At the start of 2011 Hamish Petrie, CEO and Founder of taxi app ingogo, found himself quite literally dressed up with nowhere to go.
After selling his previous business Moshtix, he wanted to enjoy his well-earned time off; the only problem was that whenever he wanted to book a cab and go out, he’d be left stranded. He estimates that 8 out of 10 cabs wouldn’t show up to take him where he needed to go.
Talk about a frustrating experience.
Wheels were set in motion. Hamish started collecting phone numbers of taxi drivers and quickly learnt that they were equally frustrated with the taxi booking process as he was as a customer. The systems the drivers were using were in dire need of an upgrade; in essence they were totally ineffective at managing bookings. Yet drivers were being made to look as though they were the ones providing bad service, while the same outdated system was taking a significant cut of their fares. They were crying out for a system that served their interests.
And thus ingogo was born.
Since its conception the app has experienced monumental success. In just 2 years ingogo had secured 18.5% of the market; with Macquarie Bank recognising them as the third biggest mobile taxi payments system within Australia as a result. Fast forward another two years and their payments system has processed $250 million in sales, across 6 million transactions.
What’s more, ingogo has a wealth of promising partnerships in the works over a range of industries, including hospitality and accounting.
So what was the secret to their success?
First up they invested a lot of time in building their payment platform. Providing a quick and easy payment solution (that didn’t chip significantly into fares), helped them build a loyal driver base. So when customers were ready to hit go they had a supply of dedicated drivers waiting in the wings.
Secondly, testing. The ingogo team are constantly reviewing and improving their software. In fact, in just three years they have 100 releases under their belt. And that is just on the drivers’ application.
Consistently experimenting, analyzing data and interviewing users is crucial to any/every tech start-up. Yet for this process to reap any benefits, you need to be prepared to hear the good and the bad.
In the early days ingogo received some negative feedback, but rather than be discouraged by it, they took it onboard and updated their product accordingly. Now their feedback is mostly positive, and they’re focusing on developing both their business and passenger applications.
Last but not least, network. We had the pleasure of hosting Hamish and the team at CeBIT 2013. He delivered ingogo’s pitch in front of a large crowd, outlining the success and challenges he’s encountered along the way. This caught the eye of two potential investors who decided to back the business financially only a few days later. This presentation formed the cornerstone of one of their very first investment rounds.
Hamish explains, “If we didn't attend we would've lost the opportunity to get in front of those investors. As an entrepreneur you have to take every single opportunity that comes your way because you can never predict the result. CeBIT attracts such a wide range of people, it makes connections and networks easy to build. We had the right people in the right place, at the same time. So don’t be shy, talk to as many people as possible and share your idea - from it you could meet employees, partners and (fingers crossed) investors.”
ingogo have a very exciting road ahead of them, and we for one can’t wait to see where it leads.