Graduates of the Harvard Business School, the founders of SaferTaxi are well on their way to becoming Start-Up Chile’s first billion dollar company and, with business operating in Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, they’re one of the program’s most developed startups.
Founded in August of 2009, “SaferTaxi seeks to modernize and transform the Latin American taxi industry by allowing every taxi customer to have a choice to choose their driver as to feel comfortable and safe no matter their location,” according to the founders Clemens Raemy (CEO), Jonathan Lo (COO), and Diego Massanti (CTO). With their mobile application (now available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and symbian), customers can reserve taxis, pay the rate, leave comments about the driver, accumulate miles for their trips, and reserve taxis for the future, all from their smartphone with no cash required.
The innovative spirit of the startup and and its founders caught the attention of a handful of investors including Tim Draper, who is famous for funding successful startups such as Hotmail, Skype, Baidu, Tesla, and over 600 other companies. Draper’s capital was then complimented the pair of Hernan Kazah y Nicolas Szekazy– cofounders of Mercadolibre and Mercadopago, who left their positions in the company to start their own venture capital firm, Kaszek Ventures, of which SaferTaxi is among the first to receive funding. Together, the firms provided the startup with $1m in funding to expand operations.
Cristobal Llugany, SaferTaxi’s General Manager in Chile, says that with the infusion of funding, they are “putting together the best team possible while working with large Chilean companies and the Chilean government to provide the best and most convenient solution for both the taxi customers and drivers.” He adds that the use of the application could provide a solution to the “all too common drunk driving problem, helping to avoid accidents and tragedies that result from driving under the influence.”
Currently they are working with 3,000 taxis in Buenos Aires, Argentina, have signed an accord with Nokia who will begin to promote the application via their phones (which cover nearly 40% of the market), and have signed a deal with the Mayor of Estación Central, a municipality of Santiago, to promote SaferTaxi as a better alternative to regular taxis while kicking off a public campaign to teach people in the area how to use the application.