As recently seen on BBC's Dragons’ Den (www.minicabit.com/dragonsden) and backed by O2, the mobile operator, minicabit enables you to compare and book real-time quotes from licensed cab operators across 30+ UK cities , on web and mobile app.
Minicabs can therefore be positioned as a credible option for long distance, not just local trips, saving you cost and hassle vs. taking connecting trains & buses. We take a 10% commission and £1 booking fee from all trips. These are paid by card online or by cash to the driver, and are Carbon Balanced by the World Land Trust at no extra cost.
One of our low cost routes to market is to exclusively partner with leading travel & leisure websites, so they can present our price comparison service to their customers for both revenue and customer experience benefits.
1. Make it easier to book a minicab for long & local distance trips
Over 10 million trips a year are taken by cab out of town (25+ miles), according to Dept. of Transport. Customers have been held back from taking more since they still have to phone up individual Cab providers to check prices and book. This is despite cabs potential saving of up to 50% in cost & time on many inter-city routes vs. taking connecting trains & buses.
The rising cost of car ownership (e.g. insurance premiums) and rail infrastructure, increasing mobile internet uptake and economic pressures, we feel, can only fuel demand for our proposition.
2. Make it easier to get a better cab deal
Our technology can instantly present a much wider range of cab quotes UK-wide, in a way you can’t really do by phone. By also presenting quotes from cab operators based near your pickup and destination area, we open up the market for more cab operators to present their best deals for your booking.
3. Digitally integrate cab bookings with other travel services across web, mobile & social media
Despite the estimated £4 billion spent by customers on Taxis/Minicabs each year, major web & mobile players in the travel & leisure space have no national entity to partner with.
Substantial accomplishments to date
Minicabit is the first mobile app to win offers on BBC TV's Dragons' Den show on 2nd February 2014 - see www.minicabit.com/dragonsden. This follows previously competing against 50 other companies to win investment from O2, the mobile operator (via its Wayra fund).
Apple have featured our app several times in their App Store e.g. 'New & Noteworthy, 'Best Apps' - http://screencast.com/t/m4mEKdIy61
Over 300 licensed cab operators across the UK have joined minicabit's network.
We have major travel & leisure partners who offer our service to their customers, typically on a whitelabelled basis. For example:
Also see media response (before our Dragons' Den broadcast):
Cab providers set the rates and availability of their cars upfront on our platform so that customers can be instantly presented with quotes to book. We then deduct a 10% commission and £1 booking fee in the process.
Use of proceeds
- rollout our app across Android platform
- launch features on our platform to e.g. drive repeat bookings amongst our customer base
- launch tools on our platform for cab operators to enhance their ability to serve more quotes.
Various estimates of the UK Private Hire (minicab) sector value it at £2-4 billion.
Whilst we intend to capture a portion of the booking revenue flow from local cab trips that are increasingly made online rather than by phone, we also want to unlock the higher value cab trips that have yet to be made. For instance, customers may have dismissed taking an out of town trip on the assumption that it may be too expensive or too much hassle to organise. Our technology aims to address these perceived pain points to enable more bookings.
In particular, we are focusing on:
- convenience buyers who typically book online for time-efficiency and who value the convenience of personal, point to point travel vs. public transport.
- cost-conscious buyers who typically search price comparison websites for the best deal.
Characteristics of target market
We've been trading for well over 2 years, so have in-depth insights on customer booking behaviour, as well as experience of working with cab operators of all sizes and locations, from a small operator in a rural town to a major metropolitan fleet.
Also, the CEO of minicabit has previously been responsible for mobile apps and internet partnerships at Vodafone Global and O2, but also did a stint as a part time minicab driver during university. Consequently he uniquely carries a powerful combination of the digital and cabbing experience this business faces!
The positive boost minicabit has received from its UK-wide exposure on BBC TV's Dragons' Den show has been a welcome bonus. However, our route to market has always been focused on achieving stronger Google rankings via SEO, as well as via carefully chosen marketing partnerships.
Having O2 as an investor has also enabled us to direct bespoke promotional offers via its customer base, for instance with O2 Priority Moments.
It can be argued that the online cab booking market is still in an early growth, pre-consolidated phase, where online flight websites were 15 years ago.
Over time, the online flight booking sector evolved into a long tail of 'amateur' players co-existing alongside a few players that, through superior execution and consolidation, evolved into category champions e.g. Expedia, bookers, lastminute.com. minicabit's aim is to become a category champion of our sector.
We don't see the various black cab/driver apps (hailo, uber) as direct rivals as their model focuses purely on optimising availability - not price comparison - of metered cabs, and not on the web. Their approach typically works in high population, key metropolitan cities, servicing local trips, hence their rollout to key capital cities internationally.
At the same time, we're seeing a couple of price comparison websites for minicabs arise who are seeking to position minicabs as alternatives to black cabs, mainly in London.
minicabit's mission is much broader, using its superior platform to target the long distance market, where no price comparison for cabs yet exists, whilst offering a larger scope for sizeable commission revenue. At the same time, we've established coverage across 30+ UK cities from the outset and are focused on bringing cab providers incremental, high value bookings they don't typically get on the phone.
This has enabled us to secure compelling marketing partnerships which help us expand at lower cost and lower risk.
Whilst we are conscious of even indirect competition, we remain focused on building out a superior platform to establish a clear lead vs. rivals.