Explosion in Adoption of Mobility Tech for TaxisFri, 09/01/2017 - 12:49
Technology often generates more social disruption than not and technological advances are often received with a mixture of fear and rejection. Trying to avoid this combination, fatal for innovative enterprises, taxi app business Easy proposed a solution using the existing social and economic infrastructure to generate a new mobility solution, says the company’s Global Chief Operating Officer Jaime Aparicio.
“Easy is the traditional startup story: a company that without many resources started developing technology to validate it with users,” Aparicio says. Its first milliondollar investment came in October 2012, when the startup received US$4.9 million from Rocket internet, known for investing in internet companies. This boost allowed Easy to expand operations into Mexico, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. “The fact that presenting the platform in new markets does not imply great costs helped Easy expand its footprint,” says Aparicio. When the company started operating it only focused on taxi services. But evolution of the market and competitors has made Easy’s services evolve as well. Transitioning to a new corporate identity, Easy Taxi became only Easy to position its new service, Easy Go, which offers private cars for transportation just like Uber and Cabify. “In Mexico, we have two services, Easy Taxi and Easy Go, both operating on the Easy platform. As Easy Go is a novelty, it has been Easy’s most popular product this year,” says Aparicio.
Though taxis in Mexico tend not to have such a positive reputation, Easy is determined to convince its users that their taxis offer quality services. “Our platform brings together multiple mobility solutions and presents them to users so they can move through cities in the safest, most transparent and agile manner, using existing infrastructure,” says Aparicio. This makes up Easy’s product offering, Easy Taxi and Easy Go, two services that aim to provide a mobility alternative, offering consumers the opportunity to choose between a traditional taxi service or a private-car-driver model.
Data from SEMOVI tags Mexico City as home to approximately 140,000 taxis, being driven every day. Therefore, Easy’s possible pool of 140,000 vehicles surpasses Uber vehicles by almost 60,000 units, on top of many privately-owned cars that Easy can also take advantage of for its newest service. The explosion in the use of cellphones in Latin America helped Easy become a truly relevant player. According to data from the Society’s Innovation Index (QuISI) 2015, in Mexico 57 percent of the population uses a smartphone. This percentage exceeds Latin America’s 51 percent average. It is no wonder Mexico has been targeted by several app-based mobility companies.
“There are certain characteristics that make a market attractive enough and that every mobility company looks for. The number of transactions, or number of trips that take place in one day, is among the most important,” says Aparicio. The explosion in the adoption of mobility technologies led by Uber, combined with the high number of “transactions” made in taxis facilitated Easy’s entrance to the Mexican market.
“Drivers that have been with us since the platform started understand the market’s evolution and have seen their businesses grow,” says Aparicio. Maintaining clear and open communication channels with drivers and users also influenced sustainable growth. “We offer our drivers a cost structure that allows them to operate and grow their own business,” adds Aparicio. “We want to translate benefits to drivers so they continue growing and constructing their patrimony.” Easy does not face Uber and Cabify’s traditional struggle with taxi unions, and unlike its competitors, Aparicio does not appear to be as concerned with demanding stricter regulations. “Rather than more governmental regulation, what companies need is legal certainty and the ability to improve the conditions under which they operate.”
Companies like Easy not only have an impact on the mobility business but also on other industries’ marketing strategies. Easy has teamed up with companies Windows, Xbox, Librerías Porrúa and Fresca to find innovative and efficient communication channels with passengers. “Rides usually last between 15 and 25 minutes. With the appropriate marketing message, we can generate a high impact experience and interesting brand association,” says Aparicio.