After tasting local success, the co-founder of Australian taxi app goCatch is looking to increase the app's international footprint by negotiating deals in different geographies around the world.
(Screenshot by Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)
GoCatch is an app that connects users to cab drivers, allowing the two to bypass the traditional taxi-booking system. The app lets users see the nearest available taxis on a map view, and call a specific cab to their location. The app also encourages users to rate drivers to encourage good behaviour.
GoCatch co-founder Andrew Campbell told ZDNet Australia today that he's currently in negotiations to license the app into overseas markets. GoCatch already has a foothold in Singapore and Croatia, and now Campbell is looking to go bigger, but is unable to name the parties he's currently in discussions with, due to commercial sensitivity reasons.
GoCatch has experienced success through government prizes and organic growth in different cities and towns all over Australia, but the company's co-founder said today that it's important to negotiate with third parties internationally, rather than just hoping the app takes off there.
"With [the taxi] business, there are significant regulatory compliance issues, localisation issues and the basic distribution issues [to overcome]. The potential of forming partnerships in overseas markets is important to the overall growth of the business, but also to do it properly — that would be the main thing.
"It's all well and good having people using it overseas, but you need to engage with them ... and overcome any regulatory issues in the territory and grow it in a sustainable way," Campbell said today.
Campbell added that one of the most important things that the company can do now is network; trade fairs, like CeBIT in Sydney and the upcoming Communicasia in Singapore, are huge for him.
GoCatch used its time at this year's CeBIT fair to seal a deal with GM Cabs. Campbell said that the new deal will see GM Cabs support and train taxi drivers to use goCatch in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.
Campbell said today that the deal with GM Cabs gives goCatch an added degree of legitimacy. The co-founder said that his company is still in negotiations with other potential industry partnerships.
GoCatch's lack of partnerships with the taxi-booking industry had previously concerned some industry players. The NSW Taxi Council criticised goCatch for potentially putting passengers at risk by opening a booking system to non-authorised taxi drivers. GoCatch dismissed the comments as being alarmist.
In the local market, goCatch already has 5500 taxi drivers using the service around the country, and now looks set to build its user base, which stands at approximately 50,000 users.
"We really want to grow this thing large; 50,000 is a very small number, and we hope to grow it over the next few months and years," Campbell said.