On-demand car service startup Cabify today announced that it will expand from its base in Madrid, Spain, to Barcelona and 15 new cities in the course of this year. Launched as a sort of ‘Uber of Europe’ for high-end cars a mere 6 weeks ago, Cabify has already signed up 20,000 users and completed nearly 3,000 rides in Madrid alone.
Cabify, which offers smartphone apps and a mobile website, says it plans to expand to the rest of continental Europe first and then Asia and Latin America. Soon, a version of the car ordering app for desktop PCs and tablets will be released, perhaps even as early as this week.
The company was founded by a Stanford University MBA graduate by the name of Juan de Antonio, who compares Cabify to U.S. companies like Uber but also Groundlink and Ride in Style.
Using Cabify, people can use their smartphones’ geolocation functionality to discover available luxury black cars that are nearby. Users can then easily request a pickup, which will be routed to the nearest driver instantly, track the arrival of their car on a map and call their driver.
All Cabify rides are billed instantaneously to users’ credit card accounts. Furthermore, the company has developed a driver reputation system to ensure quality control.
Speaking on the subject of potential backlash from taxi unions and municipal authorities, De Antonio notes:
“Similar services like Uber in the U.S. have experienced such problems but many European cities offer extremely favorable demographics for a service like Cabify in terms of transportation dynamics, smartphone adoption, and taxi unionization.”
In addition to serving end customers directly, Cabify has also executed strategic deals with major corporations like Vodafone and BCG to host employee car service.
Founded in July 2011, Cabify is backed by a number of unnamed U.S. and European angel investors, and boasts over 11 employees in its Madrid offices already.
One to watch.