Cab booking app mytaxi has launched its own dispatch platform in a scathing announcement which hit out at the “monopolistic taxi companies and taxi associations”. The company has been under pressure from the German Taxi and Rental Car Association (Deutscher Taxi- und Mietwagenverband, BZP) ever since it started gaining traction – partly because of its previously-stated advantage of offering a direct connection provided between taxi driver and passenger, removing the need for a central dispatch service.
According to mytaxi, this pressure included a letter of complaint from the BZP to the CEO of the Daimler group after it took part in a €10 million funding round for the Hamburg-based startup through its Car2Go brand last year, alongside Deutsche Telekom’s T-Venture, Xing co-founder Lars Hinrichs and the KfW bank.
In response, co-founders Niclaus Mewes and Sven Külper have turned to smaller cab operators in a bid to team up and take on the larger organisations. In the strongly-worded release, the company announced mytaxi Dispatch, a cloud-based software enabling taxi offices to manage trips more efficiently and without having to install their own server. The service is being trialled on beta initially in Germany before being rolled out in Austria, Switzerland, the USA, Spain and Poland.
Mytaxi claims the new platform is “putting the pressure on the largest booking processors” and was launched after “cartel-type means such as threats and warnings were made to forbid drivers from becoming involved with mytaxi.” The pricing model for mytaxi Dispatch has not yet been revealed.
The change of tack came after the reaction to last year’s funding round, when, according to Mewes: “A handful of the biggest taxi companies enjoying a monopoly position tried to fight mytaxi with all available means.”
Thus the move to work with others in the taxi industry – smaller operators can benefit from access to the mytaxi network of more than 30,000 cabs. Existing features such as in-car cashless payments are also included, while the dispatch function works around a process of automatic car allocation.
It’s no surprise to see mytaxi trying to take the bull by the horns when it comes to dealing with the BZP which, like any similar major industry organisation in Germany, has a fair amount of clout – but which has also seemingly failed to react quickly enough to the changing conditions prevalent in the market it represents, specifically the rise of smartphone apps. Founded in 2009, mytaxi is one of the biggest and best-known of the myriad of these taxi apps, but by poking the wasps nest, it will hope to raise its profile even further.
That is a process that is being aided by the branding overhaul featuring a new logo, and Külper, the company’s CMO, said: “With mytaxi we have put a product on the market which fulfills the needs of the entire taxi market. This begins with simplifying the booking process, followed by the direct payment process in the taxi and is then completed by the new dispatch solution.”
Mytaxi employs 120 people and its app, available in over 30 cities, has been downloaded five million times.
Silicon Allee has approached BZP for a comment and is still waiting on a response.