Record growth and innovation at eCabs

eCabs’ CEO, Matthew Bezzina, met The Malta Business Weekly for an insight into how the company’s business has changed since the onset of the pandemic, and the way forward from here.

 

“eCabs registered record numbers throughout the summer months, defying the general economic and tourism downward trends. This success boils down to strategic focus and an incessant investment in people and technology,” says eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina. 

 

Business wise, do you feel eCabs are over the worst of the pandemic hit? 

The pandemic hit us worse than most other sectors because our business thrives on mobility and connecting people; two elements decimated through social distancing restrictions. But we believed the crisis was temporary and we bounced back, gaining tremendous growth and market share. An independent survey ranked us as the leading local ride-hailing service provider in Malta. This summer, we managed to exceed 2019 volumes (incidentally a record year) in a summer market that has seen a 75% drop in incoming tourism numbers. Throughout Covid, the team showed impressive stamina and commitment, and we are now reaping the benefits of all that hard work with healthy double-digit growth over the best year the company has ever had. The indicators couldn’t look any better. 

 

What do you attribute this post-pandemic success to? 

We stuck to our vision without allowing the pandemic to disrupt us and we amplified our focus on every tactical decision, optimised costs, tapped into new sources of business, and ensured we kept adapting to evolving circumstances. The team’s all hands-on-deck commitment, complemented by shareholders’ determination to accelerate investment in technology was another factor. 17 months on, we are stronger than ever, with a much-improved product and a best-in-class fully-owned mobility tech platform used daily by over 800 partner drivers with a consistent growth of 5-star customer rating. 

 

What do you think of the new normal? 

Smooth seas never bred skilled sailors. Covid made us bring the best in us all both emotionally and commercially. From an HR perspective, the new normal ushered in a new breed of determined team members and today, we are together stronger, grittier, faster and more motivated. Of course, there was collateral damage but we also learnt some great positive lessons.  

 

What are your predictions for the coming months? 

From a business and market share perspective we are expecting the same growth patterns of the last quarter. Covid has readjusted travel and behavioural patterns, so we expect to see the same positive tourism numbers throughout the rest of Q4. Locally, decreases in costs and subsequently in pricing have driven further adoption of our service. We are committed to remain the ride-hailing service with the shortest waiting time at the best prices, as we strive to reflect these optimizations on customer prices. The medium term is looking even better as mobility grows but we are excited by our north star: the internationalization of our technology operations into multiple regions as of next year. 

 

eCabs has been increasingly focusing on the technology side of business. Does this now define the organization?  

eCabs today is a mobility product and technology company employing over 50 technologists with 10 nationalities in 5 different countries. The number increased substantially over the past 17 months and will be exponentially growing in the medium to long term as we continue building our fully IP-owned tech platform drawing upon 11 years of invaluable experience operating in one of the world’s most dense road networks. We see the future in our mobility business as one that is defined by data aggregation and machine learning, to enable machine-made decisions at speed and scale as well as exponential improvements and product automation. This level of intensive optimisation will enable us to be always faster and cheaper, without ever compromising on service levels. 

 

As the concept of sustainability increasingly dominates the agenda, where are you at with your project launched earlier this year to operate a fully Eco-friendly fleet by 2025? Is this project really feasible? 

To date, our Eco cab category in our app allows clients the option to order Eco vehicles. We also added 120 partner drivers using Eco vehicles by giving financial incentives, so they keep investing in green vehicles. We have added three fully-electric cabs to our existing hybrids, as part of a pilot project to assess industry adaptability and feasibility. We need government to invest more in the right charging infrastructure and to incentivize fleet-conversion. We also need constant communication with all stakeholders, especially government and regulators, to design incentives for partner drivers and fleet operators to shift to cleaner vehicles. The project is as feasible as all the stakeholders make it.  

 

eCabs currently operates with over 800 partner drivers. Why do you call them ‘partner drivers’?  

The term ‘partner driver’ replaced the industry term ‘self-employed driver’ and reflects the relationship we want to have with our drivers. Our partner drivers are crucial stakeholders just like our clients. Although our group owns a fleet, many other fleets work on our platform. Today, the majority of trips are fulfilled by our growing list of partner drivers, who go through a rigorous onboarding process to be allowed to offer our service. We nurture consistent and open communication with all our partners because this is the only way a sustainable industry can thrive. 

 

What kept you back from implementing the partner driver model before? 

Unlike others in the market, we always worked within the parameters of the regulatory framework. This took long and it was only in October 2020, following a period of consultation, that the new regulations for “Light Passenger Transport Services” were launched. This regularized the position of all partner drivers. We started onboarding partner drivers and in a matter of months our success was beyond expectations, a success that is due to our approach where partner drivers are not considered as numbers, but business partners who invested in their vehicle and want to provide an exceptional service to our joint client-base. 

 

What other milestones have defined eCabs’ operations over the past year?   

The past year was all about technology. We launched our own very successful and advanced in-App-based loyalty scheme eCabs Circle, whilst re-building and enhancing our own App with multiple iterations. Most of our new tech made our system more robust and scalable and led to the new partner driver platform which was inexistent. The future should bring us more technology to keep on reinventing the next mobility game-changer. 

 

Read the article:

https://maltabusinessweekly-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/maltabusinessweekly.com/record-growth-and-innovation-at-ecabs/16009/amp/

 

 

eCabs reinventing the last mile delivery industry through FastDrop.

New 24/7 last mile platform set to permanently change delivery services in Malta.

 

Local mobility tech industry leaders eCabs have stepped up investment in their last mile platform FastDrop to bring to the market exceptional service, a new paradigm in last mile delivery and affordable rates, new and improved services that enable even the smallest of stores to be part of the e-commerce market. eCabs is now aiming to become the leading last mile player in the industry, leveraging its unique technology platform with the Maltese market serving as a global showcase for the platform.

 

Having announced their global strategic partnership with German tech company M-Tribes in August, FastDrop General Manager Greta Borg explains, “strategically, we are tackling in the same way we revolutionised the cab market in Malta: invest in technology, team up with the best minds in the segment, build a platform on our own intellectual property, take it to the Maltese market and then expand globally.” Greta added that “what has resulted today is an incredible demand for our services translated into the daily delivery of thousands of packages of all sizes and nature, and all this in a matter of weeks.”

 

The accelerated growth of FastDrop is due to a constantly increasing long list of satisfied B2B clients who are experiencing a process driven platform which is easy to use, empowers the business with data and live tracking, provides the fastest and most cost-effective delivery times on the market with live proof of delivery and offers an unmatched 24/7 service including live support even on public holidays.

 

Being tech first, the sky is the limit on where FastDrop has set its sights. The product development roadmap is packed solid with features which include eCommerce plug-ins for quick deployment of an eCommerce last mile offering, as well as labelling and scanning with the innovative and brand friendly use of QR codes, unique in this type of deployment. Other features will include end customer tracking through mobile application, empowering customers to also affect delivery date and time changes quickly and easily.

 

Greta Borg underlined the eCabs philosophy in deploying FastDrop in Malta emphasising that “from day one, our aim has been to empower local businesses with an effective, efficient and inexpensive last mile capability which can offer value through a round-the-clock service in Malta and Gozo. FastDrop is also enabling its clients to make use of the unique 24/7 capability. Whilst most businesses are closed on Sunday, today’s consumer expectations means that customers are open to delivery of packages any time, any day.  “Some business clients have started taking advantage of this operational strength and the numbers in this area are growing. We have found ways with some to enable stock collection in the early hours of the morning when the same business is closed, at no extra cost to the business and the customer”.

 

As the business grows day-on-day, the Company is shaping new products largely in the middle mile segment through which FastDrop would be enabling the business to outsource its internal logistics including warehouse to store, and store to store stock movements. This will eliminate internal inefficiences and mitigate costly inventory stock piling and other operating expenditure such as the cost of maintaining vehicles and delivery personnel.

 

Read more:

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/how-ecabs-fastdrop-service-is-reinventing-last-mile-delivery

 

 

 

 

 

eCabs sign agreement with Germany-based tech company M-TRIBES.

The partnership is a first step towards the internationalisation of eCabs’ technology.

 

The founders of eCabs and M-TRIBES, a Germany-based software provider for mobility and logistics businesses recently announced to extend their technology partnership and offer a unique bundle of ride-hailing and delivery software and services in Europe and Northern Africa.

 

Following their collaboration on creating FastDrop, eCabs’ last-mile delivery-as-a-service platform, the two companies will optimize the utilization of their workforce and assets to market eCabs’ fully IP-owned ride-hailing platform, as well as the joint FastDrop delivery technology.

 

Whereas M‑TRIBES is planning to refocus its ambitions in the ride-hailing segment to resell the eCabs technology, FastDrop by eCabs becomes M‑TRIBES principal business partner for product and business development in the Last and Middle Mile Delivery category.

 

“The last mile segment has long been in our sights. Back in 2019, we tested the market and quickly validated our hypothesis on the opportunities that existed. Our partnership with M-TRIBES enabled us to fast track the deployment of FastDrop. Now this relationship has grown to combine our joint expertise in transport software and operations to power independent operators in both spaces of ride hailing and last mile within the EMEA region, and help to expand their business”, explained the eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina.

 

For eCabs the extended partnership marks an important step forward on its journey defined by the experience of providing ride-hailing operations for more than 11 years, as well as intelligent investments that have enabled the Malta-based operator to defend the market-leader position in the highly competitive ride-hailing space within the region. Having built a powerful technology setup that has been tested in the road dense local market, eCabs is now taking a bold step on the path of going international, with an integrated mobility solution.

 

eCabs has been working since 2020 with M-TRIBES as part of its long-term vision to move into 3rd party logistics, with the launch of FastDrop to specifically service the last mile and middle mile segment in Malta. FastDrop is poised to overhaul the local last mile market through B2B partnerships, with the aim of bridging the gap and improving last mile services and consumer communications, with timely and well communicated delivery in the local and foreign eCommerce space.

 

A fruitful business relationship quickly emerged after the companies started collaborating at the height of the pandemic. To develop the FastDrop platform, like-minded professionals from both companies in the field of product development and technology worked on the existing and powerful M-Tribes platform M-TOOLS, enhancing it through the added operational expertise that eCabs boasts.

 

M‑TRIBES founding partners Patrick Arle and Marian-Maximilian Martens recently met with eCabs founding partners Matthew Bezzina and Dr.Andrew Bezzina in Malta, to discuss details of the MOU.

 

Matthew Bezzina, eCabs CEO concludes, “The synergies between M‑TRIBES and eCabs are strongly rooted in a great personal understanding as well as a technology first culture. This is an important step for us in that we can look at accelerating our international aspirations to see our ride hailing technology landing in other large and respectable European markets, whilst we keep on investing in the FastDrop product to build it into an unrivalled brand. The more we look overseas, the more we see exciting opportunities that are there for the taking. We are very excited by the prospects that this great understanding with Patrick, Marian and the M‑TRIBES team brings with it”.

 

In order to exploit the full potential of their partnership an understanding between the two organizations has grown such that eCabs and M‑TRIBES are investing on two new areas of their collaboration. Whereas M‑TRIBES is planning to refocus its ambitions in the ride-hailing segment to resell the eCabs technology, FastDrop by eCabs becomes M‑TRIBES principal business partner for product and business development in the Last and Middle Mile Delivery category.

 

M-TRIBES CEO, Patrick Arle highlights the like mindedness in both aspirations and work ethic the companies share. “We are very excited to be expanding our partnership with eCabs. Our companies have developed a mutual understanding on many levels and we both share the belief that the combination of our offering fits like a glove to the needs of independent operators.”

 

“Together with eCabs we now look forward to build bigger international opportunities quicker than we both could have before. Wrapping up our offering of ride-hailing and delivery technology will enable local and independent operators to thrive in times of massive change in the transportation industry.”

 

Read more:

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/ecabs-sign-agreement-with-germany-based-m-tribes

https://whoswho.mt/en/ecabs-sign-agreement-with-germany-based-software-provider-m-tribes 

https://mediterranean.observer/malta-ecabs-sign-agreement-with-germany-based-outfit-m-tribes

 

eCabs is cab company of choice in Malta Today survey

The St Julian’s-based company eCabs is the preferred taxi choice for commuters, followed by Bolt, a Polar survey on private taxis has found.

eCabs is the preferred choice of 50.8% of people and its popularity cuts across all age groups and all regions.

Bolt is the preferred choice of 22.4% of people, being more popular among the younger audiences.

Read more:

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/data_and_surveys/109213/ecabs_is_taxi_company_of_choice

eCabs’ service becomes even safer, more personal

eCabs has launched four new cab categories within its mobile App to help customers make better and easier choices and improve the user experience when booking their mobility requirements.

The four options – Eco, Pets, Booster Seat and Assist – are set to contribute to an even safer and more comfortable customer experience, within a faster and simpler booking process through the App, or all other booking channels.

In line with eCabs’ ambitious electric vehicles project, customers may now easily opt for a 100% electric or hybrid vehicle through the Eco option within the App; they can also book a cab with a booster seat for their little travellers or opt for eCabs Assist whenever they need a little extra help and special assistance from trained drivers, in line with eCabs’ Passenger Safety Charter standards.

A cab may also be easily ordered for clients wishing to travel with their pets – whilst eCabs has been pet friendly for over 5 years, the in-App experience and booking flow has now been much improved.

“These new categories aim at providing more personalisation that offers a safer, more reliable and pleasant user experience. Our design and development team is consistently hard at work to improve our product offering for a more intuitive and seamless user experience,” says Simon Debono, eCabs’ Chief Officer for Marketing and Business Development.

This move follows eCabs’ recently announced project that will see it run entirely on green vehicles by 2025 and builds on its commitment to offer more choice with their growing number of partner drivers which can be booked through the eCabs Go category in-App. Partner drivers are also incentivised to go Green through more favourable terms.

“These four new categories define the eCabs brand as a more sustainable and all-inclusive one, which seeks to constantly improve the customer experience. This is one of many more improvements that we will be seeing this year as we keep on consolidating our platform in preparation for our long-term ambitions,” concluded Simon Debono.

 

Read more:

https://newsbook.com.mt/en/ecabs-service-becomes-even-safer-more-personal/

The green way forward

It had to take a deadly pandemic to finally get the world population out of its slumber and embrace the need to save our planet from irreparable damage. Green seems to be the most common buzzword to emerge out of the ongoing pandemic but, by all means, it is justified. Of course, this is not a sudden change but a result of a slow process which has now reached tipping point.

For a few months, last year, around March and April, we were able to witness what it meant to have very few cars on the road as economic activity slowed down. The air was clear; the country, although eerily deserted, more beautiful than it was for ages. Asthma sufferers breathed a sigh of relief.

That seems to contrast heavily with the stark warning coming out of an NSO publication earlier this year highlighting the fact that this country has reached a staggering 400,000 registered vehicles on our roads. That number, being close to Malta’s population, is a wake-up call to all of us that we must now take the decisive step to move towards a truly green economy.

This pandemic has taught us an important lesson: when faced with severe and immediate health risks, people responded. Because we believed that the virus posed such a risk, we took action, collectively. Previously, while most of us are, to a certain extent, aware that the world faced a climate emergency, there was no feeling of immediate concern and action was slow. This has now changed.

Sustainability has been abused as a term for a couple of decades at least but it lies at the heart of the changes we will need to embark upon. Our future and that of our children will be significantly affected by the flights and trips we avoid, the quality of the household goods we choose to buy (or not to), the kind of electricity we use and how we dispose of our waste. Each to his or her own but that will drive real change on a large scale.

The good thing about all this is that, as a nation, we are not alone in this vision. Over the past months, the European Union has pushed forward an unprecedented Green Deal, which has tied considerable EU funding to the green transition. This will hopefully provide us, as a country, with the necessary boost, resource and financial-wise, to prop up the measures we take locally.

However, no government can bring this change alone and neither can a handful of private companies. This will require collective action. While, at eCabs, innovation and change are a raison d’etre of our own existence, we have witnessed the rapid transformation in people’s minds throughout the past months.

The experience of people sharing stories of what should have been a normal thing to do – like walking through a popular promenade without soaking up exhaust fumes from the hundreds of vehicles slowly moving along the road’s traffic – inspired us to take our innovative efforts further.

The events of the past year strengthened our resolve to cement our vision for reducing our impact on the air quality in our country and spearhead a ‘Cleaner eCabs Future’ in everything that we will be doing going forward, including in the future development of our owned spaces.

We are kickstarting this off by committing to an ambitious goal of fully electrifying our fleet by 2025, an investment that will be a substantial one.

I believe this is the future that beckons. COVID-19 has made us all more conscious that green is the way forward. Every business will, ultimately, take this road. If it is not because of intrinsic belief, it will happen because our customers, advisers and banks will, at some point, question our sustainability. We are committed to take a leading role in this drive. Our nation, our families, deserve this.

Matthew Bezzina , CEO of eCabs

 

Read more:

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/the-green-way-forward

eCabs to be 100% Green by 2025

Mobility company eCabs is embarking on an ambitious project that will see it run entirely on green vehicles by 2025. The initiative was announced by eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina in the presence of Minister for Energy, Enterprise, and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli.

 

Minister Dalli welcomed this investment as a strong signal by the private sector that wants to be part of the Government’s vision to decarbonise the economy by 2050.

 

“The private sector will find the Government on its side in its transition towards a more sustainable economy. My Ministry, together with other government entities, is working hard on a holistic strategy that will help encourage the take up of zero and low-emission vehicles,” Dr Dalli said.

 

She explained that a further take up by the private sector will help Malta reach its targets. “We can only reach our national targets if everyone is onboard. The Government is doing its part to encourage and facilitate the use of methods that are less harmful towards the environment, both financially and logistically,” the Minister said.

 

On his part, Mr Bezzina welcomed the commitment from Government adding: “The project to electrify our whole fleet and install all the required infrastructure will mean a significant investment by eCabs, which does require equal commitment from Government to ensure that the infrastructure to support electric mobility be implemented. This support given to this vision is welcome and encouraging”.

 

The electrification process has started with the launch of a number of fully electric vehicles including models from KIA, Hyundai and Citroen that join the existing hybrid vehicles in the eCabs fleet.

 

Mr. Bezzina continued that positives could be taken from the sacrifices all had to endure in 2020, “The restrictions during last year’s lockdown sent our industry into a spiral, but on a more positive note less traffic meant reduced air pollution and cleaner air for everyone. The country although eerily deserted, was more liveable than it was for ages. This strengthened our resolve to cement our ongoing vision towards becoming even more sustainable and inspired our eCabs Greener Future initiative,” stated Matthew Bezzina.

 

“We are seeking more sustainable and cleaner operations in everything we are doing, including the future development of our owned spaces as well as a sustainable framework which includes incentivising and supporting our partner drivers to follow in these footsteps,” added Mr. Bezzina.

 

Concurrently and in support to this commitment, eCabs will also be launching a scheme to incentivise its partner drivers to invest in EVs or Hybrids including an improved financial model and other frameworks.

 

eCabs officially launched its Partner Drivers initiative late last year following the Public Service Garage reform concluded and launched by Government. The initiative offers self-employed drivers the opportunity to work for Malta’s leading home-grown mobility provider non-exclusively, essentially allowing drivers to increase their revenue stream possibilities, much needed in these troubling times.

 

Read more:

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/ecabs-fleet-to-turn-green-by-2025

https://whoswho.mt/en/ecabs-on-the-path-to-be-100-green-by-2025

https://lovinmalta.com/news/ecabs-launches-ambitious-plan-to-go-100-green-by-2025/ 

https://bay.com.mt/ecabs-on-the-path-to-be-100-green-by-2025/

eCabs awarded as most inclusive company

Earlier this year, eCabs expanded its fleet to include a fully equipped van with a motorised lift, capable to serve both wheelchair users and other passengers accompanying them.

To date, 1500 persons have used this service which eCabs has been offering free of charge.

Launched last April, the service is being offered to all persons certified by the CRPD as requiring accessible transport, who would need to visit a hospital or a clinic, be they public or private.

In addition, a training programme was launched together with Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) in order to train staff members how to ensure the right service level is offered to people with disabilities.

At eCabs, inclusivity is not only limited to its employees, but is also reflected through services it offers, in line with its strategic commitment to offer affordable mobility to everyone.

eCabs has just been awarded the ‘Premju Soċjetà Ġusta’ as the workplace that offers the most inclusive environment. eCabs was shortlisted together with another 16 companies including Lombard Bank, GO, Mizzi Organisation, G4S, General Soft Drinks, JF Group, Camilleri Holdings and Maypole amongst others.

Receiving the award, eCabs’ Chief Officer for Human Capital and Corporate Services Marvin Cuschieri said “this award comes as an honour to our company and is testament to the consistent and committed work we undertake to make eCabs a model employer that is looking into the future with resolve towards its ambitious objectives. This year has dealt us quite a surprise and we’ve had to adapt across the board very quickly to be able to support our people and their diverse needs.”

“But this year also taught us a lot, especially that no matter what the circumstances are, we need to keep supporting our people as best we can. The company in fact, offers flexible work arrangements with its staff, learning and development opportunities and promotes an equal and inclusive environment,” added Mr. Cuschieri.

 

Read more:

https://newsbook.com.mt/en/ecabs-awarded-as-most-inclusive-company

 

Human dignity must always remain a priority.

COVID 19 has exposed the ugly side of gig work, leaving vulnerable workers exposed to the brutality of operating in an unregulated market.

As the pandemic tore through economies highly dependent on tourism and travel, ride-hailing drivers witnessed their incomes dwindle, consequently forcing them to work long inhumane hours in deteriorating conditions. It also provided opportunities, and accelerated the rise of delivery, creating industries requiring new skill sets and adjustments to pay expectations.

On the demand side, customers crave the convenience of meals delivered to their homes and offices and taxi rides that are just a tap away. On the supply side, workers grasp the opportunity to work in a flexible manner.

The gig economy is here to stay. In the spirit of fairness and sustainability, Malta must adopt a proactive approach in creating a ‘third way’ of regulating platform/gig economy work, and provide platform workers basic protection from unforeseen economic cycles, seasonal shocks in demand, and on-the-job injuries.

A thriving business should never come at the cost of human dignity. Let’s not wake up when it’s too late.

Matthew Bezzina, eCabs CEO

 

Read more: https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/106209

eCabs Proof That R&D is Way Forward for Country

“Maltese culture is not inducive of risk. Few people are willing to take risks and this is why a company like eCabs who ten years ago took a leap of faith and courage, needs to be a role model for tomorrow’s generations.” 

 

This was stated by Opposition Leader Dr Bernard Grech during a visit to eCabs’ Head Offices in St Julian’s.

 

The Opposition Leader praised eCabs for its long-term vision that notwithstanding the challenges, persevered for 10 years with unwavering determination and courage, invested in innovation and technology and become a leader in mobility.

 

“Malta should put research and development at the top of its priorities and direct serious investment towards this sector because Malta holds a lot of potential and talent that needs to be tapped. Proof of this is the success story that is eCabs – a successful start-up that has grown into an enterprise and is now looking beyond our shores,” said Dr Bernard Grech.

 

“Believing in local talent should not merely stop at applauding start-ups but should translate into tangible actions most notably through the creation of an ecosystem that encourages the flow of venture capital and investment support to move innovative ideas from concept to market,” said eCabs CEO Matthew Bezzina.

 

Matthew Bezzina recalled how 10 years ago, eCabs embarked on a journey to radically transform passenger mobility through the application of technology.

 

“We started small but with big aspirations. We succeeded to make the leap from start-up to enterprise and now making our first steps to take our dream into international waters. The growth-path was far from plain-sailing, within a system that instead of nurturing growth, acted more as a barrier. If Malta wants to be the tech destination it aspires to be, we need to collectively act on empowering start-ups and tech ventures to grow and make the same leap we made,” added Mr Bezzina. 

 

Read more:

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/rd-is-way-forward-for-country-ecabs-ceo

https://maltabusinessweekly.com/ecabs-proof-that-rd-is-way-forward-for-country-ecabs-ceo