Sunday, May 19, 2024

‘Ruthless’ ride-sharing app to take on Uber in Mexico City

A ride-sharing app owned by German auto maker Daimler is preparing for its launch in Mexico City.

Beat, which leads the market in other Latin American countries such as Peru, Chile and Colombia, will take on market leader Uber and relative newcomer Didi.

On Wednesday, Beat announced plans to hire 10 times more drivers in Mexico City than in other Latin American cities in which it operates, effectively converting the capital into its biggest and most important market.

It also plans to pay them well.

The first drivers to sign on will receive a guaranteed weekly salary of 30,000 pesos (US $1,500). Company spokesman Sanja Ilic said Beat will also invest heavily in attracting new customers to its platform.

The Greece-based company announced in November it would set up in Mexico City this year.
“We want to be ruthless,” Nikos Drandakis, the company’s 55-year-old co-founder and chief executive, said in a phone interview with Bloomberg at the time. “We’ve got what it takes to carve out a sizable piece of the Mexico City market.’’

Drandakis and three friends started the company in Athens in 2011 as a taxi-finding app during Greece’s debt crisis. Now, about a third of the city’s 3.1 million people use the service, according to Drandakis.

It opened in Lima in 2014 where it has become the market leader, out-competing Uber, which opened there at about the same time.

Beat plans to open in Guadalajara and Monterrey next.

Drandakis told Bloomberg he hoped to recruit thousands of drivers before launching in Mexico City, and become the No. 1 ride-sharing app within three years.

“We’re smaller, but we’re more agile and capable of innovating faster than our larger global competitors,” Drandakis said.

Source: El Financiero (sp), Bloomberg (en)

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