During TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin a few days ago, the CEO’s of ride-hailing and ridesharing companies Taxify and Via were interviewed about their look on the future of mobility services. Taxify is valued at $1 billion and has raised large investments from Didi Chuxing, a leading ride-hailing company in China, whilst Via has raised some $390 million from several companies including Daimler. But despite impressing success, TechCrunch wanted to hear their take on the rivalry with Uber – facing an IPO next year that could value the company as high as $120 billion.
The CEO of Taxify, Markus Villig, points out the benefits of having local platforms for ride-hailing in the future rather than having one generic platform to cover the whole world. Uber has proven to not be as suited for localization, why companies like Taxify beat them in country after country. In many European cities, the regulations for these services are strict and thus hard to adapt to, something that both Taxify and Via sees as an advantage when competing with Uber. Taxify works closer to their drivers by offering them private benefits of more earnings and things like fuel discounts, whilst Via focuses a lot on shared rides to increase occupancy of each vehicle, also increasing driver earnings. Moreover, according to the CEO of Via, Daniel Ramot, they work with Daimler to mainly offer more comfortable and capable vehicles for sharing, giving riders a better experience.
Villig ends by saying that he believes there will be several ride-hailing and ridesharing platforms in the future which have adopted site-specific regulations and circumstances. He believes that “the future of on-demand transportation is truly local”, rather than in the hands of global platforms like Uber.
Locally adapted, smaller services can often offer a better experience to both drivers and customers than global companies like Uber, since they are more adapted to site-specific regulations and circumstances. Though, it would be interesting to see if, instead of competing with Uber, small companies could find a way to communicate and integrate their platforms in a way that enable coexistence and where all actors can benefit from starting mobility services. Uber could streamline their implementation process by learning from local actors in each city whereas small start-ups could be boosted by a company with lots of experience within the field, and at the same time focus at building locally adapted services rather than struggling to keep up with this multi-billion dollar mobility giant.
Written by Hampus Alfredsson, RISE Viktoria.
1. 2018-12-05. Europe’s ride-hailing companies aren’t scared of Uber.