taxi pole. Taxify’s app could potentially make these pissing contests a thing of the past, as instead of arguing who’s first to grab the cab, nightlifers could just wander around with the app open and hop in the first taxi that curves around the corner.
When we covered the company for the first time, they have released some impressive statistics already. 5600 users in three weeks, 100 new drivers.
It has been five months and the new numbers speak for themselves.
In October the app had more than 30 000 active Android and iPhone users and it is now among the top three most popular mobile apps in Estonia, a position they will aim for in their international locations.
At the time of the last article, they had below a thousand monthly orders and logins, today the number is nearing 8 000. The impressive thing is that both logins and order numbers go hand in hand.
Still, one of the main concerns that we had five months ago was that even if they are growing fast, the chances of seeing a Taxify cab were low, since they had a very small percentage of the market.
However Taxify reports that percentage of of users successfully finding a taxi jumped from around 35% to over 85%.
After all, the app is very simple to use and using it saves quite a bit of manual labour. The application tracks your GPS location and shows you a list of all the available taxis in that area. Once you make your pick you get connected with the driver straight from the app, without the need of separate phone calls. After the confirmation with the taxi is made (still via the app), you can see the location of the taxi bleeping in a map, so you know exactly when to expect its arrival. Just in case you’re the forgetful kind of person, the app notifies you separately once the taxi’s there.
Now for the catch that will really bring in some quality service competition among the drivers; At the end of trip you can give the driver feedback, feedback which anyone can see when choosing their driver.
Especially in Eastern Europe an app like Taxify has been a blessing for many, as the taxi companies’ very old-fashioned radio connection network which functions under a job delegating central office requires many technically unnecessary procedures. First of all, the app has a few fundamental advantages; it works in real time, does the middle man job of connecting the customer with the cab without separate phone calls and has an open source feedback system.
Secondly, it’s interesting and fun to use.
After a promising start in Estonia, Taxify in now spreading across Eastern Europe, with the first stop being the Latvian capital Riga. The app plans to launch with five taxi companies in Riga along plans to expand into another four or five cities in Latvia, so regular as well as occasional taxi users should check out the app, which is also available in Latvian.
Unlike their competitors Hailo and Uber, who specialize either in Taxi companies or independent drivers, Taxify connects both of these services into a massive taxi network that guarantees a ride when you most need it. The need for actual taxi company collaboration is crucial, as they hold the majority of taxi traffic shares in cities.
For every driver included in the service, the companies or drivers pay a monthly subscription fee to Taxify who in return keeps them on the register. For every customer dealt Taxify also receives a marginal fee.
The company has so far been completely bootstrapped, but along with expansion plans to the U.S. comes hunger for funds. Taxify is soon initializing a seed-funding round of €100 000 which should help them get their U.S. plans in a good start.
Here are some of the stats that we mentioned above: