LONDON — Operators may recall the name, but this is a new Karhoo. Co-CEO Boris Pilichowski offers a brighter view for the future of the global marketplace where taxi and private-hire fleets can offer service through their platform.
Learning from the Past
Karhoo started in 2016 as a taxi aggregator mobile app competing directly with transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. In 2018, a new management team brought on the Renault Group, a French multinational automobile manufacturer, to recapitalize the company with a new business model leveraging the relationship with fleets and dispatch management systems around the world.
“We are now a marketplace platform allowing businesses in digital travel, assistance, and various goods and services industries to embed e-hailing straight into their websites and apps, with the goal of improving their client travel experience through mobility and building new revenue streams,” he explains.
The company is based in London with offices in Paris, Krakow, New York, and a regional presence for business development all over the world. They hope to grow supply and demand on a global scale to become one of the largest mobility exchange platforms in the world. “In today’s world, a mobility exchange can only be relevant if it is global,” Pilichowski says.
The new Karhoo focuses on choices for the end-user; a trend that has increased with the many options available for consumers via internet marketplaces. For each trip request, various options of price, pickup time, vehicle size, and quality of service will be proposed.
Naturally, Karhoo must be able to cater to any kind of traveler, including higher-end passengers and business travelers, as well as the occasional consumer who’d like to enjoy luxury transportation as a special treat.
“As not everyone is accustomed to using a limousine company for their needs, suggesting enhanced rides for mainstream users through Karhoo will increase business opportunities for luxury transportation players.” It’s another form of marketing that will put the concept out there to capture the interest of travelers who may not have ever thought it was an option.
Different from Other Platforms
Karhoo stresses it does not compete with taxi and for-hire fleets and apps. They are a business channel, marketing platform, and technical system enabler that allow existing operators to extend their reach and connect to powerful brands, which will become significant distribution channels for mobility.
“We will only work with established, regulated fleets; we’re not further disrupting the market, but allowing traditional fleets to better cope with disruptors by multiplying and digitizing distribution channels.” This separates the company from other app-based platforms such as iCars, Blacklane, Uber, and Lyft.
Nothing to Lose
Joining Karhoo is free to all early adopters and can be done online through the company’s website (karhoo.com). Its fleet onboarding team will then contact applicants. “The only technical constraint is fleets must use one of the many dispatch management solutions already connected to Karhoo,” Pilichowski explains. “If they do not, we have various options to allow for self or assisted integration through our open APIs. Fleets quote the price they want to receive for a job, and the marketing channel adds a small uplift which may differ based on the brand.”
The company is in the early stages of U.S. development and has been detailed in building and testing the core platform before fully expanding here. It has a trusted list of pilot launch supply partners, including Windy City Limousine and Bus in Chicago; Greene Worldwide Transportation in Atlanta; Dolphin Transportation in Florida; Old Dominion Transportation Group Inc. in Virginia; and East Coast Limousine in New York.
Karhoo connects to them via dispatch technology partners like Livery Coach, Hudson, FASTTRAK, Limosys, iCabbi, and GRiDD. “These fleets will be the first to take advantage of the global and European based brands looking for ground transport partners in the U.S.”
Just Getting Started
Karhoo’s just started rolling out in the U.S., as up until now it has focused on building European business, Pilichowski says.
“The U.S. market is very different from Europe, and we are expanding our team of business development, integration consultants, and marketplace operations staff to ensure we can provide our partners with a great marketplace experience.”
Originally posted on LCT Magazine