Originally posted in Openfund.
A short six years ago, a peer from our small startup community reached out to share an idea he had written down on a piece of paper. The idea was simple; there is a number of available taxis around you, you should be able to see them and pick the one you prefer the most right from your smartphone.
It was 2010; mobile was just starting, and ‘hybrid’ startups with offline operations felt like a wild bet. Yet we knew and trusted the founder as much as we liked what he was up to, so we offered the first check of €45k, requesting a back seat to join him for the ride. Nobody really had an idea of what would follow. Nobody, but him. Nikos Drandakis, Taxibeat’s founder, meticulously built a small team, crafted a world-class application and onboard a bunch of drivers, one by one.
In the first day of its almost silent launch, @taxibeat reached #1 in greek app store. Good job @libertarian, @kostis & @drandakis
— George Tziralis (@gtzi) May 17, 2011
Email memorabilia from @taxibeat's launch 2 years ago, @drandakis: "Everything gets crazy, simply cannot serve demand, need new hires asap."
— George Tziralis (@gtzi) May 17, 2013
It was not easy. People would call you crazy if you were joining a startup back then, drivers did not own smartphones in the first place, users would not trust an app to get them around, the list goes on. But it was evident right from the first day at launch that Taxibeat was on to something.
Since then, a great lot of things has happened. The company grew the team and the fleet, raised a couple of angel and a Series A round, opened in various locations while building state-of-the-art technology to make things happen. No, we did not get everything right at first; Nikos lived through every part of the startup struggle you would imagine, plus more. Yet day in and day out the team moved forward, building and fixing things, delighting customers, competing successfully against players with two orders of magnitude more resources.
Fast forward to today, the company employs a hundred plus people and serves tens of thousands of drivers and rides every day in Athens and Lima, Peru. It has arguably built one of the best software stacks in the industry out of Greece. It actually stands as the only profitable company in the market, at least to our knowledge.
Today, we are thrilled to share that Daimler acquires Taxibeat via its subsidiary MyTaxi. We could not think of a better place to host Taxibeat’s vision than the most respected automotive company in Europe and one of the largest producers of premium cars in the world. The company has a vested interest in the space on various fronts, and we look forward to Taxibeat having an impact towards an automotive vision that up until recently may have sounded futuristic.
For us, it is clear that every time, every great accomplishment is 100% founder’s work. Taxibeat’s team earned every single driver, every single user, every single ride purely as a result of their hard work. And if we are happy and a bit proud today, we first and foremost are happy for them.
Our startup community now has a new hero. Looking back at where things started, and how far they have gone, one thing is for sure: many are bound to follow. Kudos, Taxibeat; what a ride!