T+1 Solutions, an Estonian R&D and technology solution provider has come out with Taxipal – brokerage software for mobile devices which functions like a reverse auction. Its aim is to make the EU’s taxi market more competitive and bring down the prices for consumers.
The service makes taxis compete for their business, where the customer can choose between price versus how quickly the taxi arrives to their location (see screen shots below). To be able to do this, the customer must first position herself (or let her mobile device do it by default) by entering necessary details of the trip, including the time window in which the person wants the cab to arrive. Subsequently, the customer will receive a list of bids from the registered taxi companies to her mobile.
TaxiPal won a hefty sum of $560K in prizes from Navteq Global LBS Challenge 2009. This was a mix of cash, software, and Navteq’s map data licenses. The service works better in bigger cities and thus it is rumored that TaxiPal will launch first in Paris, France before entering its native Estonia for example. Another reason can be the above mentioned Navteq map licenses, as its said that Navteq currently has better maps for central Europe than for smaller East-european countries.
According to The Baltic Course, the company has a team of eight people developing the service in Estonia to have it available on a variety of platforms, including iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Java Mobile. The company commented in Forbes that it has grown from ‘a true one-man startup last year to a bigger team and a market-ready product this year’. Raoul Jarvis, Founder and CEO of T+1 Solutions went on to add that the TaxiPal service is soon to launch in all EU countries and will be the first multi-language taxi ordering and brokering service, running on all popular device platforms, with global coverage. We certainly look forward to welcoming the service to Helsinki, assuming it is not blocked by some abstract age old law or union strike.
Interestingly, the big breakthrough for Google’s business model was also an auction model, which was later perfected by Hal Varian. The auction model has not been used as much as one would think and there’s still many places it could add value from in-App Store marketing (and I mean any App Store like service) to video advertising inventories and original content auctions for various media.