We may very well have Latin America’s first big global success on our hands. The potential candidate: Easy Taxi, the Brazil-born taxi hailing app backed by Rocket Internet. The company has received an additional US$10 million investment from Rocket Internet and the African Internet Holding, with which it will commence its worldwide expansion today.
Starting with Nigeria, Easy Taxi will roll out into Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Dennis Wang, Head of International Expansion at Easy Taxi, commented on the company’s growth:
In 2011, Easy Taxi started in Brazil to connect taxi drivers and passengers in the best possible way. By now, the app has over 1,500,000 downloads and more than 45,000 taxi drivers in the network. We want to bring this success to other attractive markets and we see high potential in many Asian and African countries.
Sacha Poignonnec, Co-CEO of African Internet Holding, expressed high hopes for Easy Taxi in Africa:
The Easy Taxi app is convincing in every single aspect: it is fast, safe and working in a very smooth way. It fulfills all the needs for the African market. We see an amazing opportunity and we will expand fast to all the markets where we are present today with the startups of Africa Internet Holding. Today, Easy Taxi starts in Lagos, Nigeria in a metropolitan area with 20 million inhabitants and huge potential. In the same way, we will launch Easy Taxi in more African countries in the upcoming weeks.
The Path to Success
We’ve been following Easy Taxi for quite some time now.
The company first caught our attention with the US$4.9 million Series A round it landed from Rocket Internet in October of last year – an investment that kick-started its expansion beyond its original base, Rio de Janeiro.
We reached out to Tallis Gomes, the brain behind Easy Taxi’s operations, soon after. Gomes commented on Rocket’s investment approach, calling the organization “some of the most aggressive investors in the world.” And by the looks of it, Rocket’s aggressive strategy with Easy Taxi has continued – it invested US$15 million in the startup just a month ago by way of LIH.
Though Easy Taxi’s heavy funding certainly gives it an advantage, it’s still facing some tough competition in Latin America and worldwide. Greek Taxibeat just landed in Mexico, one of easy Taxi’s main markets, and it’s got to deal with Colombia’s Tappsi and Chile’s SaferTaxi in the region as well.
The company’s leaders are acutely aware of the potential threats to its market position and are taking combative measures accordingly. Last month, Gomes told us about two campaigns – one establishing mobile libraries and another dealing with drunk driving – that are aimed at setting Easy Taxi apart.
Is Easy Taxi on its way to becoming an international hit? It certainly looks like it.