Pictured: Minicabit’s founder Amer Hasan with investors Rupert Hambro and Dominic Perks
Taxi booking mobile app and comparison site Minicabit is looking to forge trade partnerships having built a national network of 700 cab operators.
The firm has brought in experienced travel executive Carl Cromie, who previously worked for Columbus Travel Media and Hostelbookers.com, as head of partnerships.
Minicabit already works with City Airport and Heathrow providing white label versions of its technology, and Expedia fulfilling inbound transfers at Manchester and Birmingham airports.
It also works with attractions in the UK like the O2 arena and Blenheim Palace. For the ATP tennis tournament at the O2 it partnered with Barclays to offer discounted taxi rides for bank customers.
In a sector that has seen a flurry of entrants like Halo, Get Taxi, Kabbee as well as global giant Uber, Minicabit wants to be as synonymous with taxis as The Trainline is with rail and National Express with buses.
Founder and chief executive Amer Hasan, who once pitched the company on BBC2’s Dragon Den securing an offer with two investors that was not eventually finalised, said:
“Uber is doing partnerships, but is very much the on-demand city centre-type model. If I’m a cruise operator, a tour operator, an airline or airport there are not many platforms that give you scale.
“As an industry we could do a lot better in having a seamless experience. If you look at all other areas everything else is moving on in this direction.”
Unlike Uber, Minicabit targets the pre-planned cab market with bookings available from 30 minutes lead time to 12 months and with a greater coverage outside of major cities.
The firm is looking to integrate its booking service into travel partners’ products to give their clients a domestic transfer service between home and departure airports.
It offers a percentage commission share on all rides booked, so represents potential incremental income for trade partners.
Due to Minicabit’s coverage of providers it can compare the prices of cab firms based at the point of departure and their destination.
The firm also allows comparison beyond just price, with attributes like supplier ratings, availability of Wi-Fi, whether they take pets or carbon emissions.
Hasan said it has seen traction in the corporate travel market just through word of mouth with one on five bookings now business trips.
“What’s happening is employees are eschewing office policy and booking their own cabs. They are discovering us in online channels,” he said.
Hasan said one area he’s most excited about is the data insights into partners’ customers Minicabit is able to provide which may spawn new commercial tie-ups.
“We can tell them these are the top hotels, or whether or not they are travelling for business of leisure and which airlines they are using,” said Hasan.
Last autumn, Minicabit raised £1.4 million investment funding as well as private backing from two leading investors.
The firm counts former transport minister Steve Norris as an adviser.