How does Easy Taxi work?
I did a quite comprehensive research on Easy Taxi technical background. It turns out that despite a massive media buzz that accompanied the startup on its way to become the world’s biggest app, not a single article has been devoted to an in-depth product analysis. Only in November there were 250+ press releases related to Easy Taxi, and none of those successfully outlined the technical frameworks used by the Rocket Internet’s child.
I managed to spoke in person to Easy Taxi representatives during the recent Mobile Festival conference in Manila, labeled as the largest mobile marketing conference that ever took place in the Philippines. Easy Taxi co-founders were also among the speakers for the event, revealing some new facts about the company, its product, and infrastructure. Let’s take a closer look at how does Easy Taxi work. Easy Taxi in numbers
- Present in 20 countries and 4 continents with further plans for expansion
- 50+ cities
- 5mln ride requests
- More than 80’000 drivers in affiliate network
Product functions The value proposition is straightforward — an app allows to request for a taxi and track it in real time. The drivers come equipped with smartphones, which in some countries are provided by the company, with a clear microfinancing plan. To use the product both the driver and the passenger need to have an Internet connection. Whereas on the passenger side this doesn’t constitute a problem, on the driver side special arrangements are often needed. Here is where partnerships play a crucial role. In the Philippines, for example, Easy Taxi partnered with Smart Mobile, which empowers the drivers with the 3G network.
Once the users fills in all the credentials, i.e. the Address, Landmark, Number, Destination, and Tip, requesting a cab is just one-click away. Upon first booking request, the user also needs to create an account filling in basic credentials — Name, Mobile number and Email Address. Clicking the button triggers the radar, which searches for nearby cabs. The radius of the radar varies per city and can be adjusted when needed. In the meantime the driver will receive a notification on its smartphone showing the ride details. The driver then has an option to Accept or Reject the ride, as well as leave the app in an ‘idle’ mode. Before accepting, he can also check the Details of the ride, as well as review the position on the map.
Once the driver accepts the ride, the user receives a notification with driver details, including his name, surname, mobile number, car type, number plates, as well as his photo. The driver can be then tracked in a real-time as he approaches the passenger. Upon arrival the driver can inform the user by sending the notification. The actual rides begins when both parties click “Boarded”.
Managing global product is not easy. As Mario Berta, the Regional CEO of Easy Taxi highlights, there are 5 features each successful global product needs to have. He refers to them as o “DICEEs”, an abbreviation which can be developed as:
- Deep: lots of features, designed for the whole world
- Intelligent: has ability to solve real life problems
- Complete: gets the whole picture (CS, IT, product)
- Empowering: enables to do more — to be creative and powerful
- Elegant: cares about user interface
As Berta highlighted, reinventing the wheel is usually the wrong approach. “Do not reinvent the wheel, MAKE IT BETTER !” — he boldly highlighted, by analyzing antilogs and analogs of successful global companies, such as Apple or Wal-Mart.
Technical frameworks Paul Malicki, the Vice-President for Business Development then introduced what is Easy Taxi really built on. The entire infrastructure is based on three intertwined components, being the app (user interface), back-office (database), and the website, with integrated Driver Area. The WordPress website is the main communication tool of the company — it comes localized, with 20 different languages and designs, adapted to different countries.
Performance dashboard allows the company to analyze and ‘cross-compare’ all crucial datapoints — ride requests, number of affiliated drivers, and fulfillment rates, all with a comparison in time. On the top of that each country has access to on-demand reports, which share the information on market performance. Mongo DB is used as a core database. Malicki recalled that the reasons for choosing Mongo were fast response and ability to store a lot of data. Apart from Mongo, big query servers are used for data extraction and reporting.
Easy Taxi is equipped with various tools to monitor servers, which are under ‘surveillance’ 24/7. Rocket Internet main IT team plays a big role in supporting Easy Taxi in server monitoring. Keynote Device Anywhere is used for testing of the app.
The maps are based on Enterprise Mapping Services by Google, while the payment providers vary per country. In Brazil the company uses Boleto Bancário, while in the Philippines the service is not yet available. The discussion ended with an overview of company’s marketing efforts, including user acquisition, which is centralized and supported by app tracking platforms.
As company representatives highlighted, having a good relationship with the users is the key for creating loyal customers. That’s why offline marketing still constitutes a large part of overall marketing efforts of Easy Taxi. Naturally, all results are meticulously measured, what suggest that offline is still a way to go. To sum up, Easy Taxi is an interesting product and probably the only app that managed to successfully localize taxi booking through the same platform.
Observing how its rolling out in South-East Asia can be an interesting experience. It’s official facebook page constitutes a great source of recent updates — facebook.com/easytaxiph