TaxiForSure recently got acquired by rival taxi hailing service OLA, and while the company will remain independent for now, there are a lot of questions as to how things will pan out for the fledgling company in the space.
We met up with Arvind Singhal, CEO of TaxiForSure, to get the low-down on what the company’s plans are and where is it headed.
How Independent Is TaxiForSure Post Acquisition?
TaxiForSure is going to remain as an absolutely independent entity. There’s a very clear objective, which is to be the most love brand admired by the customers. We’re also looking at acquiring customers and be known as the most economical brand. We have done that in the past, and we would continue to work towards building onto our economy platform.
We have a very different positioning in terms of our operator network, drivers and 1800+ strong team. We are present in 52 cities and we already have a whole infrastructure and ecosystem with which we are growing in the industry.
Today we have 2mn customers and we’re looking to grow it by 10x in the next one year.
Isn’t TFS Competition For OLA Then?
If you look at the industry today, we are at a very nascent stage. Just 5% – 5.5% of the taxi sector is organized and there are not more than 10mn people in the country who have taken a ride with the industry players, whereas the population of the country is over a billion people.
There’s a whole lot of room for the industry to grow and we believe that there’s a lot of work which needs to be done by both the companies.
Will TFS Target A Different Market Segment Than Ola?
We are present in 52 cities and we are looking at deepening our intrusion into these markets. We are also and are planning to enter another 7-8 cities in this quarter. With these 52 cities we cover almost 60-70 percent of urban India and there is a whole lot of potential there itself to grow our customer base.
If you take bangalore as an example, there’s a population of 10mn+ people and there’s a whole lot of them who’ve never used a cab service. Our current objective is to increase ply, provide more economical rides and get more people onboard.
What Does TFS Plan To Do With The $100mn Ola Has Allocated ?
Ola has ermarked $100mn for the growth of TFS and the task which has been charted out for us is to onboard 20mn customers by the end of the year. Where we’re going to invest this money is upgrading our technology and product, which will help us provide a great experience to our customers.
[pullquote-right] Almost 20% of our customers repeat with us every month [/pullquote-right]
We are also looking at investing money in strengthening our team and are looking at hiring 150 people across various functions but primarily for the product and tech part. There is also a plan to grow our network in all the cities we’re currently present in, and that’s how we’re going to work on investing our capital.
Has TFS Shifted Its Strategy To Onboarding Customers Rather Than Offering Discounted Rides To Existing Ones?
Since the market is grossly unpenetrated, customer acquisition needs to be kept in mind, because you need to grow the category. At the same time we also believe in providing great experience to the customer which will help us retain them.
Customer retention in our minds is a direct correlation to the experience and convenience we provide to them. Almost 20% of our customers repeat with us every month, which is a very good benchmark in our mind, and this acts like an indicator that we’re doing something right.
What Is TFS’ Plan For Long Term Sustainability?
We are working on providing the best customer experience because the most important metric in long term sustainability. Also its important that we bring our service to a lot more people and grow the category really quickly in order to boost adoption of our service.
With these two factors in mind, we are very confident that we’ll be able to sustain our business and bring a whole lot of value to our customers. We’re also bringing helping our drivers and operators grow, which basically brings sustainability to the entire ecosystem.
Does TFS Plan To Offer Services Other Than Ride Hailing?
The way i see it, TFS is a technology company and has some solid products with which we bring together the whole ecosystem of operators, drivers and customers. The market is huge and the industry is unorganized, and we have a very clear task.
We’re looking to grow our customer base to 20 mn by the year’s end and it is a lot of work serving just them, rather than defocusing and going into any other area at this point of time.