HumanIPO caught up with Rodney Akinwunmi Jackson-Cole, Founder and Lead Developer at Nigerian Software Development company Interactive Shack, which is behind the service. The service is set to go live on Wednesday, 20 December 2012.
HumanIPO: How did the idea for TaxiPark come about?
Rodney Akinwunmi Jackson-Cole: We were brainstorming over new ideas & services last Christmas to build for 2012...our awesome CTO brought up the suggestion to build a Taxi app for Lagos The idea wasn't well structured when it was first cooked up, but over the course of development and testing it's been refined and refined. Now we have the first ever online Taxi booking service in Lagos.
Funding is tough to come by for startups, are you bootstrapped or have you received seed and / or angel investment to develop and fund the business?
We have an awesome angel investor who believes so much in the idea that he invests not just cash but his time & experience.
Kindly elaborate on the TaxiPark idea, is it just an app and site that you hope makes money or is it a business, i.e. more than just an app?
TaxiPark is a service that helps people get around their cities more easily. It goes just beyond the consumers and also helps taxi companies run more effective with tools tailored especially for them. It’s more than just an app, it’s a service that's why we developed the booking service.
We have an idea to build TaxiPark into a service that can help users find available cabs closest to them, but this is a problem because the taxi system in Nigeria is not well structured. No data to play with when it comes to the transport industry.
So we are not just building consumer driven tech but also enterprise solutions for the taxi companies to manage and track drivers. So we are not charging the users anything, we charge the companies for innovation.
We assume then that TaxiPark excludes "Okadas"?
Yes.. okadas (motorbike taxis) are becoming a thing of the past in Lagos. We are investing in the future.
How is the taxi business in Nigeria, is it big enough for you as TaxiPark to make money?
The way we structured our system, we will always make money.
Right now we are the only ones offering this kind of technology to taxi companies and users. So, yes, the market is definitely big enough for us as long as we keep on innovating and building better services.
We are the first. That's different enough. Simplicity and the emphasis on services and not apps is what we code by.
What does the future hold, what are your plans?
To get more relevant data on the transport industry in Nigeria and West Africa and use that to build more interactive and fun services into TaxiPark.