Anders Karlsson is picking a fight with the hyped taxi service and now a major Swedish venture capital firm is backing him.
His father Rolf Karlsson built Sweden’s largest taxi empire, Fågelviksgruppen. Now Anders Karlsson is taking over with ambitions to create an international technology giant within the same industry.
“The goal is to sell for hundreds of millions within a few years”, Anders Karlsson says.
But unlike his father, it is not about running an own taxi service with thousands of cars in the fleet. Anders Karlsson has instead created an advanced technological platform which he hopes will sell to the world’s largest taxi companies. The project started six years ago as a project within Fågelviksgruppen and has since turned into the subsidiary, Cabonline.
“We started with a blank sheet and tried to re-think how taxi as a product should function”, Anders Karlsson says.
Development has continued since and last spring a large step was taken towards a commercial product. In April the American venture capital firm HIG Capital acquired Fågelviksgruppen,where among other brands Taxi Kurir, Top Cab, Taxi Skåne and Taxi 020 are included, for somewhere between $250 and $350 million. Shortly after, the new owners acquired Taxisystem Scandinavia which later was incorporated in Cabonline under the guidance of Anders Karlsson.
“Strategically it is an important acquisition. With the help of Taxisystem Scandinavias technology we offer a platform which serves drivers as well as customers”, Anders Karlsson says.
Previously, only Fågelviksgruppens own companies have been using the technology, but Cabonline are now making a big push to sell it to other taxi companies. During the summer, two companies in Finland have purchased the license and Anders Karlsson is counting on great interest in other markets as well.
“We are currently making an effort to launch a serious venture abroad. We have got the green light for a three-year plan from our owners who will invest millions in the project”, Anders Karlsson says and continues:
“With our system, anyone, anywhere in the world, can start a taxi company”.
A fundamental part of the strategy is to help traditional taxi companies take the step into a completely digitalized world with Cabonline’s technical platform.
“We want to give the taxi companies means to meet the competition from Uber and other challengers”
According to Anders Karlsson, Fågelviksgruppen and their taxi companies in Stockholm are barely noticing the competition from Uber.
“No, they are a rather small player here but globally Uber has been a brilliant catalyst pushing technological development in the entire market”, he says.
Right now, Cabonline are in the midst of a recruitment process where some 20 developers are being hired during autumn. Eniro’s former technical manager Joachim Heiroth has already been brought in with the same role at Cabonline.
“Joachim is a fantastic reinforcement and we will continue to look for the sharpest capabilities”, Anders Karlsson says.