myTaxi goes America

The big (well) news today is that German startup myTaxi has entered the US market (article in English on GigaOm, German on I think this is very good news for several reasons.

Firstly, for once a German company is on the forefront, not the copycat. Let’s just say there was a propensity among certain German companies to copy any business (model) coming from the US and every time there was an original idea it stood out as such not due to the idea but due the fact that it wasn’t a clone. I hope this sentiment can be reversed.

Secondly, myTaxi is a great product that just works, and the company keeps on innovating the product, not just increasing their reach. I say this as an active user of the app although there is a very good cab service here in Hamburg with HansaTaxi. There are times of day and certain situations (if I have no cash on me e.g.) where I prefer a myTaxi cab.

Two interesting tidbits from the GigaOm article:

For one thing, the company seems to have the endorsement of the D.C. Taxicab Commission – a useful kind of thing to have, when you look at the troubles Uber has been having in ChicagoNew York and, uh, D.C.
“The D.C. Taxicab Commission welcomes any electronic reservation company such as myTaxi, bringing technological advancements to the District of Columbia,” D.C. Taxicab Commission chairperson Ron Linton said. “We are delighted that passengers using DC public vehicles-for-hire will enjoy the enhanced quality of service.”

I remember the This Week in Startups interview with Uber founder Travis Kalanick very distinctly not just for the great history lesson but also for thinking “your plans for Uber sound very good but I think you’ll run into problems.” Sure, it is a different kind of service but I kept thinking, culturally he’ll encounter difficulties (some countries won’t ask for his service) and did he do his research in terms of what’s already out there. Because myTaxi already was operating.

The article also mentions the cooperation between myTaxi and the Car2Go service by its investor Daimler:

So that’s the trick: if you’re out and about, and you need a car, you’ll use Car2Go’s app to find the closest one that’s available for you to drive. If you can’t find a suitable car, or you’re not in a driving mood, you’ll hail a cab through myTaxi, from the same app.

Great idea. I am pretty sure it would work in Hamburg. While they’re at it, they might as well launch a cooperation with the Bike2Go service in town. I wonder what this cooperation would mean for flinc.

Will the cooperation work in the US? I don’t know. According to Crunchbase, the Car2Go investment from the beginning of the year was €10m which should extend their runway a bit but maybe this expansion is also an indication for a new round coming/in-progress…