Transportation is a crucial element in any economy, especially one with a large population like Nigeria. As a result, innovation is important in making transportation easier, safer and more convenient. Below is an interview that was conducted between our rep and Bankole Cardoso, the 25-year old Managing Director of Easy Taxi Nigeria.
Tell us a bit about your background
I was born and raised in Lagos before attending Boston College where I studied business management, majoring in accounting. I started my career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City where I became certified and then I moved on to the Carlyle Group in New York. After studying and working abroad for 12 years, I had a burning desire to move back home permanently to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavour where I could also make an impact in my country.
What inspired you to start Easy Taxi in Nigeria?
I was living in New York City where a similar concept operated. Despite the fact that there were numerous cabs available in New York this service still made life easier and more convenient. It’s no different from Lagos. Despite the availability of a decent number of taxis, it is difficult to hail taxis at your convenience and when you do there is the safety concern. I felt that Easy Taxi could bring a solution to this inherent need and create a more efficient method of hailing a taxi.
How does Easy Taxi work in Nigeria and what are the benefits of using this app?
Easy Taxi is a Smartphone application that connects drivers and passengers in a smooth, easy and safe way. The value proposition is straight-forward: Simply download the Easy taxi app on Google Play Store or the App store. Open the Easy Taxi app, which is available for iOS, Android and the new BlackBerry devices. Confirm your pickup point and then order your cab at the click of a button. In seconds you’ll receive confirmation of the name, photo, phone number and car model/license plate number of your driver, and you will be able to follow the vehicle’s location in real-time as it approaches you.
With the Easy Taxi app, you can save favourite addresses, check your ride history and use many more features, which are constantly being added as the app is upgraded. All Easy Taxi drivers are checked for compliance before joining the network, so passengers are ensured of their safety whenever they use our services.
What challenges are you currently facing in implementing Easy Taxi in Nigeria?
Of course, doing business in Nigeria comes with unique challenges particular to the country. Internet connectivity is always a concern. Easy Taxi relies on the Internet to locate our customers and our drivers so we are heavily dependent on strong Internet connections provided by the telecoms networks. However we have been able to manage the situation by creating support systems with the help of a committed and dedicated team.
What do you envision for Easy Taxi in the long run?
I see Easy Taxi changing the standard of taxi services in Lagos. It is a new, innovative and exciting way to hail a taxi and I am confident that as long as we stick to our principles of providing FAST, EASY and SAFE rides, we can deliver the best transportation service and become the leading taxi requesting service in Nigeria.
What will you say are the key elements for staring and running an innovative venture?
The most important elements for starting and running an innovative venture are; understand your business, be adaptable and hire cooperative, enthusiastic and committed staff. I had certain ideas when starting Easy Taxi but quickly realized that nobody knows the business better than the drivers themselves. You must be prepared to listen and adapt your ideas quickly and make sure that you have a very good team available to implement any changes. Once you have these three elements in place I think you can run a very efficient and smooth operation.
Can you comment on Nigeria’s emerging market as an integral factor in growing your business?
Nigeria’s emerging economy is a massive factor in growing Easy Taxi. Smartphone penetration is increasingly on the rise and Nigerians are becoming more tech savvy and are making more use of the internet on their phones. Easy Taxi is already benefitting from this Smartphone adoption as we have experienced an increase in the number of app downloads and bookings via the Easy Taxi app. In this technologically evolving society, Easy Taxi is strategically positioned to maximize the opportunities that Nigeria’s emerging market presents.