A taxi booking app backed by the likes of Paul Bassat and James Packer has raised around $5 million over the weekend in a bid to further disrupt Australia’s $5.4 billion taxi industry.
The goCatch app allows users to book nearby taxis and track their progress via GPS. Co-founder and chief executive Ned Moorfield told SmartCompany the latest equity round, which brought on a range of new shareholders, will help the business “get on with scaling up in a much bigger way”.
“The funds will be very much constructed on the growth of the business, building up our marketing capabilities,” he says.
“At the moment, we need to get our brand awareness up more and introduce the public to the service. You can see the potential for a pretty large company emerging out of this.”
The Financial Review reports some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs and Rich-List families backed goCatch’s equity raise on Friday. However, Moorfield says several of the names mentioned in the article – including Bassat and Packer– have previously invested in the company and are not new shareholders.
“The article mentioned the Kahlbetzers, David Paradice, and Square Peg, all of whom are existing shareholders and who did not participate in the current funding round,” he says.
goCatch is currently valued at $19 million. When asked why some of Australia’s bigger players are willing to invest in an app like this, Moorfield says it is because they can see the value in new technology and notice when a market is ready for the taking.
“People can see the opportunity in the market with this sort of business model,” he says. “It is an industry ripe for disruption.”
The taxi industry is indeed a big market, with around 30,000 registered drivers in Australia, fuelling a total of about 216 million paid fares a year.
“Three to four per cent of the national market share is a pretty substantial share of the market,” Moorfield says.
“Having the largest base of engaged drivers nationally, we’ve got the real potential to build a big national business.”
Looking ahead, goCatch shows no sign of slowing down. Moorfield says the focus will be on scaling up the user-base and improving the customer experience.
“We want to continue to include the user experience and make sure people are having a great experience when they’re using our service,” he says.