The roots of IQTaxi are located in another company in Thessaloniki, Compucon SA, which had previously undertaken the creation of taxi computing systems.
‘‘Considering that at some point the Compucon system was considered technologically obsolete, I was invited to modernize the specific system. In the meanwhile, Compucon changed its business activities, and so the department that was carrying out the taxi project withdrew from the company. This is how IQSystems was created, which was later renamed IQTaxi, and officially launched as of November 2014’’, says the head of business operations, KeramarisVassilios, at Voria.gr.
Its founders are a team of technology specialists, VassilisKeramaris, the director of IQTaxi, Christos Iakovidis, the head of the company’s programmers, and Vassilis Karkabounas, the chief technology officer.
Its core is in Thessaloniki, where its management team and developers, consisted of 8 people in total, are based; the city that has been trying in recent years through the Alexander Innovation Zone to become the innovation centre of the country and the wider region. In Thessaloniki it cooperates with the Taxiway radio taxi company, which is also its most important customer with 1,100 cooperating vehicles. In Attica it collaborates with the taxi management companies, Kosmos, Taxiplon, Enotita, Parthenon, Ikaros, Ermis, Europe, GetNowTaxi, Capital. In the rest of Greece, IQTaxi currently operates in various cities, such as Komotini, Xanthi, Kavala, Volos, Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa, Corfu, Lefkada, Chalkida, Kalamata, Rethymno as well as radio taxis in Athens. It has moreover implemented through the 18300 system a Panhellenic taxi service programme, which is available in 27 cities, in cooperation with Taxiway and Kosmos.
How does it work
Its role is to supply the operating system to vehicle fleet management companies, such as radio taxi companies. It has created a platform, which is installed on the user’s computer, who receives calls from customers who order a taxi. Through the platform, it has the ability to watch via live stream the position of each car of the fleet in the geographical region covered by the taxi company. The IQTaxi operating system registers all incoming calls and automatically bids by selecting the driver that is most readily available to serve the customer.
In addition, it provides the option to call a taxi for the customers of a radio taxi company, through programmes for smart phones and web applications in the form of white label, i.e., they are applications, each of which carries the name of the IQTaxi customer.
As the company manager in Europe, Mr. Christakopoulos, explains, IQTaxi offers its software to taxi companies in the form of white label. ‘‘What we do is to create applications, each of which carries the name of our customer who orders it’’.
Presence in USA – Saudi Arabia – Next target Asia and the Balkans
IQTaxi specialises in taxi software development not only in Greece, but also in Cyprus and Bulgaria, and is also active in the United States. It already supports two companies in Bulgaria and another 15 in the USA, most of them based in New York, Connecticut and New Orleans. It has also created a project for the market of Saudi Arabia.
According to Mr. Keramaris, the company’s goal is to further grow in the USA and the Balkans and to expand to the market of Asia.
To the question of potential entry barriers in the US market, the IQTaxi manager replies that the most important difficulty encountered by the company is related to finding funding. ‘‘However, we have managed to cover the amount required to invest in the USA, through the European programme, JEREMIE, the Odyssey Venture Partners company with its head office in Silicon Valley, which funded us. The amount we received in this case amounted to $750,000. At the same time, we are preparing for our future participation in some European research programmes.’’
At the moment, all three New York taxi companies, UTOG, Athena and Olympic, that belong to expatriates, use the IQTaxi platform and programmes.
‘‘We pay particular attention to the United States’’, adds Mr. Keramaris. ‘‘We have already begun setting up a programme, which supports private companies that administer ambulances. This particular project is currently serving 200 ambulances’’.
Collaboration with Athena Vision with prospects for expansion in other states as well
‘‘Moreover, we have completed a new programme, which is to be launched immediately from August in New York. It is about the TaxiOS, which we created for the Athena Vision company through the acquisition, on their behalf, of Flywheel company, which will initially operate in the state with 2,000 yellow taxis, and will be extended to other US states. The programme is about the modernisation of taximeter and payment operation inside the taxi. Everything will be done electronically as the taximeter will be digital via tablet. Thus, the customer will be able to pay either by card or through other means of electronic payment. In addition, there will be an application via tablet at the back seat of the passengers, through which the passenger will be informed about the progress of his journey as well as about some points of interest during the journey, such as the available shops’’, Mr. Christakopoulos explains.
At the TIF with the honoured country USA
In autumn, along with other innovative companies from Thessaloniki and all over Greece, IQTaxi will participate in the Thessaloniki International Fair, where the honoured country is the United States of America.
IQTaxi in numbers
- Installed in more than 10,000 vehicles
- It has served over 20 million calls worldwide
- 30% increase in customer service calls per year