- Tech & Gadgets
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Published 05 April 2013 11:40, Updated 10 April 2013 13:47
Mobile offers a simple way to shake up the taxi industry. Hamish Petrie’s Ingogo says his company’s app can “disrupt the incumbents pretty drastically”. Photo: Rob Homer
Taxi booking app Ingogo has secured $1.5 million in funding from new investors, bringing the fledgling company’s total investment to more than $2.5 million.
Ingogo is one of a number of taxi booking companies aiming to disrupt taxi industry incumbents and the Cabcharge payment system, by facilitating direct bookings and payments between passengers and drivers, bypassing powerful taxi networks.
“The taxi industry is ripe for disruption,” says Ingogo managing director Hamish Petrie, who was the original founder of ticketing company Moshtix.
“It’s been monopolised for so long, and mobile technology offers a way to disrupt the incumbents pretty drastically.”
The investors behind Ingogo now include former Microsoft executive Daniel Petre and ex-eBay Australia boss Alison Deans, who are the founders of early stage fund Netus. Netus is now owned by Fairfax Media. Another new investor, Martin Dalgleish, is currently an advisor to Ellerston Capital Special Opportunities Platform and has been a director in a range of major corporations including Seek, Carsales and NineMSN. Others to invest include 12 members of Sydney Angels, and the Sydney Angels Sidecar fund.
They join first-round investors Brad Shofer, co-founder of MYOB, as well as Philip Argy, Stuart Fox and other Sydney Angels members.
Ingogo uses smartphone technology to enable passengers to directly contact drivers, rather than booking a call through networks like Legion, ABC, Premier and Taxis Combined.
It also provides equipment that allows drivers to process card payments, charging a surcharge of 7 to 8 per cent compared to the 10 per cent levied by Cabcharge.
A $250,000 grant from Commercialisation Australia enabled Ingogo to develop a corporate taxi payments system, Ingogo Corporate, again chasing the business of incumbent Cabcharge.
“We’re piloting it with a major accounting firm and a major legal firm,” Petrie says.
He argues his system is safer than the current taxi network’s, contrary to their contention that “rogue apps” like Ingogo are safety risks to consumers.
“Every single driver on our platform has to come to our office and given their driver’s license, their taxi authority, and we take them through a training program on what we expect from a driver and how to use our system,” Petrie says. “No other system, including the incumbents, has that much security and knowledge.
“If there’s a security problem we know exactly who transported the customer, and if someone leaves something in the cab, we have a way to contact the driver and get that lost property back. We’ve done that quite a few times now.
“We’ve actually proved our system is safer than using theirs. If you just go out on the street and hail a cab there is no reference of who transported you.”