A 23-Year-Old College Dropout is Challenging Uber with Cheaper Rides
Move over, Uber.
There’s a new guy in town: Taxify, started by a 23-year-old college dropout.
Estonian founder Markus Villig launched Taxify first in its native eastern Europe four years ago and then expanded into Africa. It currently has a presence in 19 countries, and is the largest ride-sharing company in eight of the 19 countries in which it operates. To date, it has 2.5 million customers across the 19 markets. This week, it is breaking into the western European market, launching first in London, with its sights set on Paris next.
Taxify’s user experience is nearly identical to Uber. The user downloads the app, registers their number, and orders the car to their location. But there are two key differences. Users can pay with a pre-registered bank card or with cash. And perhaps more importantly, according to Business Insider, the same journey on Taxify can be nearly three times cheaper than with Uber.
And while the app is still relatively unknown, its founder claims two advantages. Taxify has reportedly promised better treatment of its drivers, particularly by taking lower commission fees—10-15% as compared to Uber’s 20-25%. The app also has limited outside investment, meaning it has less pressure to turn a profit in order to repay investors. To date, Taxify’s primary source of outside investment has come from Chinese ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing. Because the drivers are self employed, they are also technically able to work for both Taxify and Uber at the same time.
Competing with the 40,000 registered Uber drivers and 22,500 black cabs operating in London will be difficult for the paltry 10,000 drivers Taxify has in comparison. Perhaps the lower prices will be enough to give the company comparative advantage. Or perhaps it will join other failed Uber competitors like Hailo and Karhoo. Only time will tell.
For users in London, the app launches at 10 a.m. local time today, Sept. 5, and is offering a 50% discount for the rest of the month.