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 and Millicom.
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.