In this Episode I interview Mick Coulter and Warren Cressde from Taxi Too App
The App was originally called the London Taxi App and was the first to launch in London, before Hailo or Get Taxi!
LDNTaxiApp did not have the financial backing behind them which would have allowed them to compete with the likes of Hailo & Get Taxi who were giving away ride incentives of £10 to passengers.
Mick & Warren then entered into a partnership with the Tweet a London Cab drivers, which at first was going quite well, Tweet a London Cab brought a large number of drivers to the app which is what it needed, but after one of the main members of TLC had to withdraw due to personal reasons the partnership came to an end.
Since the decline in the popularity of Hailo Mick & Warren have decided to give it another go and have relaunched the app as TaxiToo.
TaxiToo has managed to secure some investment from a British company, they explain that the investment has not given the investors control over the way in which the business develops, but it has given them the finance to be able to finish the app. Originaly the main failing of the app was that it did not have a payment gateway for either passengers or drivers so there was no way to process credit card transactions and also no way for the drivers to be charged for jobs. This investment has allowed them to engage developers to add these facilities within the app and to complete what Mick and Warren set out to achieve.
Mick explains that he let all of the old domain names and hosting expire as he thought that he would not have the opportunity to relaunch his app, he is now kicking himself for letting the domains expire and explains that it was extremely hard to come up with a name that was available.
Both Mick and Warren still come across as enthusiastic about the app and also about the London Taxi Trade, which is quite remarkable considering the journey they have endured with the app so far.
You can download the TaxiToo app by clicking on the relevant store below, the app is free to download and easy to register.
The Maaxi Taxi App Interview with Gabi Campos and Nat Rothschild
In this episode I speak to Nat Rothschild and Gabi Campos from the new Maaxi Taxi App.
The New Maaxi Taxi App aims to offer passengers the chance to share taxis and pay a lower fare, the app compares fares with bus, rail and tube fares and offers the passenger the option of how many others they would like to share the taxi with, or they can opt to just hailing the taxi for single occupancy.
Maaxi Taxi is the Brain child of Gabi Campos who is the CEO of the new start up company. Gabi started out as a software developer and moved upwards through management roles in various companies to later becoming the CEO of Poker Stars which he left in 2010.
You can take a look at Gabi’s Linkdin Profile Here
Gabi explained to me, that the app is built on completely different technology to other apps that are already out there and that he is looking at this business as lasting at least 10 years, he said that he has no intention of “spinning” the business in 3-5 years like others that have entered our trade, but would rather grow and nurture the business.
He stated that he will running the business in a transparent way otherwise he will not gain the trust of taxi drivers, he is open to any questions being asked of him and invitees drivers to go and speak with him at the offices at 26 Hammersmith Grove at any time.
Gabi said that he understands that drivers will be suspicious of his intentions due to what other companies have done to the London Taxi Trade, but he went to some lengths to assure me that his intentions were not the same as the likes of Hailo.
There has so far been only 1 round of investment into Maaxi, and the sole investor is Nat Rothschild, Nat explained that there will be further rounds of investment and he would rather that taxi drivers invested in the company, he said that at the next round of investment Taxi Drivers would be offered the chance to invest first before the looked elsewhere for finances, Nat also said he would be investing more money into the business.
Nat said that he was introduced to Gabi through a mutual friend who asked Nat to look at 3 investment opportunities, Nat said he looked at what Gabi had to offer and then didn’t want to look at the other 2 as he was excited by the Maaxi opportunity.
Drivers can download to app from the Maaxi website by clicking on the link to get the app, you can then register within the app
Below is some information taken from Wikipedia about Nat
Nathaniel Philip Victor James “Nat” Rothschild (born 12 July 1971) is a British-born financier who has settled in Switzerland,and a member of the prominent Rothschild family. He is the chairman of JNR Limited, an investment advisory business primarily focused on emerging markets and the metals, mining and resources sector. He was co-chairman of Bumi plc, a natural resources group, that he helped create and that is listed on London Stock Exchange. He was co-chairman of the hedge fund Atticus Capital from 1996 until its dissolution in 2009. He has a wide range of international business interests.
Rothschild was the co-chairman (as well as a 50% owner) of Atticus Capital, an international investment management firm established in 1995, that had offices in New York and London. There he was instrumental in developing the business, using his contacts to raise money and employ staff. After the dissolution of Atticus Capital in 2009, Rothschild became co-chairman of the hedge fund Attara Capital LP, the successor investment manager to the Atticus European Fund, which was previously managed by Atticus Capital. He retired from Attara in December 2011.
Rothschild is the former chairman of Vivarte, a pan-European retailer and owner of the Kookai clothing brand. Appointed in 2000 following NR Atticus’s acquisition of a 32.9% stake, in what was widely regarded as the first hostile proxy fight in France, he led the group though its successful restructuring and subsequent sale to PAI Partners, a French private equity firm in 2004.
He became an alternate director of RIT Capital Partners plc in March 2000, and a full non-executive director in 2004 until 2010 when he stepped down from the RIT board to focus on his other activities. He remains a substantial direct shareholder of RIT and a 35% beneficial shareholder of Five Arrows Limited, a Rothschild holding company whose major asset is shares in RIT.
In 2000, The Observer wrote that, in addition to Rothschild’s then declared inheritance of £500million, his actual inheritance “hidden in a series of trusts in Switzerland is rumoured to be worth £40bn”. Via NR Investments Ltd., his principal investment company, Nathaniel Rothschild was a cornerstone investor in the United Company Rusal initial public offering in January 2010. At the same time Rothschild bought $40million of Glencore bonds convertible into shares upon an IPO.
Also Rothschild’s NR Investments Ltd. is the largest shareholder (26.5% End December 2009) of Volex, a Manchester-based electrical cable maker. Furthermore Nathaniel Rothschild owns an 11% share in BR Properties, a Brazilian property company, and has an interest in various property developments in eastern Europe (Montenegro, Romaniaand Ukraine).
In November 2010, Vallar announced it was buying stakes for $3bn in two listed Indonesia thermal coal (used for power stations) producers for a combination of cash and new Vallar shares, with a view to combining them to create the largest exporter of thermal coal to China, India, and the other emerging economies of Asia. The transaction closed as planned on 8 April 2011.
In June 2011, Rothschild and Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP plc, listed a successor vehicle to Vallar called Vallares (LSE:VLRS) in London Stock Exchange, raising $2.2 billion. Essentially, this was identical in every respect to the first vehicle, which was metals and mining focused, except that the new entity would try to acquire oil & gas assets.
In September, Vallares announced a 50/50 all stock merger with Turkish Energy Champion Genel Energy, valued at $4.2billion.
In 2011, The Sunday Times estimated his personal fortune to be $1.6billion.
In 1994, he married to socialite and model Annabelle Neilson; they divorced in 1997. Rothschild lived for a time in New York before settling in Switzerland in 2000, and according to the Swiss business magazine Bilanz he is a resident of Klosters in Graubünden.
In October 2008, he was the subject of much press speculation when it was revealed that Labour politician Peter Mandelson and the Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska had met when staying on a yacht moored near Corfu, in order to attend a party held by Rothschild. After speculation that this might constitute a conflict of interest for Mandelson, Rothschild wrote a letter to The Times alleging that another guest was Conservative Shadow-Chancellor George Osborne, who, Rothschild claimed, illicitly tried to solicit a donation from the Russian for his party.
Further controversy emerged in the summer of 2009, when it was revealed that Mandelson (recently appointed First Secretary of State) would be returning to Corfu to stay in a villa owned by Rothschild, despite in effect acting as Prime Minister during Gordon Brown’s holiday absence.
Internet security experts are scrambling to assess the extent of the breach caused by a massive bug called Heartbleed in the OpenSSL technology that runs encryption for two-thirds of the web and went unnoticed for two years until last week
A newly discovered bug in software supposed to provide extra protection for thousands of the world’s most popular websites has exposedhighly sensitive information such as credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords, security researchers said.
The discovery of the bug, known as Heartbleed, has caused several websites to advise their users to change their passwords.
“This might be a good day to call in sick and take some time to change your passwords everywhere — especially your high-security services like email, file storage, and banking, which may have been compromised by this bug,” Tumblr wrote in a note to its many users.
“The little lock icon (HTTPS) we all trusted to keep our passwords, personal emails, and credit cards safe, was actually making all that private information accessible to anyone who knew about the exploit.”
Yahoo, the owner of Tumblr, confirms that its users’ passwords have been compromised.
The bug was discovered late last week in the OpenSSL technology that runs encryption for two-thirds of the Internet. The researchers who discovered it said that most Internet users “are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly.”
It was found simultaneously by a Google security researcher and a small security firm named Codenomicon and disclosed Monday night.
Experts are now scrambling to asses the extent of the security breach, because the bug remained undiscovered for two years. Hackers may have exploited it without leaving footprints.
“We have tested some of our own services from attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace,” Codenomicon wrote on their newly created website about the bug.
According to several security experts, it is one of the most serious security flaws uncovered in many years.
“Heartbleed is like finding a faulty car part used in nearly every make and model, but you can’t recall the Internet and all the data you put out on it,” Jonathan Sander, vice president of research and technology for Stealthbits Technologies, a cybersecurity firm, told the Los Angeles Times.
London Taxi drivers will soon be permitted to fit new digital advertising screens on top of their cabs – but only in return for paying a higher annual licence fee.
Transport for London is set to approve the installation of the screens, which are capable of displaying video and illuminated adverts, to 1,000 TX4 cabs.
The number of cabs allowed to install the screens is being limited “to ensure the visual impact of the London taxi and the streetscape of London is maintained” but the cap could be lifted depending on feedback.
Drivers wishing to add the screens will need to apply for a new vehicle licence costing £170 – £68 more than the standard fee.
TfL claims the increase is justified because it will face higher costs to licence cabs fitted with the screens and that it “needs to pass that charge on to the vehicle owners whose taxis will carry them, via a higher vehicle licence fee.”
Personally I do not like these roof top digital advertising signs, but I cannot find any justification for TFL to charge higher licensing fees for taxis that carry roof top advertising.
How can TFL incur higher costs to license Taxis that carry this type of advertising? Are they saying that they will have to check the advertising? Or that the need to make sure that the screens on each side of the roof top sign work ok? If this is the case then why have taxis that carry internal digital advertising not charged more for their license fees? In fact why are all taxis that carry some form of advert not charged more.
TFL do not give any valid reasons to back up their so called “justified increase” other than to say that it will cost them more to license these taxis? How?
The current test is only supposed to be a safety inspection, so other than quickly checking the mounting points to ascertain that the unit is secure on the roof I cannot see what else they would need to do, so a quick tug here and a there should be sufficient to test the security of the mounts which would take all of about 30 seconds! Not bad money if you can get, as that works out to £7920 per hour.
Maybe someone from TFL could explain the justification for this extra charge? Or is it just another way of putting pressure on the London Taxi Trade to extract more money from an already suffering part of the transport network?
The word on the rumour mill is that there is a real danger of a 10 year ago limit being announced for London Taxis next week.
I have heard this rumour from various sources this week and also read it on a couple of sites.
7000 Taxis could be affected by a 10 years age limit!
It is not yet known whether this suggested 10 year rule will be for all taxis or just new taxis, either way it will have a devastating affect on our trade.
If the 10 years age limit is to be aimed at all taxis then it would render 1/3 of the total London Taxi Fleet useless as at some point in the near future these vehicles would have to be taken off the road.
We have already seen the effects of the 15 year age limit which was compounded by LTC going into administration and the shortage of taxis available to buy or rent which is still being felt by the trade to this day, so a 10 year age limit would be devastating.
It would mean that there are fewer taxis to rent, and those that are available would attract a premium rental fee!
There would be less taxis available in the second hand market and we would see those that are available selling for and even higher price than they are already fetching.
The 15 year age limit has seen taxis selling for the same money today as they were fetching over 4 years ago!
If LTPH and TFL instigate a 10 year rule next week, where do they think the shortfall of available taxis is going to be met from?
Unlike Private Hire, we as Taxi drivers are restricted by the Metropolitan Conditions of Fitness as to what vehicles we are allowed to drive and present for licensing, we cannot choose from the vast amount of cars available to private hire as they do not meet the requirements.
The effect this proposed age limit would have on some of the smaller fleets really is not worth thinking about, many garages and small fleets run lots of TX2′ as rental taxis, these vehicles could become worthless overnight sending garages and small fleet owners to the wall.
When the 15 year age limit was introduced the effect was considerable, many taxis that were still serviceable were forced into early retirement, but after 15 years on the road many fleets would have been changing these older taxis anyway. also a lot of taxis around 15 years old would have been deemed uneconomical to kep on the road and would have been scrapped to provide parts for others. This meant the total number of taxis affected was much lower than it could have been.
But a 10 year age limit would see thousands of taxis that are still serviceable and in good condition forced off the road, where will these taxis go? Does TFL really thunk that these taxis will just disappear off the face of the earth never to be seen again?
The reality is that these taxis which are still quite serviceable will probably end up in private ownership, still being used in London as cheap people carriers and still adding to the pollution in London
Figures confirm that unto 8270 Taxis could be taken off the road by imposing a 10 year age limit!