Endless Possibilities

In Dispatch Technology

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Driverless cars & the taxi industry

Could autonomous vehicles and the changes they bring represent an opportunity for the taxi industry?

One of the subjects closest to my heart in the evolution of the taxi industry is the what, where & how that autonomous/driverless cars will bring. There is enough momentum now that governments are starting to take it seriously, leading to the US Department of Transportation issuing a 116 page Federal Automated Vehicles Policy last month - the scope of which includes "driverless taxi companies". By all accounts it would seem to be when as opposed to if - so what impact could this have on the industry?

 For me the biggest strength that the taxi industry currently enjoys is the customer base (including corporate accounts) that the taxi companies have. They have a large base of regular customers (cash, card & account) and the question to me isn't so much what sort of impact are driverless cars going to have on the industry but more like how are the taxi companies going to hold on to these customers and change their businesses quickly enough when the time comes to ensure that other massive companies with their eye on the driverless car market don't steal them from them. 

It's all going to be about planning and timing. Get the former wrong and they'll be left with a load of drivers in old vehicles that nobody wants, get the latter wrong and you could either end up broke (too early) or broke (moved too late) with a load of autonomous cars on their hands having lost their customer base to the early movers. 

Are the changes autonomous vehicles introduce going to be an opportunity for the taxi industry or will they ring the death knell for it? I believe that all depends on how well they have positioned themselves. 

The way that I see it is that hundreds of thousands of independent taxi companies on their own don't have a chance. All of the major car manufacturers, Uber, Lyft, car rental companies, Google and many others are all positioning themselves for a play in this new market. 

It doesn't take a genius to work out that once the model is proven, they will focus their attentions on the most profitable markets first. That's likely to be the biggest cities. So the taxi companies in the biggest cities will have the least wriggle room in terms of timing, they will need to be as ready as the huge industries and companies mentioned above. Those outside the biggest cities will probably have a bit more time to see how things are panning out. 

But all things being equal I see one key factor at play here - sufficient availability of autonomous vehicles.  As a big player you will be able to contract manufacturers years in advance (much the same way as airlines do with Boeing and Airbus today) but how will all of the relatively small taxi companies figure in this and how is it all going to pan out?

What will happen if a company like Google stockpiles autonomous cars and floods cities with them in one go and targets all of the people using their search engine? Mass movement of a customer base is my guess. 

Working together I believe that with the above in mind taxi companies should be joining together now to form strong groups with massive potential buying power. They should be getting a seat at the tables where all of the key strategic discussions are being held on autonomous vehicles and they should be mapping out how a world where people don't own their own cars may look.

My own view is that a subscription model would seem to be the most obvious approach to arise from these changes. Instead of buying a car you would pay a monthly fee (& perhaps an introductory fee) to join a car club that would get you X hours of use in a car per month with a guarantee that you could get it with Y minutes of advance notice. The higher the monthly amount you pay then the quicker you are guaranteed a vehicle at short notice and the more frequently you can use the service.  Perhaps you could pay less to be part of a car pooling type service where you share cars with other people. 

If I was a taxi company owner pondering the long term view I'd be thinking about how I could get my current customer base in to my Car Club of the future. Perhaps starting slowly now with loyalty schemes that reward customers with a free journey for every X journeys done, perhaps I could even disrupt the taxi pricing model of today and introduce a flat monthly fee for a guaranteed number of fares each month. 

Also, as per a previous article I wrote, owners could consider introducing a peer to peer and/or rideshare car pooling model to their customers who want cheaper, shared transport. Thereby moving with the times and maintaining or even growing their customer base while evolving towards the autonomous car club model.

I believe that as a taxi company owner if you're not doing something or at least thinking about the future then you'll be left behind as it's all about timing and initiative.

If you are a taxi company owner and are interested, please feel free to contact me to discuss how iCabbi could help your company evolve in these challenging times or visit our stand at the TLPA show in Phoenix, Arizona from the 1st - 3rd November. bob@icabbi.com

Who will pay for your cab journeys in the future?

Bob Nixon is the Head of Global Sales, and a co-founder of iCabbi. With a forward thinking mindset, he delivers the second in a series of articles looking at the future of the taxi industry. 

Apps, payment solutions and loyalty schemes have all come on in leaps and bounds in recent times, the pace of innovation has been breath-taking, when combined with the Internet of Things and the power of Big Data, we have a veritable hot pot of possibilities to attract and reward customers.

For example I read a very interesting article recently about the very possible likelihood that refrigerators will be free of charge in the future. These fridges will be smart and connected; constantly monitoring levels of foods and drinks within; while building data on the customers usage patterns in terms of preferred foods and drinks at certain times of day, week, month and year supported by contextual data such as weather conditions, customer age etc. It's incredible, when one considers the value of consumer trends and data that businesses will have access to.

Grocery suppliers will know their customers better than they know themselves. Automatically replenishing products when supplies run low. In the name of convenience and increased choice, suppliers will partner with brands to offer consumers alternatives to their favourite products when running low through individually tailored and targeted promotional campaigns.

There are a number of potential models that may create this reality sooner than you might think, suppliers such as Amazon or Tesco could be first out of the blocks, capturing the early adaptor's, ensuring they purchase their groceries from one source. I'm sure there are many people who will be only too happy to exchange their data on their innermost habits in return a free refrigerator, or perhaps global brands such as Unilever may already be queuing up to gain access.

It's still too early to say how it might pan out, but in considering the issues involved, two clear and very important concepts are highlighted:

  1. The importance and power of knowing your customer (imagine knowing what they are going to want before they do).
  2. The potential for innovation in the taxi industry.

There is probably nothing new in the ideas I've considered but location based advertising and promotions will be key factors in taxi usage and fare payment in the future. Geo-location of pick up address coupled with destination, day of the week and time of day/night will become extremely powerful tools.

For example imagine if you hailed a cab in the main entertainment district of a city at 1am and the Taxi company knew from continuous compilation of passenger data that 80% of people hailing cabs at that time and from that location, would stop off for fast food if the detour is less than X minutes and the promotion benefit is greater than Y pounds to them. Promotions tailored and targeted at the individual, through a rear seat screen or a print off suggesting "A delicious Big Kahuna burger is just 7 minutes away, and we'll pay X% of your fare home, you know you can't resist!" will most likely pay great dividends for all involved.

Consider for one moment, if restaurants or other venue had access to data alerting them to the fact that you are being dropped off near their business within a specific time slot. Surely there is potential to create new revenue streams while also rewarding the potential customer with relevant offers. This will then grow exponentially as we use AI (artificial intelligence) to establish which offers work, for which kind of people in what situations. For example when I was married, pre-kids and had a big night out on a Saturday night I always went out for an early bird dinner on the following Monday evening before going home for an early night. The power of knowing the relevant data and usage patterns is immense and can be utilized by transportation companies and other service industries alike.

Also consider the consumer who is going to an entertainment district with the intention of watching a movie in the Cinema - what services will this person want? Knowing before he or she realises what they want is extremely valuable.

I believe that restaurants, bars, shopping centres, cinemas, airports etc. together with data analysis and technology will play a key part in establishing new models where third parties will pay for our cab rides in the future.

the taxi industry is dead, Long live the taxi industry

Bob Nixon is the Head of Global Sales, and a co-founder of iCabbi. With a forward thinking mindset, he delivers the first in a series of articles looking at the future of the taxi industry. 

The taxi world has experienced rapid change in recent years and this transformation is showing no signs of slowing down. Our own area of the industry, dispatch technology has seen little in the way of newcomers in the last 15 or so years and no big changes since the introduction of data dispatch around 20 years ago. 

The success of a new business is often inextricably linked to timing, if something is perfectly of its time, it may succeed and soar, whereas if too early or too late they stagnate amongst the many competitors trying to do the same thing.

For our business in its' current format, timing has played a significant role in helping us to achieve the massive growth we've enjoyed in recent years (not forgetting strategy and hard work of course). For us, timing saw several critical factors come into play at once including the arrival of the Cloud; introducing the world to a safe, robust and scalable technology, together with the appearance of Peer to Peer taxi apps.

In the US, there were a few ingredients in some key markets that created the perfect opportunity for market disruption. Some say that great technology and excellent service was the driving force for companies such as Uber and I'd agree that this may have been the case as their market share grew. However having spent a lot of time in many different States across the US over the last 18 months, I have a slightlydifferent view on what created the massive wave that Uber, Lyft and others have surfed.

The majority of people just want to get a taxi when they want one, on time, at an affordable price and with a reasonable expectation of the standard of service. These are the basic elements that drive customer satisfaction. So why couldn't they get this from the traditional taxi model in the US? Over-regulation. In my opinion archaic regulations created the setting for Uber to make an appearance.

Regulators restricted the number of taxi licenses, restricted the types of vehicles that drivers could use, restricted the look/appearance of vehicles, restricted taxi fares etc.

The regulators may have had the best intentions but in the end they didn't move with the times and strangled the industry. Consumers were fed up with poor service reinforced by rigid and restrictive regulations - late cars or in some cases not showing at all during busy times, rude and/or poor hygiene of drivers and the final nail in the coffin? Regulators imposed minimum price tariffs that meant taxi fleets were unable to reduce prices even if they wanted to.

Enter Uber & other similar apps, who quickly realized that unlike regulated taxi companies they could do whatever they wanted. They ensured drivers were polite clean; clean, underpinned by their driver rating system, they charged reasonable fares and drivers could use their own vehicles with no requirement for special licensing. In one fell swoop the huge vacuum that regulators in the US had created was filled. Uber et al grew like wildfire as hungry consumers lapped up this new customer friendly model, and what's more they had a superb consumer app which made everything really easy.

Now the taxi industry must also shoulder some of the blame as they were hardly kicking and screaming for change. All of a sudden their comfort blanket has been whipped away, leaving them like rabbits in the headlights wondering what to do. Slowly they pulled themselves together, dusted themselves down and started looking at ways to head this challenge off at the pass. The iCabbi platform offers a wonderful option in terms of technology (timing!) but what about the other factors?

In the US most taxicab fleet drivers are Independent Contractors, this means by law the taxicab company owner can't actually tell the driver what to do. As you can imagine this makes improving service and standards pretty difficult. Uber etc. pitch their pricing significantly lower than taxi regulators allow. Regulations and laws - while well intended - are continuing to strangle the industry, particularly in the US. 

So initially the taxi industry tried to fight Uber with the fear factor - suggesting tha they are less safe and then through legal campaigns. The problem with this strategy is quite simply that the public don't care. They just want the car to be on time, with decent standards at a reasonable price.

Now what we're beginning to see is that there are some clever people within the taxi industry who have realized that the only way to beat them is to join them. If they can't compete because their own regulator won't allow them to, then heck they'll get down and dirty and join'em.

There are fleets all over the US who are planning, or launching their own Peer to Peer/Rideshare fleets (there is one in Buffalo that has as many Rideshare drivers as it does taxicab drivers). They will have the ability to sign up as many drivers as they want with minimal regulatory requirements. Some may even do this while incorporating elements of the increased security requirements their drivers already comply with - like Uber, but with fully vetted, police checked drivers, resulting in a competitive advantage over Uber, Lyft etc.

What's more, they know all of the fleet owners in the surrounding areas. They are beginning to work together, providing large, regional networks that they can present to consumers as a local business (another USP perhaps?). 

I believe the taxi industry as we know it is dying, particularly in the US, but I don't believe it will be the end of the industry by any means. The many great minds in the industry will adapt their business model, pivot and meet the demands of a new consumer in ways that they want and now expect. It's all about timing, flexibility and thinking outside the box.

This is a really exciting time to be part of this industry - The taxi industry is dead, long live the taxi industry!

Meet our new Sales Executive, Peter.

Our North American team grows to meet demand. We are delighted to welcome Peter Salmon to the iCabbi Sales Team. Peter takes up the role of Sales Executive, based in Canada.

Responsible for delivering sales in the Canadian & US market, Peter is a sales professional with over 15 years' experience, bringing a results and relationship driven attitude to the business along with a healthy sense of humour.

Welcome on board Peter!

meet our new senior android developer, romina. 

Team iCabbi strengthened by international expertise. We are delighted to welcome Romina Liuzzi to the iCabbi Development Team. Romina, an avid FC Barcelona supporter, takes up the role of Senior Android Developer based at iCabbi HQ, Howth, Co. Dublin.

Tasked with developing Android Apps, Romina has previously worked on some very interesting projects including the most popular job search App InfoJobs, achieving over 2 million downloads.

Welcome on board Romina!

Team iCabbi

Head in the clouds or head in the sand?

Those that tell you that dedicated on-site servers, expensive service contracts, user licenses, server rooms, cables everywhere and expensive onsite IT expertise is the way to protect your business are wrong, they are probably selling a product with a high margin that will be negatively impacted if you move your data to the cloud. This mindset is restricting your growth.  

Data security in the cloud is very similar to the types of security you probably have on-site but without the need for expensive hardware and associated maintenance. It can be difficult to compare the security controls of a legacy on-site system with the controls of a cloud based system but several studies have found that existing/legacy environments are not as secure as they may seem and cloud environments are more secure than organisations think. 

On site servers require sizable up front investment, ongoing costs for maintenance, upgrading hardware, expanding storage over time, renewing software licences and of course the likely need for in-house IT staff. 

Storage in the cloud however requires no up front investment and usually negates the need to have an internal IT person as the stress of managing servers is gone. Customers maintain ownership of their content at all times...it's your data, you decide what happens to it. 

Cloud storage also means you can operate your business from anywhere, at any time. Taxi and private hire operators can now operate their entire business from a device as simple as a chrome book, laptop or tablet. The result is a flexible business model where staff can interact with customers and access files from anywhere.

iCabbi use Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers.  AWS were the first U.S. cloud provider to obtain direct Multi-Level Protection Scheme (MLPS) Level 3 approval and they have ISO 27017:2015 certification and currently provide services to over one million customers including government agencies, financial services, healthcare providers and businesses. Both iCabbi and AWS understand that customers care deeply about privacy and data security. That's why we implement responsible and sophisticated technical and physical controls designed to prevent unauthorised access to or disclosure of customer content. 

If you would like to learn more, some good info can be found here: https://goo.gl/wxrpdn

The industry has changed, your customer's needs have changed. Operating in the cloud gives you the opportunity not only to compete but to compete in ways many never thought possible. The question is what are you going to do about it?

Team iCabbi

Building Dynamic Capability at iCabbi

We are continuing to strengthen our human capital resources (Barney, 1991) here at iCabbi and that is an essential part of our growth strategy.  That said, we have long realised that having strong effective human capital resources it is not enough to deliver sustainable competitive advantage - to achieve this a business must possess and strengthen its dynamic capability.

Dynamic capability is; the ability to integrate, build, acquire and reconfigure internal and external competencies to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing environment (Teece, 2007) - and boy...our customers' business environment is rapidly changing. In short, a firm must have the ability to rapidly respond to fast moving business environment - speed is the key.

Over the last six years we have developed our external network, which now includes a significant number of industry experts and technology partners, this network is set to grow and strengthen continually.

During the same period we have developed our agile oriented internal processes which enable us to rapidly respond to the market challenges facing our customers. We achieve this by using any combination of our flexible internal and/or external resources bundles.

We have learned, as many industries have learned before, that it's not about individual features - it is about delivering a rapidly evolving flexible platform which enables customers to respond the unprecedented technology and business challenges faced by the Taxi industry now and into the future.

Meet our new head of development, Brian. 

The staff announcements just keep coming! We are delighted to welcome Brian Drysdale to the iCabbi Development Team. Brian takes up the role of Head of Development based at iCabbi HQ, Howth, Co. Dublin. 

Responsible for ensuring that our development roadmap becomes a reality, Brian is a hard working IT professional with over 12 years of experience, including 8 years of consulting. Before joining iCabbi Brian worked with Version 1, where he specialised in software development and solutions architecture. When not rolling up his sleeves and getting stuck into software code, Brian is passionate about platform architecture, business processes and unlocking the power of cloud technologies to deliver savings to both businesses and consumers. 

Welcome on board Brian, our sprint and release processes are already seeing the benefits of your input!

Team iCabbi

Meet Our new senior developer anthony

Another strong addition to the iCabbi Team. Anthony takes up the role of Senior PHP Developer based at our head office, Howth, Co. Dublin.

Responsible for building innovative software solutions that enable taxi and private hire companies to grow and serve their customers, Anthony brings a wealth of knowledge to our team with over 18 years of experience developing software for a wide range of projects including online payment systems, delivery/dispatch systems and web applications.

We are really looking forward to working with Anthony and maybe even hearing some of the music he composes in his spare time!

Team iCabbi

We are delighted to welcome Frank Sims to the iCabbi Team.

Frank will take up the role of Customer Success Manager based in the UK. Responsible for ensuring that our customers get the maximum benefit from the iCabbi platform, Frank brings a wealth of knowledge to our team with over 28 years of experience in the Taxi & Private Hire industry, including 17 years as General Manager at Blue Line Taxis Newcastle.

We are really looking forward to working with Frank and helping him to make your business a success! 

Team iCabbi

iCabbi Pays fare Price for Phone Booking Software

Dispatch technology company iCabbi has acquired software firm DiSC in a €1.2 million deal. iCabbi founder and chief executive Gavan Walsh described the acquisition of DiSC's phone booking technology as a ''big USP'' for the Howth Company.

DiSC, formerly Solution Telecom, has been developing telephony solutions for the taxi industry since 2010. ''We supply solutions to taxi companies'' said Walsh. ''The dispatch system and related products like consumer apps are all key but every taxi company needs a phone system which is heavily integrated. Now we have a complete end-to-end offering.''

DiSC's seven employees will join iCabbi, bringing the company's total staff count to 46. Walsh said the company would create 20 jobs. It has signed up 17 US cab firms, 100 in Britain and 10 in Ireland. Walsh said a cloud-based booking system allows competition with Hailo and Uber. ''In the industry right now, you've got Uber and Hailo, and they're taking the market share from the taxi companies,'' he said. ''Taxi companies still have the lion's share of the market globally but it's being eroded away fast and they've fallen behind on technology. That's what we do. We give them the technology they need to compete against Uber.''

The iCabbi system incorporates a customer booking app and website booking engine, ''track my taxi'' feature, automated phone system and SMS text back-up. Walsh has raised €1 million since establishing iCabbi in 2010. Investors have included Dublin Business Innovation Centre which co-manages the AIB Seed Capital Fund, angel syndicate Bloom Equity and Enterprise Ireland. Last year's turnover was €2.6 million.


Elaine O'Regan


The Sunday Business Post


iCabbi: a partner to global taxi industry - 01/02/2016

While every business industry has experienced change in recent years, much of it as a result of advances in technology, one in particular has been affected more than most - the taxi industry. It is not very long ago when most of us will remember that getting a taxi involved standing on the street corner, often in the rain, in the hope of hailing a passing cab. Today, however,with the emergence of names such as Hailo and Uber, we, as users, can now access a taxi from anywhere using an app on our mobile phones. Drivers who are registered show up on our app along with their registration number, driver's name and ID and the length of time it will take to arrive at our precise location. While revolutionary for users of taxis and for individual taxi owners, such advances in technology have forced traditional large taxi companies into a challenging position - how do they now compete?

"We specialise in developing fleet management and booking software primarily for the taxi and private hire industry," says Gavan.

To explain where the company is positioned, he goes on to detail how there are basically two sides to the taxi industry. On one side, there are the likes of Hailo and Uber, who connect consumers directly with individual taxi drivers. On the other side are the traditional taxi companies whose office-based staff process most of their business over the phone and then dispatch these requests over a radio system to the drivers who work for them. It is in this traditional taxi company market that iCabbi now operates.

"It was about 15 years ago when the taxi industry experienced its first real taste of technology with the introduction of new data display systems, which helped taxi firms automate certain elements of the process of booking and dispatching a taxi," explains Gavan.

"However,the problem was that these systems were heavily dependent on expensive hardware that became obsolete almost as soon as it was installed. Today, however, our iCabbi system offers taxi firms access to the most advanced cloud-based dispatch system in the world and by using our SAAS (Software As A Service) model,companies no longer require expensive hardware or even software installations and can access everything they need via a simple browser. This really is the future," he says.

iCabbi currently has around 70pc of the Irish market of taxi companies but the vast majority of its revenue, however, now comes from export sales, particularly from larger taxi firms in the UK and USA, where its typical customers are firms with between 200 and 2,000 taxis.

As we stroll around the company's office, Gavan asks one of his team to call up onscreen a display of its customers in one of the UK's largest cities - Leeds. Here, hundreds of red, green and yellow icons, each representing a taxi, can be seen making their way around the city, the different colours tracking who is free, occupied or en route to pick up customers - and all in real time.

"Our customer base is growing rapidly at present," explains an upbeat Gavan.

"Our international development team are in negotiations with several potential new customers across Europe as well as in Canada and Australia," he adds.

Gavan Walsh is no stranger to the transport business, having started his career as a driving instructor in his family's business - The Irish School of Motoring. He is originally from Sutton, in Dublin, and his interest in business started much earlier, in his teens, when he got involved in entrepreneurial ventures that ranged from selling Christmas trees to running social events in night clubs around the city. After school, he joined the family's business and over time became head of the company's technical development. It was in 2009, while on holidays in Portugal with his girlfriend, that he first came up with the idea for iCabbi.

"This was before the days of Hailo," explains Gavan. "We left our hotel to go for a long walk but soon found ourselves lost in a remote area and unable to find our way back. It got me thinking that there had to be a way to use technology and your smart phone to identify where the nearest taxis were and to be able to book one of them directly without having to speak to anyone," he adds.

Once home from holidays and still excited about the concept, he immediately began assembling a team that could turn the idea into a reality. Shortly afterwards,along with his co-founders, he set up iCabbi.

Niall O'Callaghan, who comes from Howth, is a software development expert and the technical innovator behind iCabbi. After school, he studied engineering in Trinity College Dublin, but soon discovered he didn't enjoy it. Excited instead about computers and software, he bought a book on HTML and began to teach himself computer programming. Not long afterwards, he landed himself a job with one of the main banks and over the next five years progressed to become one of their most senior developers. The next period of his life was even more adventurous and saw him use his analytic and statistical skills to become a successful professional poker player before he was eventually drawn back to hislove of software development.

The company's third founder, Bob Nixon, brought a different skill set to the mix.With a degree in business and a post graduate diploma in corporate treasury, he had worked as business development director with the Georgina Campbell Guides business, winning numerous web technology awards for his work there.

The company initially adopted a Hailo/Uber type model, whereby it focused on connecting customers directly with drivers but soon realised that the real gap in the market was not in the individual taxi driver market but in the traditional large taxi firm space. Such firms were seeing many of their drivers leaving to work on their own using the Hailo type apps instead of relying on their company's more traditional central dispatch systems.

"That's when we decided to move from being a provider of Business to Consumer (B2C)software to become a Business to Business (B2B) solutions provider by developing a cloud-based system that would help these larger taxi firms hold onto their drivers and help them compete against these individual app products," explains Gavan.

"However,convincing large taxi companies to switch to adapt new technology wasn't at all easy at first," Gavan adds.

Around that time, though, a well-known and respected Dublin taxi firm, VIP Taxis,suffered a water leak into its server room, which resulted in the business having to close for over six hours with a resultant loss of revenues to the company and its drivers. Recognising the risks of over reliance on hardware systems, VIP became iCabbi's first large customer to adopt its new cloud system. Soon news travelled and business began to flood in. The new entrepreneurs were now on their way.

In 2014,the firm entered the UK market, initially signing up Amber Cars in Leeds with over 900 taxis. Today, it supplies over half of all taxi companies in the UK who have over 500 taxis. It has over 22,000 taxis using its system every day between Ireland, the UK and the US, who between them take over one million bookings per week.

Funding for the venture came initially from the founders themselves and their families and friends, while in 2012 they received further investment of €650,000 from a combination of Dublin BIC, Bloom Equity and Enterprise Ireland - which helped them break into the UK market. Today, while now profitable, the company is again on a further funding round, this time for €3m, which it will use to expand its presence in the US market.

"We are also growing staff numbers," says Gavan. "Having built up a great team, whose creativity and drive have been instrumental in our success to date,we are now adding a further 20 jobs to be filled in 2016," he adds.

Gavan and his colleagues hope to see iCabbi become firmly established in North America and Canada over the next 12 months and with several foreign-language versions in the pipeline, their growth story seems set to continue. In turnover terms,the company has definite plans to triple its revenues to almost €8m during the same period.

What's Gavan's ultimate goal for iCabbi? I ask.

"That's straight forward," he says. "To create a global dispatch solution that emulates the Salesforce model and to take the company successfully to an IPO," he adds confidently.

Credit: Sunday Indo Business


iCabbi driving forward in Uk and USA expansion - 21/01/2016 

Dublin taxi dispatch technology company iCabbi is targeting revenues of €15m as part of its move into the US and UK markets. The company has acquired UK based DiSC, who provide cloud based communication technology to companies across the world for €1.2m to fuel its UK expansion.

iCabbi, which announced 20 new jobs in Howth in December 2015, is planning to take on Hailo and Uber by providing the same kind of technology to private taxi companies. The new jobs it announced in December are spread across research and development, customer service, sales and marketing and technical support.

iCabbi software is already used by 70pc of large Irish taxi companies with fleets of 50 or more cars. In the US, it has gone live with 17 companies, with 2,000 cars running the technology and plans to expand rapidly there. It has 30 more companies covering 10,000 cars scheduled to go live this year. The company expects its US revenues to hit €3.6m by the end of 2016.

iCabbi has also established a strong presence in the UK, with more than 50pc of large taxi companies, defined as those with 500-plus cars, using its software. It purchased Disc (formerly Solution Telecom), which has been developing telephony solutions the for taxi industry since 2010, in a deal worth €1.2m, in order to expand further into the UK market.

iCabbi's fully cloud-based end-to-end solution connects drivers with passengers looking for a taxi, in a similar way to Hailo and Uber, allowing taxi companies to compete with the online taxi giants. The system includes a customer booking app, website booking engine, a 'track my taxi' feature, automated phone system and SMS text backup.

The company has achieved growth levels of 300pc in the past year, fuelled by earlier seed funding rounds totalling €1m led by Dublin BIC, co-fund manager of the AIB Seed Capital Fund. "We are expanding our presence and growing our team due to the incredible demand for our systems," said iCabbi founder and CEO Gavan Walsh.

"With the support of Dublin BIC, AIB Seed Capital Fund, Enterprise Ireland and the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), we have set ambitious but pragmatic targets to become the largest technology provider to taxi companies in Ireland, the UK and the US."



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