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Cultural diversity

Cultural diversity a key contributor to eCabs & Courium Technologies’ success

Cultural diversity at eCabs and Courium Technologies sees more than 15 nationalities working in the team, fostering creativity and versatility within the mobility company.

Over the past decade, eCabs has grown and evolved to become Malta’s leading ride-hailing firm, powered by the innovation of its sister company Cuorium Technologies. The development of a highly skilled multicultural team has been key to this growth and success. As eCabs looks forward to international expansion, Business Today discusses the challenges and opportunities of building and leading the organisation’s team with Marvin Cuschieri, Chief Officer – People and Talent at eCabs and Cuorium Technologies.

Q: As eCabs and Cuorium Technologies look to expand internationally, you have been very pro-active in building a multicultural team. Why has this been a priority?

MC: Many companies in Malta have multicultural workforces but I think few have really embraced its benefits. We have never viewed bringing international workers on board as a kind of stop gap solution to meet demand. On the contrary, we believe that multiculturalism is essential for business success both in Malta and internationally, and we made it a business goal to build such a team. It’s a fact that diverse teams are more creative. People from different backgrounds work and gain knowledge in varied ways, which is an enormous advantage for working groups that need to define the challenges they face and develop better solutions and drive innovation.

The actions we took over the past two years have strengthened our conviction that having a multicultural team is essential. While many companies were focused on cutting costs, often leading to reduced working hours or redundancy for employees, eCabs invested more than €6 million into strengthening our technology teams. Without doubt we are now one of the biggest technology companies in Malta.

With more than 15 nationalities working in our team, we have the creativity and versatility in diversity, which encourages team members to reconsider their working habits and processes, making them more open to out of the box solutions. This has been a key factor in making eCabs and Cuorium Technologies a success and will act as the foundation we built for our international expansion.

Q: The last few years have seen the rise of remote and flexible working. How has this change affected your ability to manage such a diverse team?  

MC: We took a decision early on to embrace remote and flexible working because of the obvious benefits it brings to both employees and the organisation. Of course, you need to adapt but I believe we have done a good job at understanding how to build good communication and collaboration that works in a remote setting. This invaluable experience is unquestionably going to help us as we keep growing our international operation having enabled speed in decision making and communication. We have seen an increased focus on our product and service offering and resultant increased productivity, all thanks to the flexibility we offer team members.

The ability to combine resources in Malta with remote resources has also helped us to partially address the scarcity of technological expertise in the Maltese labour market, whilst attracting technologists from different countries who have a keen interest in the tech mobility industry, pulling their respective experiences for our benefit.

To ensure long-term success we created the right communications frameworks and drove communication in corporate development and strategy to all teams. Going forward, we remain focused and committed to ensuring this effective communication with the team, and being flexible with their working needs to keep driving innovation and productivity.

Q: How do you expect the team at eCabs and Cuorium Technologies to continue evolving?  

MC: Our technology team, in particular, continues to grow as our plans to take the eCabs platform to new markets gather momentum. To manage this, we have set up a team of leads who coordinate larger teams in remote settings, ensuring that all team members are engaged and have the support they need to carry out their tasks.

Our primary focus is to remove barriers our team members may encounter day-to-day. We are committed to guiding our teams and helping them understand, learn from their experiences and grow both professionally and personally. As a business, we embrace an agile approach to respond to market movements in the most expeditious manner possible. Quickness in data-backed decision-making sits at the very heart of the way we operate, and we make it possible with an open, two-way vertical and horizontal communication framework within the organisation.

We provide open opportunities for our employees to contribute to the company’s goals, giving them the ability to very quickly and frequently see tangible results from the work they are doing, which in turn helps us to reinforce a culture designed to add more value to people than processes.

Q: Where is all this focus on building a multicultural team leading eCabs?

MC: The investments we have made in Cuorium Technologies and in our team, mean that we are now a technology and software development business fully dedicated to the mobility sector, fed by the decade long experience of 24/7 operational excellence and a very crisp vision of technology-led mobility in the international arena. The motivated, multicultural team we have in place gives us the ability to pursue our international expansion objectives with more confidence.

eCabs cultural diversity

These are exciting times as we seek to make our platform available to fleets across the multiple international territories which are screaming with opportunities, of which there are aplenty. Whilst the global mobility sector is one that is growing steadily with several established brands in various markets, the opportunities for growth are immense. This sector will continue to offer great opportunities to anyone interested in machine learning, data science, cloud-based infrastructure, and mapping, to mention just a few.

We believe our team is ready to compete, both in terms of knowledge and grit, and that its diversity will be a major component of our future success, enabling us to better understand end-user needs across the globe and improve our platform at speed. We have a great future ahead and in a few short years eCabs and in Cuorium Technologies will be established global players in the mobility sector.

In the press:

Business Today

 

 

Cuorium Technologies

eCabs’ tech arm Cuorium Technologies eyes international expansion

Former eCabs Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bezzina recently took over the leadership role at Cuorium Technologies.

Malta’s ride-hailing company eCabs has shown impressive growth lately and, propelled by this success, its founders are looking to expand into new international markets. Most still think of eCabs as a transportation operator but in reality, at its core, we discover that behind the popular brand we see daily on our streets there is a technology and innovation powerhouse called Cuorium Technologies.

This business is poised to take its products into the mainstream of one of the most competitive and fast-paced sectors in the world: mobility. To chart this path, the company recently announced that former eCabs Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bezzina has now taken the leadership role at Cuorium Technologies – with a very clear vision of where this will take their business and the Maltese tech scene.

The Malta Business Weekly sat down with Bezzina to talk about the growth potential of Cuorium Technologies, what the challenges and opportunities are, and how the future of mobility is shaping up.

How would you describe the eCabs journey so far?

When we started the business over a decade ago, at the centre of our most rudimentary thoughts was how we could harness the emerging technologies to overhaul an archaic sector which thrived on the typical closed-shop culture that stifles innovation, competition and improved service delivery. Many – up to this very day – think of us as a transportation company but in effect we are an innovation-driven business which was capable of adapting technology to bring about a transformation in the mobility sector in Malta.

This has been a fascinating journey for us, particularly when you consider the uphill struggle any tech start-up faces in this country and this is why I look back with a sense of satisfaction and pride witnessing the way the business has grown over the years despite many challenges.

The major game-changer in our trajectory came about when we took a very tough decision and opted to re-build all our technology assets internally in order for us to own the intellectual property of all our platform, which would enable us to leverage what we achieved in Malta and transpose it in other jurisdictions.

Cuorium Technologies

After a huge investment and many man years of effort by all our fantastic tech team at Cuorium, we are now thrilled to see Cuorium Technologies embark on this exciting, new journey as we head for the internationalisation of our e-hailing platform.

What awaits you in the global mobility markets?  

We have no delusions of grandeur. We are grounded in reality. And whilst being firm believers in our product we are cognisant of the daunting challenge ahead of us. Our market intel clearly points at at a rapidly evolving market in practically all the continents, with ever-changing mobility trends and needs dramatically changing the world over.

Whilst international market penetration is always a tough proposition for a Maltese company we are striving to differentiate ourselves by leveraging our own IP and provide an e-hailing platform that delivers convenience, trust, and speed to both the driver and the passenger at the most affordable rates internationally. Our success in Malta is a living testament that our platform not only works but can also compete on equal footing with the mobility tech giants, something that makes us extremely proud of what we achieved and the space we’re in at the moment.

What are your expectations of the global mobility market?

As mobility is evolving, people are increasingly more likely to abandon their cars for running short-distance, urban errands. In this context, we expect the demand for services such as our platform to increase significantly across all demographics.

Forecasts see the European ride-hailing market reaching a value of over €51 billion in 2025. More than 160 million European residents will have used ride-hailing mobile applications by then. According to a Deloitte study in 2020, customers increasingly favour ride-hailing apps over traditional taxi services. It is important to note, that while the figure of 160 million passengers may seem high, it is only 20% of the entire population of the European Union. So, yes there is definitely potential for further market growth and expansion.

Today a small number of giant operators with rigid and complex model have captured the global market. These models are not nimble and flexible enough to enable existing fleet operators to participate in the e-hailing market through a seamless transitionary process, without making any capital outlay. Our model is squarely based on achieving a strong dose of fairness for:

  • the passenger (offering convenience, exceptional functionality and highly affordable rides).
  • the operator (delivering a fair return for the local champion of the service).
  • and most importantly the driver (ensuring he/she gets the lion’s share of the revenue generated).

What is your take on the Maltese start-up scene?

As much as I would love to say that there is a start-up ecosystem, I have to be frank and say that it does not really exist. We learned this the hard way. Incentives are negligible and procedurally cumbersome. Funding at the beginning of the project was non-existent, and as young entrepreneurs we never really managed to break the glass ceiling of the ‘established business community’.

Having said that we have recently witnessed a sea-change in attitude with the advent of the Malta Development Bank which is moving in the right direction to support viable and bankable businesses with the potential and commitment to make their venture happen. Hopefully other institutions follow in their footsteps so that we gradually start to create the much needed start-up ecosystem in Malta.

What are your strategic plans for supporting your internationalisation?

We have massive developments in the pipeline, which in turn will create further demand for the growth of our in-house technology team. By the end of the year we estimate to be one of the largest software firms in Malta fully dedicated to the development of our mobility technology assets. We will be onboarding more talent on our team as we increase our expertise in areas such as (but not limited to) machine learning, data science, cloud-computing and cloud-based architecture, edge-environment management, IoT application integration and mapping services.

I am also a firm believer that the success of our company’s internationalisation lies in the dedication and strong sense of belonging of our multi-cultural team. Apart from being an exceptional experience for all of us, the multi-culturalism of our team will be also commercially essential as we venture into foreign markets of diverse cultures. Our team, our leaders, my fellow founders and I are now on the starting blocks of a global race to penetrate as much markets as possible through our scalable platform. As we embark on this journey, we remain committed to fly our technology and innovation flag as high as we can across all the cities we shall be penetrating. The real journey starts now.

In the press:

The Malta Business Weekly