Ireland a glowing success for Hailo
Ahead of his visit to Dublin’s Web Summit next week Hailo co-founder Jay Bregman says the success of taxi hailing app here has helped firm refine its service worldwide
Jay Bregman, co-founder of Hailo: “What we see happening and what we hope for is that as the market for these taxi applications becomes more established there will be a harmonised policy standard across the countries, regions and the world, which will make it much easier to regulate apps that are licensed.”
The service, which began in London, was set up by Bregman along with executive chairman Ron Zeghibe, chief operations officer Caspar Woolley, and driver community leaders Russell Hall, Gary Jackson, and Terry Runham in 2011, with Dublin the second city on the list.
Although Dublin may be smaller than some of the other cities where Hailo has launched its electronic hailing system – it’s a fraction of the size of London or New York, for example – it seems that Irish people have taken to the service in a big way.
“Irish consumers are by no means afraid of new technology – they are some of the biggest advocates of trying something new if they think it will help them,” he says.
Bregman will get the chance to meet with some of those consumers at the Web Summit in Dublin next week.
“Entrepreneurship is in the Irish blood,” he says.
“I think over the next couple of years you will see companies that are born in Ireland become international successes,” continues Bregman.
For Hailo, the only way is up, and Ireland has played a role in that.
The app has been downloaded more than 325,000 times in Ireland to date, and is growing at a rate of 5,000 to 6,000 per week.
“Its growth has been staggering,” says Bregman.
“I continuously make bets with Tim, the general manager, and I lose because I never actually bet high enough to accommodate the growth we’re seeing.”
Since its Dublin launch last year, the service has been expanded into regions around the country, with Cork next to get it, followed by Limerick and Galway.
Ireland has the potential to become one of the biggest regions for Hailo, Bregman says.
But aside from the growth, the experience in Ireland is helping to refine the service as a whole, with best practice filtering throughout the company.
Although generally viewed as a small market, the establishment in the city opened up the possibility of a country-wide service.
“There are no bounds. Because of Ireland, we’ve developed the application not just to be Dublin’s taxi app but to be Ireland’s taxi app,” he says. “Ireland will be the first country that we really have mass supply adoption.”
The service is aiming to have more than 50 per cent of vehicles using Hailo within the next 12 to 18 months. “That’s pretty staggering,” he says. “Ultimately Ireland is our real testbed for that nationwide coast-to-coast coverage.”