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Who Will Win Latin America’s Taxi App War?

Another day, another taxi app. Or at least that’s how it seems. Cab hailing applications are all the rage right now in Latin America’s startup scene, and while they all claim to have a differentiating factor, frankly, it’s pretty hard to tell them apart (except this guy).

We’ve created a list of some of the top contenders in the region’s taxi app game. Who do you think will come out on top?

Easy Taxi

easytaxi1Born out of a 2011 Startup Weekend in Rio de Janeiro, Easy Taxi has exploded to over 60 world cities to date, including 15 markets in Latin America. Rocket Internet has injected millions of dollars into helping the app take off, giving it a significant advantage in terms of size and resources. Tallis Gomes, Founder of Easy Taxi, explained to us in a recent interview, “If you leave your phone in a taxi, we’re going to get it back to you. Other applications can’t do this, because they don’t have the sufficient people to do this department.”

While Easy Taxi certainly has its fair share of advantages, it’s also worth noting that such a widespread presence means its resources are spread pretty thin. In other words, the door is definitely open for other proposals.

Taxibeat

Which brings us to Taxibeat. Out of Greece, the app has made quite a splash in Mexico and Brazil.

The startup made its first international landing in Rio de Janeiro in mid-2012, a year later claiming to be the city’s number one taxi app in terms of number of rides and revenues. And in November, it picked up R$10 million (US$4.3 million) to expand its Brazilian operations and remove the R$2 per-ride fee charged to drivers. With a decent foothold in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Taxibeat says it has 250 downloads and 15,000 registered drivers in the country.

This year, Taxibeat set out to replicate its Brazilian success in Mexico. Boosted by a two-million-dollar investment, Taxibeat made its official Mexican launch in July with a fleet of over 400 drivers.  Thus far, it looks as though things are going well: Taxibeat Mexico took home the top prize in the e-Business category at this year’s CNNExpansión Awards.

SaferTaxi

The product of three Harvard Business School minds, SaferTaxi’s certainly got some big brains behind its operations. Not to mention its time at the Wharton Venture Initiation Program and second-place finish at the 2011 MIT Business Plan Competition.

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SaferTaxi formed part of the very first Start-Up Chile generation and since then has gone on to become one of the initiative’s most successful startups. At the start of the year, it announced a US$4.2 million investment round with contributions from Otto Capital, Kaszek Ventures and Draper Associates. The startup has a presence in Argentina, Chile and, most recently, Brazil.

Tappsi

One of Colombia’s leading mobile taxi bets, Tappsi claims to be the country’s most-downloaded cab application. It is available in Bogotá, Barranquilla, Medellín and Cartagena for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.

A HubBOG alum, Tappsi completed the Apps.co consolidation process earlier this year and is considered one of the program’s biggest successes to date. It also pitched at the inaugural Endeavor Demo Day in Buenos Aires in May.  A note for tourists: Tappsi has English versions for iOS and Android.

DineroTaxi

dinerotaxiMade in Argentina, DineroTaxi has expanded to Peru and Mexico and has its sights set on other regional markets soon. The startup formed part of NXTP Labs’ third acceleration class, completing the process in late 2012.

DineroTaxi has become a bit of a staple on the pitching circuit. It was a finalist at the 2012 AppCircus in Buenos Aires and was one of 46 startups selected to present at the Colombia Startup & Investor Summit this past July.

Taxijá

Just last month, this Brazil-based taxi hailing startup rolled out an in-app payment option to set it apart from the rest. Taxijá has a presence in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Salvador and Barueri and is going head-to-head with other Brazilian players to get passengers and drivers on board.

Along those lines, Taxijá has developed a corporate solution for business clients, and it recently made a special appeal to drivers with the removal of per-ride fees. Taxijá CEO Arthur Pelanda told us in a recent interview:

Beyond improving the consumer’s experience, we are working to adapt our platform to the needs of professionals. With the exemption of the fee, we are going to attract new drivers and increase loyalty among those who already work with us and believe in our tool. We are going to show the market that we can make a difference, and that will make us a reference.

Yaxi

Available in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Querétaro and Cancún, Yaxi is a challenger worth noting in Mexico – especially given that it accepts payment via credit and debit card as well as in cash.

Yaxi is a 500 Mexico City alum and has received backing from Startup Labs. Another thing it has going in its favor: Endeavor selected the startup’s founders to join its ranks at its 50th ISP in Palo Alto.

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Cabify

Out of Spain, Cabify has been testing the waters in Latin America for a while now. It’s available in three of the region’s cities – Mexico City, Santiago and Lima – and offers up a more high-end proposal than most taxi hailing applications. Cabify accepts payments through credit cards, cash and, notably, PayPal.

Catch our video interview with Cabify Mexico CEO Edgardo Rivera here.

Uber

OK, so this isn’t exactly a taxi app. But when it comes to transportation, Uber is one of the most important forces to watch in Latin America.

The U.S.-born private car service application made its regional debut in Mexico City mid-year, though if you weren’t paying close attention, you weren’t going to realize it was there. We’re actually pretty quiet all the time, because you do want to manage expectations. If you launch and you don’t have enough supply, you’re going to crash and burn. People love Uber, and they expect the very best out of us,” explained Rodrigo Arevalo, General Manager at Uber Mexico, in a chat with us a couple of months back.

A few months later, Uber arrived in Bogotá, again keeping quiet about its activities. Since that time, however, it’s gotten a bit louder about its Latin American activities. It officially announced its Colombian launch at the end of October and had a lot of fun on Halloween.

And Uber won’t be slowing down anytime soon – it has built up a team of professional launchers to expand throughout Latin America.

Uber's Halloween fun.

Uber’s Halloween fun.