Armed with $10 million in funding, German technology startup
incubator, Rocket Internet is set to launch Easy Taxi, a taxi booking
service in Nigeria and major Internet markets in Africa.
Originally launched in Latin America to much fanfare where it has
amassed 1.5 million downloads, Easy Taxi will be introduced to Africa
first in Nigeria where Rocket Internet has seen good growth with
technology companies like Jumia. By year end, the company will be
launched in other African countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Ivory
Coast, Ghana and South Africa amongst others. The funding round comes
from Africa Internet Holding, a joint venture between Rocket Internet
Speaking on their decision to bring the service to Africa, Sacha
Poignonnec, co-CEO of Africa Internet Holdings said:
"The good thing is that we already have operations across Africa. We
have offices and entities and all logistics set up, plus we understand
the huge potential of this growing market. That's an important
advantage that we have."
According to him:
Nigeria is full of taxi services. They include drivers people hire for
full-time work, those who can be hired by the day, and those for
short, a la carte trips.Waiting outside during rainy season to catch
cabs is not an option many people would go for if they had the choice.
The company is looking to start first with a basic call center service
and ramp up with iOS and Android Apps to target middle class
Nigerians who are quickly adopting smart phones. Easy Taxi is similar
to the United State's popular Uber taxi booking app. The company will
setup a network of drivers who can be hailed via customer's
smartphones. Once the driver is contacted, users will get an instant
photo of the driver as well as his contact number and will be alerted
once he or she arrives to pick them up. The company expects to
monetize by charging a 5% transaction fee per ride.
"Everyone will say that Nigeria is a challenging market to operate in,
but once you have cracked it, you will crack all of Africa. That is
what we experienced with Jumia and other ventures, which already
became market leaders," he continued.
What do you think about Rocket Internet's Easy Taxi service?