24. April 2014–
While you may be thinking that this is “just another taxi app”, VentureVillage met Talixo to discuss how they differ from others and what the biggest challenges are for them right now. We talked with the founder Sebastian Kleinau and his colleague Yvonne Gründler.
In 2011, Gründler and Kleinau met at INSEAD, a business school with a focus on entrepreneurship.
I love to find solutions for complex issues,
Kleinau explains. Sitting in taxis and talking to drivers, he found out that most of them have the same problem: they only drive 20% of the time they are on shift – the rest of the time they are waiting in line for customers.
After attending different workshops, Kleinau won a startup competition and used the prize money to start the company in Berlin.
Talixo wants to fill empty seats by allowing customers to book in advance. They offer better deals if customers order ahead of time, for example, with rides to the airport. Similar to airlines, the earlier you book the more money you save.
“Depending on the number of rides already booked and the routes, customers can save up to 30% – 40 %,” Gründler explains.
Talixo offers taxi and limousine rides, which makes it sound like “Uber meets MyTaxi”. But the real benefit goes to business travelers, accountants and secretaries in companies. Instead of collecting endless paper receipts and filing lots of travel expenses reports, Talixo built a tool for them to give them easier access to all trips and the ability to customize the reports. This in turn frees up valuable staff time.
There is other competition such as Uber or MyTaxi. However, no competitor provides a complete overview of the booking options and allows the customer to make the decision between price and flexibility, Kleinau states.
While there are many reasons for startups to build a mobile app first, Talixo has chosen not to.
“We don’t focus on digital natives who use their phone for nearly everything. Our target groups are companies with a large number of rides every month. They could book cabs over an app, but most of them use the website because it’s easier, especially for entering names, addresses, and times,” Kleinau explains.
Talixo just raised a seven digit funding round which was oversubscribed five-fold. It came from three parties: two private ones and the IBB Bank, where they received two funding packages. One of the angel investor is Matthew Witt, former COO of booking.com who also acts as their senior advisor.
The service does not ask for a monthly fee from taxi companies and those who use its service. Talixo only takes a commission from the taxi driver.
Its biggest pain is recruiting new staff. While they have enough developers, they are actively looking for new employees in sales and office management. “We are looking for people who are a good fit and share our vision of growing this business,” Gründler explains.
As of right now, 15 people are working at the Berlin office at Torstraße. Most are recruiting new taxi and limousine drivers.
Best of luck with expanding to more German cities, the rest of Europe and the world!