How three Ivorian entrepreneurs built TaxiJet, the Uber of Francophone Africa

Abu Mubarik February 20, 2023
Taxijet was launched in 2015. Photo via Integr8.Africa

Until recently, ride-hailing apps were not present in Cote D’Ivoire and many countries in Africa. So when Parfait Ouattara saw how U.S. transportation giant Uber took the world by storm, he decided to replicate it in his home country.

In 2011, he began developing the app with his two other brothers– Issa Sidibé and Pete Angel, as co-founders. In 2015, they launched TaxiJet modeled around Uber but with some variations to ensure subscribers benefit more. 

In other words, local taxis on TaxiJet still get to pick up their own customers in addition to TaxiJet customers received via the app. According to Market Frontiers, the taxi startup, by 2017, had accumulated over 10,000 customers with over 100 bookings per day.

What is more, drivers who subscribe to the platform are given a smartphone with the app already installed and can start driving for TaxiJet immediately, paying the company a 10% commission on each fare and keeping the rest. 

According to Ouattara, who doubles as the CEO of the startup, he and his team were motivated by a desire to create a safer, more reliable transportation experience for riders by leveraging the increased presence of smartphones in his home country.

“People were not feeling secure using a taxi. Most of the time, [customers] can be waiting 15-30 mins, one hour because you don’t have a taxi,” he told CNN. “We created TaxiJet to help the drivers know exactly where the customers are, and for the customers to know where the driver is.” 

In addition, TaxiJet trains drivers to act professionally, including how to obey traffic laws, and treat customers and their surroundings respectfully. The idea is to make the ride-hailing app more appealing to not only customers but investors as well.

“We are helping [drivers] to increase their revenue and reduce the amount of time they are empty. It’s a very different business model [than Uber or Lyft], so we are not controversial,” said Sidibe in an interview with the BBC.

In 2015 when Taxijet launched, the city of Abidjan had about 2 million people, with 12,000 taxis to 300,000 users daily, according to France24. Taxijet was introduced to fill the gap.

In a 2017 interview, Ouattara shared that TaxiJet plans to own 10 percent of the market share in Cote D’Ivoire by 2022 and also expand to neighboring countries in West Africa, including America and Europe.

Ouattara and his team pride themselves on building the Uber of Francophone Africa. In fact, Taxijet was the first app of its kind in Abidjan when it was unveiled.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 20, 2023


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