Sometimes if you stand on the wrong corner of a busy street in Cairo, taxis will drive right on by, guilt-free, while in less populated cities throughout the Middle East and Africa, they are simply hard to find. Experimental taxi apps are in the works to ease the problem, but Brazil’s Easy Taxi heading our way is already well-established.
Samwer brothers’ Rocket Internet raised $10 million to export Easy Taxi to Africa, other parts of Asia, and the Middle East just days after receiving a $500 million cash injection to expand their various startups in the developing world.
The app, which is free, makes finding a taxi cab the easiest thing in the world. User friendly graphics make the system extremely accessible and therefore easy to translate in other countries.
Just two years after it first broke ground in Brazil, the app has been downloaded one and a half million times and 45,000 taxi cabs have joined the service, according to Tech Crunch.
To begin with, Easy Taxi will expand in Nigeria, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies with a population of nearly 180 million people, a challenging testing ground to say the least.
“We want to bring this success to other attractive markets and we see high potential in many Asian and African countries,” said Dennis Wang, head of international expansion of Easy Taxi, in a statement.
After that it will expand into other African and Middle Eastern countries.
Speaking to Tech Crunch, Sacha Poignonnec, co-CEO of AIH said Easy Taxi will go to eight more countries by the end of 2013, including Morocco, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia and Angola.
How does the company make its money when both the app and the website service are both completely free for customers?
Drivers will pay a fee of up to five percent of each ride. The amount varies depending on how many subscriptions the taxi driver takes out and how many trips they take in a day.
Easy Taxi will face some competition when it gets to Egypt, where a small population of really smart urbanites are devising homegrown solutions to local problems – including traffic that brings the entire city to a grinding halt almost all of the time, but mostly it should fit in with existing services.
Nile Taxi, for example, allows people to circumvent traffic altogether by crossing to the other side of the Nile River by boat! A relatively inexpensive service, there’s no reason it shouldn’t sign up with Easy Taxi when it arrives in that country.
:: Tech Crunch