mTakso, The Estonian Answer to Uber

    When I first heard about Uber, I was confident that this would be my ultimate taxi app, if it ever reached Finland and/or Estonia. After all, it was super easy to use, it would get me a good taxi exactly when and where I need it and best of all, I do not have to wait on the phone for 5 minutes.

    Unfortunately, Uber did not turn out to be exactly what I hoped it would be. After all it is rather expensive and there is basically no choice in what driver/car you get. Not to take anything away from Uber, they have their niche market and they are doing very well. It was just not something I needed and the same went for a lot of the people I knew.

    What I really wanted, though, was an app that would provide me with a choice of all taxies in the area, ranging in price, quality and distance to my pick-up point. However, there wasn’t one. Until now, that is.

    mTakso, the Estonian based taxi app has only launched 3 weeks ago but already boasts over 5600 users and a total of 100 drivers in Tallinn and Tartu. Their main difference between alternatives such as CabForce, Uber or Hailocab is that they provide choice.

    When you order a cab, you get to see the ratings of nearby drivers, the description of their cars and their fees per kilometer. Basically, the company acts as a dispatch service for a lot of drivers.

    According to founder and CEO, Markus Villig, premium taxi apps such as Uber or Hailoapp only affect the top 5-10% of the taxi market. Moreover in a market study of 700 taxi customers, they reached the conclusion that there were two main types of customers. Those who wanted the taxi to be as cheap as possible and did not care about the quality at all and those that wanted to find the right match between price an quality of the cab. mTakso decided to provide this flexibility.
Their approach also extends to the drivers themselves as they work both with private drivers and with taxi companies. When it comes to private drivers, they definitely have a cost advantage in comparison to working for a company. Not only is there no base fee, which can be 250-300 EUR in Estonia, but they also take just 50 cents from every order. 

This also means that all the costs are passed onto the drivers and not the client, so the prices are not affected by the service. All of these factors combined make it a pretty interesting service and this is definitely seen in their traction numbers.

    According to Villig, “during the last week the average was 50 rides on work days and 150 to 200 during the weekends.” Villig also mentioned that the actual number of searches for a cab is usually double that amount, so when the amount of drivers increases, so will the daily rides.

    Even though they only launched three weeks ago, they quickly rose to #1 spot in the Estonian app store and were offered partnerships from Russia and Greece. Are they cracking the taxi app market wide open? Let us know what you think in the comments.