Is Taxify a real threat to Uber in Nigeria?


Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital was the first port of call for Uber when it came in 2014. This is 2017, there is Taxify, another competitor that will change the game for the company in Nigeria.

Taxify came into Lagos from Europe, a market the company claimed that it already has about 1 million customers. These customers are dispersed across 19 countries. This is a far cry from Uber’s 40 million customers.

There is no information on how many customers both companies have in Nigeria.

The company itself was started in Estonia in 2013 and is building the market leading platform connecting people with taxis and private drivers. In between, Taxify disclosed that it has over the years secured about EUR2 million of venture capital investments.

That Taxify is aiming to fight it out with Uber is an understatement. The company was upfront when it said its team members were drawn from fellow tech companies such as Skype, Google and guess what? Uber.

That alone speaks volume. With Lyft giving Uber some sleepless nights across America and Europe, Taxify might be another headache for Uber in developing and emerging countries such as Nigeria.

No doubt about it, Uber is well known in Lagos and Abuja, the only two cities the ride-hailing service is operating in. However, the absence of a formal taxi system makes it easy for newer competitors such as Taxify and some others to come into the market.

A trip to the website of both companies’ websites makes it glaring that there is no difference in what they claim to be or stand for. You can guess who copied who but you may not blame either of the two companies. They are in a market that is pretty much basic. Get people from point A to point B. Technology might be the enabler but not a point of differentiation.

So what will they be competing on? Price! price!! Price!!!

A survey of passengers who have used both Uber and Taxify claimed they prefer the latter because of a cheaper fare system that tallies with their pocket. According to them, the gap between Uber’s average fare is more or less 30% higher than Taxify.

For how long Uber would be able to retain its seemingly higher fares is left to be seen. You can be sure that there will be more players that will come into the market. The shutter of Easy Taxi, a Rocket Internet venture in Nigeria will not seem to deter new companies looking at tapping into the road transport business.

An analyst said Uber’s operation in Nigeria has yet yielded a profit. It is not also clear if Taxify will hit profit soon as well. The only certainty is that Nigeria (or Lagos) is becoming a testing ground for tech companies who want to enter the Sub-Saharan African market.

It is likely that Uber will be spending more on marketing to ensure it is not upstaged by a smaller competitor in a market it was first. The coming quarters will also see Taxify trying to communicate to the same market. But in end, ride-haling customers might be gaining more from this fight.

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