When we talk about startups operating in the transportation industry, one that pops up recently is Malaysia based TaxiMonger, a taxi booking and review application for mobile and web.
If you have been travelling to Malaysia, you would have heard that Malaysia has quite a bad reputation for its taxi service, marred by the poor conduct of local taxi drivers, who have been known, among others, to refuse using taximeters, overcharging and being extremely selective on which destinations they will travel to, while driving poorly maintained vehicles.
What TaxiMonger does is to allow users to review and rate taxi drivers in order to represent the voice of taxi passengers. With close to 1,000 registered users, the two month old startup which has been in its beta since 6th April 2012 has built up a network of about 50 taxi drivers in Malaysia so far. With full commercialization initiatives to be implemented from June 2012, TaxiMonger is definitely expecting a tremendous growth in their drivers’ network, with the huge ambition of signing up 1,000 taxi-drivers in their network by end of 2012.
One might wonder though, what will be the motivation for users to post taxi reviews onto TaxiMonger? According to Nizran Noordin, cofounder of TaxiMonger, “there are many factors that motivate users including vehicle factor, driver factor and journey experience. And when we analyse each factor, there are many angles that the users will like or dislike that particular factor. Whether it’s good or bad, the need to get it out of his/her system would be a compelling reason for users to post taxi reviews in TaxiMonger.”
TaxiMonger is currently still in its trial run in Malaysia. From June onwards, they will be looking for Channel Partners to operate for their taxi booking business in the rest of the South East Asia region. This means that TaxiMonger will literally be a taxi call-centre that runs on the cloud. Of course, with limitations in terms of team members and resources, operating TaxiMonger across different countries would be challenging, and the market knowledge as well as local business networks would be their main obstacles. Hence, partnering with local partners and operators in these regions would be their key focus in the coming months.
When asked about how the startup scene in Malaysia has grown over the last few years, Nizran mentioned that the scene is encouraging. “In Malaysia, the high penetration rate of broadband and phenomenal growth of smartphones have spurred the startup scene for the past 3 years. The buy-outs of several technology companies by Silicon Valley guys have compounded more interest of local entrepreneurs to launch their startups and ground-breaking technologies. More importantly, event by StartupMalaysia.org such as the Silicon Valley Comes To Malaysia that brought in high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors, have also motivated a lot of entrepreneurs to launch their ventures.”
TaxiMonger will be exhibiting at Echelon 2012 Startup Marketplace. The team pitched their product at the Indonesia Satellite in April. The team is looking for funding to grow as a market leader in Malaysia and expand regionally in South-East Asia. They are also interested to meet with local channel partners to Identify and secure market access to the South-East Asian market by way of tie-ups.