All the interviews, articles and blogs to do with Matthew Bezzina, CEO at eCabs Technologies, on the eCabs website will fall under this tag.


Blue officially launches in Romania, powered by eCabs Technologies platform

Blue officially launches in Romania, powered by eCabs Technologies platform

Caption: eCabs Technologies CEO Matthew Bezzina (second from right) and Stephanie Portanier Mifsud, eCabs Technologies Cities Product Manager (far left) with the Blue leadership in Bucharest, Romania.

Autonom Drive, the largest mobility operator in the Romanian market has selected the eCabs Technologies platform to launch Blue, a new ride hailing service in Bucharest, Romania.

Powered by the eCabs ride-hailing technology platform, Blue is set to be an important player in shaping the ride hailing landscape in Romania, providing a seamless online ride-hailing solution for riders as well as safe and flexible work for drivers.

Blue is launching its service with a fleet of the latest Tesla Models 3 and Y and is available for download on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Blue officially launches in Romania, powered by eCabs Technologies platform

This is the third territory in which the eCabs ride-hailing platform has been deployed, serving as the backbone for local transport businesses to launch their app-based ride hailing service under their own brand.

The use of eCabs technology in Bucharest, follows the launch of app in Athens, Greece earlier this month.

With a fleet of over 12,000 vehicles and a workforce exceeding 600, Autonom Drive is a leading corporate in the mobility industry, operating in over 33 cities in Romania and Hungary.

An important player in shaping the ride-hailing landscape

Speaking during the official launch event in Bucharest on Wednesday September 27, eCabs Technologies Founder and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bezzina said the successful roll-out of the service in Romania with a reputable player such as Autonom, is a strong confirmation of the global grade of eCabs’ technology stack and the capabilities of its people.

The Blue mobility service is set to be an important player in shaping the ride-hailing landscape in Romania, with a more efficient, quality-driven service, and like eCabs’ Malta, operating a unique 24/7 customer care and operations centre.

“We are thrilled to be working with Autonom and its team of professionals on this exciting project in the beautiful capital of Bucharest. The growth potential for Blue is evident, also very much fuelled by Autonom’s serious approach to business. I have no doubt that the strength of our technology platform combined with their focus and corporate stature will deliver exceptional results,” Bezzina said.

“This second launch in a few weeks, comes as we are engaged in discussions with corporate partners in key cities in Europe and beyond, to assist them in venturing into ride hailing business through our unique model, offering 13 years of packaged operational knowledge together with our bespoke multi-channel technology,” he added.

Bezzina added that the vision of taking eCabs Technologies to new heights would not have been possible without the support of the Malta Development Bank.

“The MDB has believed in and supported our internationalisation project from the very start, understanding our relentless drive to take our locally built technology overseas. Each city we launch in is a testament to their trust and support to help finance this growth which has helped make our vision a reality,” Bezzina said.

A safer and reliable service

Blue Managing Partner Andrei Stancu said the transport market in Romania is ripe for change and Blue is poised to deliver a safe, reliable, and affordable solution.

“The ride-hailing market in Romania is typically characterised by low standards of service and old vehicles, fuelled by cheap prices. At Blue, we made the conscious decision to fill and own a gap in the market, offering a safer and reliable round the clock service, using world class tech powering modern, high quality owned and partner fleets” Stancu said.

“After a thorough vendor analysis exercise, we chose to power our brand with the eCabs Technologies platform, and we’ve had an excellent understanding with the eCabs Team from the get-go. We are very optimistic about the future of Blue and the excellent business relationship we have with eCabs Technologies” he added. 

The Romanian Market

Romania’s transportation market presents an exciting opportunity. With a population of over 20 million, and more than 11 million annual tourist arrivals. Whilst Blue has started its journey in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, the plan is for national growth.

And, with a significant portion of Romanian rides still waved down from the curb or booked over the phone, there is major potential for transformation and growth in the ride hailing market. 

Tailor-made tech

Built in one of the world’s densest road networks and most competitive ride-hailing environments, eCabs Technologies provides a unique model in the international white label ride-hailing business – one which combines 13 years of 24/7 intimate operational expertise and a powerful, multi-channel technology platform.

This allows businesses all over the world to use the platform together with eCabs invaluable industry expertise and experience, to successfully launch their brands in any jurisdiction.

In the press:

Times of Malta | Malta Today | Lovin Malta | Who’s Who

eCabs could be powering your next ride in Athens

eCabs could be powering your next ride in Athens

eCabs Technologies is exporting its technology and industry know-how beyond Malta’s shores, teaming up with overseas partners to launch new ride-hailing platforms. Its first international partnership comes in the form of, which will debut in Athens, Greece this September, with other jurisdictions also in the pipeline.

The Athens launch in partnership with Greek company Intelligent Mobility App SA, signifies eCabs’ leap onto the global stage, backed by considerable research and development efforts, and a strategic drive for innovation and growth beyond Malta.

In an exclusive interview with MaltaToday, eCabs founder and CEO Matthew Bezzina sat down with MaltaToday to talk about the technological changes in the transport industry and what it took to take the eCabs product and export it abroad. He tells Nicole Meilak how the ride-hailing company transformed its business and is now going international.

Empowering global aspirants

eCabs describes its new product as a white-label solution for business interests looking to enter the digital ride-hailing space.

Bezzina says they have created ride-hailing tech that can be tailored to the specific needs of a foreign country and city.

The app they built for Greece for instance, looks and feels like the eCabs app, but incorporates specific features that are unique to the Greek transport reality.

This includes a unique pricing system that is based on the metering model used in traditional taxi cabs across Greece.

Similarly, when platforms launch in other jurisdictions, they will have their own unique features to reflect the rules and realities of that specific country.    

But eCabs aren’t only bringing tech to the table. Bezzina says they also bring market expertise and operational know-how.

He said they are forming “comprehensive partnerships” with foreign operators, providing operational support, marketing assets, and industry acumen.

Their first partners are major taxi operators in the Greek capital.

Having been through the difficult transition from a traditional cab company to a digital ride-hailing platform, Bezzina says they know how to help other businesses make the same transition.

And they do it all from their headquarters in Malta.

“Within a 100m radius from our office, you have a ride-hailing laboratory, a research and development site right here in St Julians,” Bezzina said.

A digital evolution

Looking back on the eCabs journey over the years, Bezzina says the company was disruptive to the Maltese transport landscape. “eCabs made it easier for people to get involved in the industry”.

For instance, he said the company opened the doors for women to become drivers – something seldom seen prior to 2010.

Starting out as a three-person startup in 2010, eCabs has undergone a remarkable transformation of its own.

Back in its earliest days, Bezzina and his first employees took down reservations for rides using pen and paper.

Today eCabs employs over 400 professionals, developing cutting edge tech, and is asserting its presence in the global ride-hailing market – a bold step for a Maltese, homegrown outfit.

“From 2016 and 2017 onwards, we went into a journey of digital transformation. Ultimately you need to level up in terms of the tech offering in order to be able to compete, not only on a local level but eventually on a global level.”

What was once a fleet ownership model has morphed into a dynamic marketplace connecting drivers and riders.

Technology has played an important role in this, but Bezzina thinks that data will have an even bigger influence on the market in the years to come.

“The more time passes, the more our company will have to become a data company. The user experience will be influenced, both from a driver and consumer standpoint, based on the right optimisation and usage of data.”

Triumph amidst adversity

COVID-19 took a major toll on cab companies – eCabs was no exception. The company experienced a 90% decline in year-on-year ride volumes as Malta ground to a halt.

But Bezzina says COVID-19 was the opportunity for eCabs to accelerate its transformation into a technology company.

“Throughout COVID the technology team became a technology company that today employs over 60 people. This is a growing number, and this all happened between 2020 and 2023.”

Bezzina says this is a story of resilience on several levels.

“It’s a story of resilience, of vision, of the team. It’s easy to do this stuff when you’ve just received a billion in funding. But we’re frugal, we optimised, and we’re self-funded. We survived – and even thrived – against all odds.”

The company’s move to internal technology development, Bezzina highlighted, was a pivotal move that enabled eCabs’ survival.

“Between 2010 and 2016 we used to depend on third-party technology… From 2016 onwards we took a conscious decision and said listen, we have to start building the technology internally because we have the product and operational know-how.”

And that leap has paid off with the company now eyeing overseas markets to export its technology.

The next time you are on holiday in Athens, you could very well be using Maltese technology to hail your cab ride to the Acropolis.

In the press:

Malta Today

Taking eCabs International

We’re taking eCabs international

We recently announced the first phase of our internationalisation process.

After years of perfecting our product at home, we’re leaving the sandbox and taking the eCabs Technologies ride hailing platform to a number of major cities in Europe and beyond. 

So, this is the story of how we’re teaming up with exciting new partners, and why.

A desire to change

Fourteen years ago, eCabs was born out of a single-minded obsession: there had to be a better way of getting from A to B. 

We knew the traditional taxi model needed to change.

I should know, back in 2010 when we first launched our 24/7 manned operation I was driving cabs myself. 

Having my hands on the wheel was essential for me – not just to keep a finger on the pulse of what was happening, but because I’ve always believed that if you’re going to change something you first have to know how it works. 

We knew that the days of waving down a cab from the curb were through.

And we were right.

Things were changing. Fast. 

The rise of smartphones and app stores coupled with a desire for more flexible work all conspired to accelerate the transport tech revolution.

So, we got to work and started creating our own in-house platform; driven, above all, to raise the bar of consumer convenience and driver optimisation.  

Building that tech was a painstaking process.

We were cutting against the grain – challenging long-standing industry orthodoxies.

But we followed through because we believed then, as we still do now, that the future of sustainable transport really is digital. 

Over the years, eCabs transitioned from a market leading round the clock dial-a-cab operation to a digital platform-based taxi and booking dispatch platform with multiple revenue streams built with purpose

To me that’s what has always set us apart from other ride-hailing and taxi platforms.

We are a tech company that also has years of real-world, hands-on industry expertise. Our Product Development team is built from that invaluable experience.

Today, our tech provides seamless mobility solutions for users as well as rewarding and flexible work for partner drivers.

Learning our lessons

The transition wasn’t easy.

Believe me.

Over a decade and a half, we’ve learned a lot about how the ride hailing sector works – and how it doesn’t. 

From navigating the day-to-day complexities of a nationwide transport operation on one of the world’s densest road networks to managing delicate stakeholder engagement and educating a complex and nuanced market – we’ve been there.

We’ve sifted through terabytes to find those golden needles buried in the endless data haystacks.

We’ve harnessed the power of machine learning and employed world class engineering talent to help us do it.  

We’ve sat down with reluctant drivers who were apprehensive of change.  

And with policymakers and regulators tasked with overseeing a rapidly changing sector that they may not have fully grasped. 

And we’ve done it all while successfully locking horns with cut-throat industry giants. 

So surely, we can use all this experience – this incredible journey that eCabs has been on – to help others make the same transition and embrace tech?

Yes, we can.

And we are.

Passing on what we’ve learnt

We’re applying what we’ve learned over these past 14 years to build new meaningful partnerships with operators across Europe and beyond. 

By teaming up with strategic players in markets where millions of rides are up for grabs every day, we’re taking eCabs’ tech out of the sandbox and into the rest of the world. 

What we have created is something really special: a turnkey white-label solution that provides tailored, city-specific mobility tech, coupled with our operational guidance and expert support and years of marketing and branding experience. 

We’re giving businesses the opportunity to launch their own brand and take that brave leap into the future of ride-hailing.  

At the same time, we wanted to ensure users in these new jurisdictions can count on the same standard of service we pride ourselves on providing back home in Malta. 

So, we aren’t just sharing a product, we’re sharing the risk. 

We are invested in our partners’ success and are committed to having skin in the game in these new jurisdictions.

These partnerships are going to change the face of mobility for millions of users.

Our mission has always been to make transport accessible, safe, and sustainable for everyone.

Now we’re taking the next step in that journey. 

eCabs Technologies ride-hailing platform lands in Greece

eCabs Technologies ride-hailing platform lands in Greece officially launches in September

eCabs Technologies is set to deploy its ride-hailing platform in Athens, Greece, as it begins taking its industry expertise and operational know-how to new jurisdictions. 

The ride-hailing app, developed at the eCabs headquarters in St Julian’s, Malta, and operated by Intelligent Mobility App S.A. based in Athens, Greece, provides a seamless online ride-hailing solution for riders as well as safe and flexible work for drivers, empowering individuals to move and work on their own terms.

It is the first territory where eCabs Technologies’ ride-hailing platform is being launched with other international jurisdictions also in the pipeline.

eCabs Technologies Founder and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bezzina said the upcoming launch in Athens in September is the fruition of years of research and development and months of collaboration with its partners in Greece. 

The platform is set to be an important player in shaping the digital transformation of the ride-hailing landscape in Greece.

“We are really proud of what we have created and what the company has accomplished. Growing eCabs from a small three-man start-up in 2010 to a group of companies employing over 400 people and a technology company with industry-leading talent. Now we are excited for eCabs to be flying the Maltese flag in the international ride-hailing industry beyond Malta’s shores,” he said. 

On his part, Manos Koronakos, CEO of Intelligent Mobility App S.A. said, “This is a great opportunity and a perfect time for us to be launching our ride-hailing platform, in a market that is ripe for digital growth. We are very excited to be working with eCabs Technologies with whom we have forged a great understanding and relationship”. 

Manos Koronakos, CEO of Intelligent Mobility App S.A. with Matthew Bezzina, CEO of eCabs Technologies.

Digitising an offline market

Athens’ transportation market presents an exciting opportunity

With a population of well over three million people, and more than six million annual tourist arrivals, the Greek capital has significant potential for growth. 

And, with a significant portion of Greek rides still waved down from the curb or booked over the phone, the ride-hailing options for users remain largely offline. 

Recognising the digital transformation sweeping through the industry globally, eCabs Technologies sought to create a dynamic online solution that caters to the needs of both riders and drivers alike.

“At eCabs Technologies we believe that by digitising the transport sector, we can unlock its potential.  This is what we have been driving towards everyday. Taking our tech to new, exciting jurisdictions like Athens is a big step towards achieving this goal,” Bezzina said. 

Tailor-made tech

The eCabs engineering team in Malta developed a turnkey, white-label tech solution.

This allows businesses all over the world to use the platform together with eCabs industry expertise and experience, to successfully launch their brands in any jurisdiction. 

The tech solution is also developed with bespoke country and city-specific features. 

The platform being launched in Greece for instance, features a new in-app pricing model based on the metering requirements set by Helenic transport regulators. 

eCabs Technologies ride-hailing platform lands in Greece

Bezzina said that all new tailor-made technology components that are developed in Malta for specific countries will further enrich the eCabs Technologies platform.

These features are designed to provide optimal support for international partners through efficient deployment of country-specific features that respect different jurisdictions’ needs and regulations.

Invaluable support

Bezzina said that the objective of taking eCabs Technologies to new heights would not have been possible without the support of the Malta Development Bank:

“The MDB has supported this project from the start, believing in our relentless mission to internationalise and take our locally built technology overseas. We are thankful for their trust and their support to help finance this growth which has helped make our vision a reality.”

To launch in Athens, eCabs Technologies has partnered with a major player in the Greek transportation industry and Bezzina said the eCabs team is excited to be working with them. 

Looking ahead, eCabs Technologies and its Greek partners have ambitious plans to extend the platform across mainland Greece and its islands, providing a convenient and reliable transportation solution to an even broader national audience.

As the partnership evolves, the focus will remain on enhancing the rider experience, providing economic opportunities for drivers, and contributing to the ongoing digital transformation of the transport sector.

eCabs Technologies meanwhile is also engaged in other internationalisation partnership projects and will be releasing further announcements in the coming months. 

“This is an exciting time for us – eCabs is moving from local to international, empowering ride hailing technology beyond its home shores, one partnership at a time,” Bezzina said.


eCabs Tech IRL

Tech IRL

Tech is over-hated.

Whether it’s machines or machine learning – we expect perfection from technology.

As people, we’re more forgiving of mistakes made by other people than we are of tech.

And I get it – I know how great it is when ride-hailing tech works smoothly and how frustrating it can be if something goes wrong.

That’s why, every day, our engineers at eCabs Technologies work hard on finding new innovative ways to bridge the gap between our technology and the real world.

The world over, tech businesses have dropped the ball because they allowed themselves to become disconnected from the communities they serve.

They’ve been criticised for their predominantly white male workforce and accused of perpetuating biases that lead to products and services that don’t adequately address the needs of their customers.

Disconnected tech companies have been responsible for facial recognition systems with racial bias, location algorithms that discriminate against low-income areas, and service options that limit users to binary gender categories, leaving people feeling excluded, or worse.

Real people interacting with real people

Unlike so many other tech companies, eCabs isn’t just about people interacting with our technology.

It’s also about real people interacting with real people.

That’s because our technology is just one component in a relationship that also involves drivers, riders, and urban communities.

Our role as a company is to manage this relationship.

Take our drivers.

We call them partner drivers for a reason.

For our customers, they are the human face of a business that otherwise only exists through a digital interface.

That’s why at our engineering lab we have a team of developers working to ensure our technology serves these people as well as it should.

Like ensuring our payment system is always stable and reliable – because we know that drivers depend on that income.

It’s also why we regularly engage with partner drivers to know what they’re experiencing behind the wheel and how we can make our system better.

We ask questions like ‘How much information is too much information, for someone who is meant to be keeping their eyes on the road?’

Part of the solution

eCabs also actively engages with the communities we operate in – whether that’s supporting local leaders to green our urban spaces or meeting with national-level regulators to find better ways to manage traffic flows.

When we say we’re part of the solution, we mean it.

We’re trying to find better ways of connecting drivers and riders with the urban areas they are moving through, creating routes that make for better journeys for users – drivers and riders alike.

Ultimately, it creates a better experience for the real-life users of our service.

Because we know that eCabs doesn’t live in a vacuum.

Our tech exists in the real world.

Matthew Bezzina Being part of the solution

Being part of the solution

Picture a city where the air is clean, the streets are spacious, and the commute to work is a breeze.

It might sound too good to be true, but it’s not.

We just need to be ready to change the way we think about transport. 

As the founder of eCabs, I’m the public face of a mobility-tech company that’s asking people to start using their private cars less. 

It’s a big ask, I know. 

So, it comes as little surprise that I sometimes get faced with questions, like: “Aren’t you just making traffic worse?”

Well, the answer is “no”.

Here’s why.

Every day, a single eCabs partner driver takes several people wherever they need to be.

That’s one ride-hailing car on the road instead of potentially dozens of privately owned vehicles. 

And that one ride-hailing cab isn’t taking up street parking either. 

When they aren’t in operation, our fleet of cars is parked in our parking facilities right next to eCabs HQ.  

The privately owned car on the other hand? Well, it spends 95% of its time idle, cluttering our public spaces.

It’s the main reason our walkways are often too narrow and why there never seems to be any space for bike lanes or urban greening. 

You see, we aren’t the problem.

Far from it. We’re part of the solution.

Livable Cities

The solution I’m talking about is this idea called multi-modal mobility.

That’s a lot of ‘Ms’, I know, but stick with me on this.

It’s a transport system that leads to what is known as livable cities – the belief that moving away from dependence on the private car by providing other reliable ways of getting from A to B can decongest our clogged urban spaces and make them better places to live.

In doing so we shift the focus of urban planning away from cars and towards what really matters – people.

“Reducing personal car use holds the potential to reduce the negative impacts of transport and unlock our urban spaces.”

eCabs Technologies CEO Matthew Bezzina

This is a goal eCabs shares with cities around the world, and with good reason: because reducing personal car use holds the potential to reduce the negative impacts of transport and unlock our urban spaces.  

From air pollution to traffic accidents, and the vast amounts of space used for parking and new roads which instead could be used for gardens, parks, and wide-open walkways.

To do this we need policymakers that promote alternative solutions and invest in the infrastructure that supports them.

A multimillion Euro active mobility network

Like my brother Andrew said in his latest opinion piece in the Times of Malta, it’s time to stop rewriting policy documents and start implementing them. 

A couple of days ago that exact thing happened.

Policymakers unveiled details of a multimillion Euro active mobility network promising to provide a “realistic alternative” to cars. 

The first phase of the €35 million plan aims to make walking and cycling safer, with routes aiming to be direct and continuous.

The goal of the first phase is to connect Msida, Blata l-Bajda, Valletta, and the Valletta waterfront. 

A dream worth believing in

At eCabs, we dream of a future when the entire country is connected this way.

A future where we have the option to use a multitude of different ways to get around. 

But this kind of change doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

We also need to change the way we think about travel on a personal level.

A few years ago, I decided to start walking to work every morning.

Those passengers who were picked up by that single eCabs partner driver? Well, imagine the multiplier effect of those same people deciding to walk for one or two of their weekly trips instead of driving their car.

Throw in a bus ticket and a scooter ride now and then and that can mean thousands fewer private car journeys. 

It can mean cleaner air and easier commutes, and it means we can start reclaiming the public space that has for so long been forfeited to cars. 

It’s a dream worth believing in.

And it’s a dream eCabs is driving towards every day.

Operating a fleet of ride-hailing vehicles and developing the tech to support thousands of partner drivers in Malta and beyond has given us a unique point of view on embracing this shift.  

At eCabs, we know that ride-hailing is part of the answer. 

It’s how we are going to achieve truly livable urban spaces.

That’s why I know we aren’t the problem.

We’re part of the solution. 

No change without political consensus 2

“There is no change without political consensus” – eCabs Technologies CEO

Speaking at a Times of Malta event titled ‘The Road to Reliable Public Transport’ held on Wednesday 22nd February 2023, eCabs Technologies CEO Matthew Bezzina said that the time has come for certain measures to discourage the ownership of private cars.

However, in order for these measures to be consistent, there needed to be political consensus between the government and other political parties to ensure longevity.

Mr Bezzina stressed that it is no use for one government to agree to implement certain measures only to see them ignored or buried by the subsequent government.

“If we’re going to introduce paid on-street parking, it cannot succeed if it clashes with the car-centric policy we’ve been implementing,” he stated.

Mr Bezzina compared the situation to separated parents who have custody of a child, saying that they both must agree on certain rules. “For instance, if they both say no to junk food, the child benefits overall. This is the kind of political consensus that we need.”

The real cost of ‘public real estate’

Mr Bezzina also highlighted that parked cars are taking up an overwhelming amount of public space. Here again, political consensus was needed to find a solution, he said. He noted that parking spaces take up two-thirds of Maltese roads. Moreover, 75 percent of parked cars are on public land.

“Those could be bus lanes, scooter lanes, wider pavements, or avenues of trees. We have to see the opportunity in these spaces and truly consider the cost of this public real estate. What can we do with all this space that cars are occupying without contributing anything?”

One solution could lie within the ride hailing industry, as part of a transport mix towards sustainable multimodality that can unclog the roads on the densest country in the EU.

No change without political consensus

Other speakers at the event included Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Dr Aaron Farrugia, economist Marie Briguglio, Malta Public Transport General Manager Konrad Pulé, and Head of Geography and Director of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the University of Malta Professor Maria Attard.

You can read more and watch the full event here.

eCabs internationalisation

eCabs primed for internationalisation by June 2023

eCabs, Malta’s very own and only flag bearing ride-hailing platform powered by its proprietary technology and innovation powerhouse Cuorium Technologies, expects to reach its first landmark milestone in its internationalisation efforts by June 2023.

With consistent investment in technology talent and an unwavering resolve to expand in major EU cities, eCabs is now yielding the goals that could elevate Malta’s corporate and technology credentials on an international scale.

Business Today sat down with Matthew Bezzina, Chief Executive Officer at Cuorium Technologies and Luca Di Michele, Chief Technology Officer, to grasp an insight into one of the most exciting commercial ventures growing in Malta, charting the path for the eCabs flag to be sported in European cities.

Recently, eCabs has undergone a significant restructuring of its operations. Luca was promoted to Chief Technology Officer at eCabs. Matthew moved on to become the CEO of Cuorium Technologies while Andrew Bezzina was named the CEO of eCabs.

How did this major transformation come about?

Luca Di Michele: In 2019 I spearheaded the establishment of our proprietary ride hailing technology. Three years have flown by like a flash. It is extremely satisfying to look back and see how much ground we have covered and the growth we have achieved, moving us far ahead enough to make this quantum leap into the international market. During this period, we have gone through exciting phases of renewal and transformation, building a highly competent, enthusiastic team of dedicated professionals who are driven by an incredible passion and the ambition for creating ahead-of-the-curve mobility technologies and solutions.

Matthew Bezzina: Our joint efforts have resulted into impressive growth, despite the international economic climate and the upheaval caused by the pandemic. Faced with these challenges we had some fundamental choices to make. We could have either retrenched and focused on keeping on winning the local market battles or aspire to become an international brand in mobility technology and provision of ride-hailing services. We could have decided to do like many others and just invest in property or take the plunge and the risk that comes with a significant shareholder investment of €7 million. Today, we are reaping the first dividends of these decisions, wherein despite all the headwind we faced we now have a platform created in Malta that is ready to go beyond our borders and proudly fly our national flag in this growing tech driven industry.

How does this restructuring effort feature in the growth path of the Company and its platform?

MB: Our organisation’s transformation journey started kicked off in 2017 and has been through multiple iterations. However it was towards the end of 2019 that we really changed gears and growth accelerated in a flywheel effect as soon as the pandemic hit the globe. The pandemic had the effect of a giant pause button on the industry which gave us the space to shape our platform, build a multicultural team, spin-off a technology company with one of the largest cadre of developers on the island and start charting the path towards our international aspirations. The bottom line was that of thinking out of the box, keep eyes on the ball and act with agility.

LDM: My development team has grown from an in-house cosy group of four people to a more than 50-strong talented team serving as the foundation, engine and R&D for our own technology platform. What each one of us at eCabs Technologies learns is that working here brings a massive advantage for technologists to test their skills against the world’s best, whilst learning, developing themselves, and growing into leadership positions as the company matures.

“A huge competitive advantage”

MB: An essential part of this success has also been the huge competitive advantage of having everything we need from an operational perspective within a 100-meter radius. Our headquarters practically resemble a giant laboratory with the ability to have on-field testing and instant feedback of results. We have also been blessed with the immeasurable benefit of direction from over a decade of operational knowledge and experience which facilitates development and improvements at speed, whilst competing with the world’s largest and most-funded players. Competing with the ilk of Bolt and now Uber has been a blessing with both companies backed by billions of Euros in funding, respectively. We’re playing in the champions’ league, which forces us to be the absolute best we can be and always aspire to be better and measure up against these technology giants.

What are the tangible results of your organisation’s development approach?

LDM: Our investments in Cuorium Technologies and eCabs have made us a considerable technology and software development business dedicated to mobility. We can stand out in the local market based on such a solid foundation.

MB: For the last two years we have been very busy reinventing our platform with our own IP and closing the gaps we needed to realise our ultimate vision. We brought the pre-pandemic consumer app experience up to the highest degree with multiple improvements in terms of usability, automation, system robustness and features, enabling our platform to be more competitive.

LDM: We also built the entire partner driver model from scratch and the extensive technology that is behind it. All these technologies are in a constant state of evolution and improvement. In this respect we have started our journey to take our technology to its next evolutionary chapter in machine learning, a project that allows our teams to leverage a multitude of our data points in the Google Cloud Learning Platform. This evolution gives us real-time, machine-enabled analysis and actions to scale quickly through big data driven decisions, as we integrate our proprietary technology with Google’s platform. The technology is in a constant state of evolution which will keep maturing and requiring best of breed talent who are eager to challenge themselves.

What are the challenges that you expect to face in the international markets?

MB: We are in a quickly evolving market of fierce competition fuelled by an ever-increasing demand for various mobility solutions as city-dwellers are more likely to leave their own cars behind, seeking alternatives to public transport for shorter and faster urban journeys.

LDM: When we made a tough decision to rebuild all our technology assets to establish our own intellectual property platform, we managed to create proprietary technology, supporting our great achievements in Malta as a unique multi-booking platform. Whilst the app market is set to grow from a current 40% to 46% by 2025 in the EU, the market is still dominated by traditional ride hailing booking means, and our platform uniquely offers the best of both worlds. We expect to leverage the capabilities and power of our one-of-a-kind platform and transpose it in other jurisdictions.

MB: We are also cognizant of the challenge that international markets hold for us, despite being firm believers in our platform, technology, and people. Global market penetration is always difficult for Maltese companies as our local market is small and isolated. Yet, we see our success in the local market, which is saturated by mobility solutions from international tech giants, as a testament to our international competitiveness on equal footing. We know that our IP is driving us to differentiate ourselves in international markets with positive feedback from foreign investors, whose due diligence has identified the eCabs platform as unique and at par with the best-in-class.

What can support you in being successful internationally?

LDM: As we are growing into one of the largest software firms in Malta exclusively dedicated to the development of our mobility innovations and technology solutions, we also keep onboarding further highly skilled professional talent to support the expansion of our expertise in, but not limited to, machine learning, data science, cloud-computing, cloud-based architecture, edge-environment management, internet of things application integration and mapping services.

MB: Our ambitious journey off the shores of Malta will be supported by our dedicated multicultural teams. They are committed to developing flagship technology and innovative solutions, making it available across cities globally as we expand. Of course, the perennial challenge to raise finance for technology products remains an uphill struggle which however we are confident will be overcome with the priceless support of the financing institutions. 2023 will make the start of this new chapter a reality for the Company, our employees and our country.

In the press:

Business Today

eCabs restructuring

eCabs announce restructuring & appointment of new CEO for Malta operation

Matthew Bezzina to lead the internationalisation of the Company after restructuring.

Leading ride-hailing and technology company eCabs has appointed the leadership team that will be executing its growth programme both locally and internationally as the Company is preparing itself to establish operations in international markets in the next 12-24 months.

As CEO for Cuorium Technologies, eCabs Technology arm, and the leader for global operations, Matthew Bezzina will be spearheading the internationalisation efforts for eCabs technology platform. Co-founder Andrew Bezzina replaces him as CEO for the local ride-hailing operations, in a period that is registering record performance and an ever-growing team of partner drivers.

In his forecast for 2022 and beyond for the local brand, Andrew Bezzina explained how despite all the challenges, 2022 is seeing eCabs registering double-digit growth on its best performance, a clear result of the company’s investments across all its business units.

“Our technology platform is continuously growing and improving with over 1,400 partners driving on our platform locally, a number that has exponentially grown over the last 12 months and which keeps growing. Local triple-digit year-on-year growth remains an ambition we are relentlessly working towards in the forthcoming years,” he added.

Restructuring and investment in its tech platform

The last two years have also seen eCabs accelerating its investment in its technology platform, as it positions itself to launch its technology in the exciting and growing international ride-hailing industry. The pipeline of investors and potential partners in the company’s target territories for its first wave of global growth is extremely encouraging.

“Forecasts state that the European ride-hailing market is to enjoy an annual growth rate of 12.5 percent. This is worth an estimated €45 billion in 2022. By 2025, Europe forecasts a mobility market of 160 million people, which is just 20% of its total population and still predominantly using offline channels – figures that show a global industry that is still in its infancy, with substantial growth opportunities,” Matthew Bezzina said.

Whilst eCabs’ principal interest remains that of launching the brand in different territories, the company also offers white-labelled software solutions to brands in any territory. “The leadership team we have put in place is already reaping its benefits. We are better positioned to keep growing our business. Thereby making make a national success out of our home-grown efforts in the digital space” Matthew concluded.

In the press:
Malta Today | Times of Malta | Who’s Who

eCabs record growth

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,” he says.

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. We amplified our focus on every tactical decision, optimised costs, tapped into new sources of business, and ensured we kept adapting to evolving circumstances. Furthermore, the team’s all hands-on-deck commitment, complemented by shareholders’ determination to accelerate investment in technology was another factor. So, 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 optimisations on customer prices. The medium term is looking even better as mobility grows but we are excited by our north star: the internationalisation 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 organisation?  

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. 

eCabs record growth

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. Furthermore, we have added three fully-electric cabs to our existing hybrids. This is part of a pilot project to assess industry adaptability and feasibility. Government needs to invest more in the right charging infrastructure and to incentivise 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. They 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 a long time. It was only in October 2020, following a period of consultation, that the new regulations for “Light Passenger Transport Services” were launched. This consequently regularised the position of all partner drivers. We also started onboarding partner drivers. And in a matter of months our success was beyond expectations. 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. 

In the press:

The Malta Business Weekly