While startups like Uber, Lyft, Hailo and Sidecar are upending traditional taxi markets across North America and Europe, Helsinki’s Cabforce is aiming to change corporate bookings for taxis across the European continent and soon the U.S.
The twelve-person company has built an API and hub that lets third-party corporate booking services pull in flat rates for between 10,000 and 20,000 taxis in cities across Europe.
Their product isn’t for on-demand taxi requests in an app like with Uber. It is for bookings that people might make a couple days in advance before they make a business trip to a different city.
So they’ve partnered with travel companies like Finnair, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and a U.K. train company called FGW to offer cab booking services to their clients.
The company, which is back by an undisclosed amount of funding from angels like Tripit’s Gregg Brockway, is planning to expand to the U.S. soon by opening in Chicago and Miami. They say they’re growing at a 30 percent clip month-over-month since launching last year and should reach eight-digit revenue rate within a year.
“We’re aggregating the really fragmented European taxi market while creating new revenue streams for travel industry partners,” he said.
He said there are two ways to approach the market: one are the on-demand services like Uber and the other involves corporate booking tools that can help clients get from meeting to meeting on a flat-rate basis.
They calculate the fares in advance based on things like distance, time of day and traffic. Those rates, which the company says are 13 percent cheaper than the average, include parking fees and tips. The average ride in Cabforce’s home territory of Europe runs at about 52 euros. Their top destinations are Moscow and St. Petersburg, followed by Helsinki, then Brussels, Paris, London and Barcelona.