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Uber’s disruptive nature in South Africa’s taxi sector is more heated than ever before. So much so that it just prompted the relaunch of a white-label product which taxi companies can use to compete with the San Francisco-based multi-billion dollar company.
“Taxi companies need to be able to compete with Uber, as currently they are unable to,” says Mark Allewell who — together with undisclosed partners — bought the Zapacab IP from the original founders.
Zapacab offers independent South African taxi companies to create their own branded mobile app so they can compete with the likes of Uber.
“There is a huge business opportunity is developing solutions for these companies, especially the ones that are serious about not getting their profits eroded,” Allewell adds.
About nine months after Uber cruised into Cape Town, tech startup and competitor Zapacab was forced to close up shop last year after facing traction and funding issues.
Allewell, who’s also behind Tourism Radio, notes that while the original business model behind Zapacab was not sustainable, the tech is amazing and is definitely something of value to the local industry.
“We’ve kept the basis for the Zapacab tech the same, as it was incredibly easy to use and the general feedback on the product was excellent. The original founders did a great job in creating something very simple,” Allewell explains.
Zapacab wants to get the South Africa’s cab industry to a standard where it can compete from a technological point of view with the likes of Uber.
The entrepreneur estimates that there are over 300 taxi companies in South Africa with over 50 cars each.
The Zapacab starter package is from R3 500 per month, which includes iOS and Android apps. Taxi companies need no technical expertise to adopt this technology as Zapacab takes care of the branding and the launch of their product. After the app’s launch, it’s up to the clients to improve their service in line with what Uber is and to make sure their customers download and use their app.
The main difference between Uber and Zapacab, however, is that users don’t have to link a credit card to the app.
The company estimates that there are over 300 taxi companies in South Africa with over 50 cars each. Zapacab will start by rolling out with three clients in the Western Cape, but hopes to expand into other markets once the business model is proven in South Africa.
“At the end of the day its about getting from point A to point B, safely. Taxi users have used taxi for years, our white labeled apps just make it easier for them to use their preferred taxi company,” Allewell adds.