London-based Arrive has developed a zero-emission taxi app that lets you compare drivers and choose the one you want.
In its founder and CEO Hans Manku’s words, the early-stage company is aiming to end the, “roulette-esque user experience of getting a taxi and the progression-less systems that drivers currently have to operate in.”
Arrive shows users what taxis are available and lets them pick one, employing a framework that ensures they are successful. The company predicts that this will create an environment where all taxi services focus on delivering good service in order to be selected above the competition.
We spoke to Manku to find out more.
What is the story of Arrive?
Hans Manku: Today, Arrive is a zero-emission taxi app that enables you to compare drivers and choose the one you want, but we started a long time ago with a (slightly) different product on a different platform.
It all started after I tried to get a cab home from work. I called up a firm and they seemed expensive, so I called a few others, and in the end, was left with a wide range of prices and ETAs.
I had no other metrics to justify my choice with and didn’t feel any closer to making a decision. Was the more expensive driver better? Was the quicker driver better? How do you even define “better”? Was this data even accurate?
In the end I just got the tube, but not without thinking that a platform that provides taxi data would solve the transparency issue in a very murky market.
A few years later with global markets going south and my belief in this idea growing, I took redundancy and started what was then a cab firm comparison website. A few betas, a couple of pivots and a lot of lessons later, here we are.
What was your ‘Eureka’ moment?
Apart from the one that set it all off, the pivot to compare drivers instead of cab firms was pretty poignant.
We had been let down by service providers for such a long time, and it was undermining our ability to supply the crazy demand we were generating. We tried everything to dovetail into their operations but it just wasn’t working.
Then we thought, why are we even going via the firms and why don’t we just go straight to drivers? It improved our quality of data and opened up a host of new possibilities. It was a changer for us.
The app’s Scenes view shows bars, clubs and restaurants you can get deals at by booking a car there
What makes you better than the competition?
Our culture of empathy and focus on experience, which ultimately manifests in giving you data they don’t, and creating a meritocratic marketplace that is better for all participants.
Passengers are able to choose the driver that best suits their needs – whether that’s the absolute cheapest, quickest, or one who will let them play music and drink on the trip or let them bring their dog.
Because our system has a mechanism to reward drivers delivering good service, they have a ladder to increase earnings but also feel respected – and this combination of accountability and progression motivates them to deliver good service.
What’s it like being a tech company in London?
It seems like overnight London has gone from being quite a harsh environment for startups to now becoming a busy and important space for young businesses. The speed and extent of change present different challenges, but they are good ones to have and ultimately yields fruit once they’re overcome.
What’s on the horizon for your company?
We’ve just confirmed a massive launch partner whose operation we wouldn’t be able to replicate without an eight-figure round. We’re obviously ecstatic about that given the deal flow we’ll get, but we’re also very focussed on nailing the technical and cultural integration.
We’ve also been confirmed as cohort members of Natwest’s Accelerator program, so we’re also keenly looking forward to leveraging those years of lessons and relationships over the next six months as well. In short, there’s a lot going on!
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