Motorcycle Uber is Portuguese, it’s already rolling on the road, promising “faster” rides
ixat already has more than two hundred drivers in the two main cities of the country. The big advantage is speed.
Tiago Lousada and Elisabete Araújo were and are fans of mobility platforms such as Uber and Bolt, but in recent years they have brought with them a difficult problem to solve. There was a cancellation with every transport request. The frequency of outages became unbearable.
The flaw, the 42-year-old Portuguese explains, is the way the system works. “The margins are very small and the driver only sees the value of the journey after accepting the order. If they realize it’s not worth it, they cancel,” he says.
Tiago lived in Angola, where he often used the motorcycle taxi. The scenario repeated itself in Brazil. “I started discussing with Elisabete the possibility of setting up something like this in Portugal, like in Brazilian cities where there were, for example, moto guys.” After studying the market for a few months, they decided to proceed. The former professional swimmer, who worked in sports communications, joined his 44-year-old lawyer friend and created Ixat. The platform hit the market on Friday, October 7 – the application is available on Google Play and the Apple Store.
The main goal was, there it is, to correct the problem of cancellations. “When an order is received, our algorithm notifies the five drivers who receive all the information: departure location, destination and value. The driver no longer has to cancel because he has all the information, and even if he cancels, there are still four others ready to make the trip,” he explains to NiT. “Since the start, we have had a very low failure rate. Two of the drivers who canceled told me it was a mistake to push the button. It was the first trip (laughs).”
The truth is that driving and motorcycling are very different realities. Tiago and Elisabete understand the difference and prepare for it. “Everyone drives a car, but that doesn’t happen with motorcycles. That is why we also aimed at a different target group,” explains Tiago.
“We want to reach students up to the age of 26, who either don’t have a driver’s license or already have a car, but would rather save the money for other things.” They also plan to attract “new workers” who prefer to travel without a car, avoid traffic and move from one point in the city to another without major worries and quickly. That is also the great advantage of engines: speed.
“In Porto and Lisbon, the motorcycle can ride on the bus lanes and if there is traffic, as long as it does not pass through continuous lines, it can escape the traffic jams,” he notes. The other difference is in the price. First of all, there is no dynamic rate for the time being – which fluctuates according to supply and demand – as is the case with other large companies in the market.
“At this stage, we want users to understand that we don’t just want to make money. We talk a lot with the drivers to see if the values are fair, and they understand that, so we will have a fixed base price, plus a value per kilometer,” explains the ixat manager. “Because motorcycles are faster than cars, instead of what the competition does – which charges an extra fee per kilometer and per minute – we don’t charge a per-minute fee.”
In the motorcycle taxi service, there are two categories of vehicles, the prices of which start at six euros base rate plus 60 cents per kilometer. Ixat charges a commission of 10 percent plus three euros. “Our rates are higher for short journeys between two and three kilometres [às restantes TVDE]. Between five and seven kilometers the value is more or less the same. Plus, we’re a bit cheaper,” he notes.
What is certain is that the objectives set for the start-up have already been achieved. After four days, they already have 260 active drivers across the country and “with many more requests to be activated”. It remains to reach the year-end target with two to three thousand active users – they currently have 500.
For now, to access the app, drivers must be over 25 years old and have a motorcycle license of more than three years. Then they just need to make sure they have insurance for passengers and two helmets, one for the user, which must always be sanitized at the time of travel. As for users, access is prohibited to persons over 16 years of age.
Unsurprisingly, 90 percent of drivers are concentrated in Lisbon and Porto, but they guarantee that there is at least one active driver in each of the districts.
For now, the startup is just a matter of two players, the founders. That’s going to change. However, they welcomed an investor who came in with 100 thousand euros, something that is “sufficient” for the time being. Then there is the option to put together your own IT team to manage the application.
In 2023 they want to open the startup “to everyone”. The plan is to create what they call “network crowdfunding,” where “investors will have the opportunity to acquire a stake in Ixat’s share capital, but with many benefits.”