Taxi app consolidation reaches Latin America
EasyTaxi announces that it has “merged” with Tappsi to deal with competition from Uber and other taxi apps.
Rocket Internet-backed EasyTaxi has “merged” with Colombia’s Tappsi to create the biggest transportation app business in Latin America.
Financial details are not clear – in response to emailed questions EasyTaxi said that merger will see Tappsi joining its Emerging Markets Taxi Holding unit, with no other information forthcoming.
Operationally, the combined business currently handles 8 million rides a month across the region and their apps have been downloaded 25 million times. It has 500,000 drivers on its books, 100,000 of which are in Colombia where it has a 90% market share.
Both brands will continue to operate separately, with the usual line about “cooperating to continue reshaping the sector and improve experience for their passenger and drivers…”
The deal is also described as the biggest startup merger in the region – both launched late 2012. EasyTaxi has so far picked up $77 million in funding, its latest raise being a $40 million Series D in 2014.
The combined business will “continue to raise funding and invest it in LatAm” with its eyes very firmly on the growth potential in the region, where currently only 15% of taxi rides are booked via an app.
The move to create a dominant LatAm taxi app business needs to be seen in the context of Rides Everywhere, a global rideshare alliance founded by US-based Lyft and China’s biggest transportation app Didi Kuaidi this September.
Last month, India’s Ola and south-east Asia’s Grabtaxi joined the alliance, which is widely seen as a competitive response to Uber.
When asked whether the merger with Tappsi was a hedge against Rides Everywhere or a come-and-get-me, Easy Taxi’s chief marketing officer Paul Malicki said:
“Whereas we carefully observe the emerge of various alliances in the sector, the decision to merge with Tappsi was dictated by the local market needs more than by the global competitive landscape.
“However, we understand that market consolidation is an absolute necessity in the face of competition we are facing from Uber, which although still small in absolute volume, can become a threat to the industry in the long term.”
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