iCabbi: The Irish software firm helping traditional taxi companies take on Uber and Hailo

“We help them fight against disrupters like Uber”

The shortlist of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award was unveiled last month. One of the businesses on that shortlist is iCabbi, an Irish software company, which develops taxi systems for traditional taxi companies.

Founder and CEO, Gavan Walsh, explains what exactly iCabbi does:

“We help traditional taxi companies fight against disrupters like Uber. We provide them with all the technology they need to compete; from apps and phone systems to web bookers and the physical dispatch system itself. It’s a full end-to-end solution.”

The digitisation of the taxi market is, without question, an interesting and competitive field. The emergence of companies such as Hailo and Uber have meant the consumer’s expectation for a taxi service has changed in recent years. Walsh explains where his initial idea came from

“The idea came to me back in 2009, when I had nothing to do with the taxi industry. I was on holidays in Portugal with my pregnant wife and we got really lost whilst out walking one day. I had one of the new iPhones and I thought that if I could see live taxis on the map on my phone, and then order one with the push of a button, my issue would be solved.”

The idea was clearly a good one as that is the model for services such as Uber and Hailo.

Having a good idea is just part of the process, however, as Walsh found out. He says many things helped him flesh out his idea and bring it to life.

“I found a very good partner with great technical ability. That is really important, finding the right partner you can battle the ups and downs with – and there are many downs! Next, we got a proof of concept out there and we took part in the NDRC’s launch-pad accelerator programme. This helped kick start us.”

The accelerator programme offered iCabbi some starter funding, office space and a facility filled with likeminded people.

Rather than trying to create an alternative to the likes of Uber or Hailo, iCabbi brings the traditional radio taxis into the modern era of the taxi service. 

“Taxi companies all over the world are desperate for answers and a small little company from Ireland is the best answer out there at the moment.”

iCabbi is making the most of this opportunity and growing their work force and work space. They currently employ 56 people and say that number will increase by 14 by the end of the year. They are also in the process of moving a a 6,500 sqft premises in Dublin. 

“We’ve big ambitions. Our vision is to become the global leader in dispatch technology. There’s an empty spot in the market for us. We’ve got 70% market share in Ireland, we’ll have over 55% in the UK by the end of the year for companies with over 500 cars – so all the big guys are coming to us, which is exactly where we want to be. America is going to be massive for us this year. We only launched there last October and within a year it’ll account for 50% of our revenue.” 

The company is certainly one to watch on the global stage as they continue to expand around the world. 

Click here for more information on the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.