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Uber competitor Chauffeur-Privé rebrands to Kapten – TechCrunch

French company Chauffeur-Privé is going to expand aggressively over the next couple of years. That’s why the company is changing its name to Kapten — a name that sounds less French.

“We wanted to share with you a very important piece of news,” Kapten co-founder and CEO Yan Hascoet said in a press conference. “We changed our name while keeping the same positioning.”

Kapten is one of the leading ridesharing players in France and recently launched in Lisbon (2 million users in France, 80,000 users in Lisbon). The company is going to launch in Geneva next week and London in the coming weeks. By 2020, Kapten should be in 15 major cities.

Kapten within Intelligent Apps

As a reminder, Daimler AG acquired a majority stake in Chauffeur-Privé/Kapten back in December 2017. Daimler AG and BMW Group later merged their mobility service businesses into a single entity called Intelligent Apps.

Kapten confirmed that Intelligent Apps will become Jurbey. Intelligent Apps’ free-floating services, parking services, charging services and itinerary apps will merge to simplify the product offering.

But Intelligent Apps’ ridesharing services (Chauffeur-Privé, mytaxi, Clever Taxi and Beat) won’t merge for now.

“It seems obvious that there will be some consolidation in five years in one way or another,” Hascoet said. “But this is not on today’s agenda.”

Hascoet thinks that the ridesharing space is still extremely competitive and there’s room for growth. It seems smarter to keep multiple services for now to see how it plays out in the coming years. Kapten is thinking about integrating Intelligent Apps’ scooter service Hive in its app, though.


Update: Kapten co-founder and CEO Yan Hascoet sent us the following statement:

  • Daimler AG and BMW Group are merging their mobility service businesses into a single entity. After completion of the complex transaction on January 31, 2019, the new mobility services company, Daimler AG and the BMW Group, will present the next steps to be taken in the first quarter of 2019.
  • The goal is to jointly create a major player for seamless and intelligently connected mobility services. The 50-50 joint venture will bring together the following five services: a multimodal mobility platform, car sharing, ride hailing, parking, and charging. Ride hailing will be based on mytaxi, Kapten (Chauffeur Privé), Clever Taxi and Beat.
  • As a matter of principle, future brand names are neither confirmed nor commented on.

A new name and some new features

Kapten is also using today’s rebranding to launch an aggressive advertising campaign. The company will spend “millions of euros.”

There will be some tweaks to the service, as well. The minimum price is now €6 instead of €8 just like on Uber. Kapten will compensate that change by paying drivers the equivalent of an €8 ride for the time being. Eventually, Kapten wants drivers to generate as much revenue with €6 rides. In all cases, Kapten takes a 20 percent cut on each ride.

Drivers are also getting new features starting today. Free waiting time has been lowered from 5 minutes to 3 minutes, which should help drivers waste less time. There’s also a new feature to go back home and accept rides on the way.

The company also used this opportunity to share some numbers. Over the past 7 years, the company managed to attract 2 million clients and 200 companies who generated 20 million rides in total. In 2018 alone, Kapten handled 7.5 million rides with an average price of €17 to €18. It currently works with 22,000 drivers and 250 employees. Kapten will hire around 100 employees in 2019.

Kapten generated $54.9 million in revenue in 2016, $113 million in 2017 and $180.8 million in 2018 (€48.6 million, €100 million and €160 million respectively). Kapten wants to multiply its revenue by 5 by 2020.

In its announcement video, Kapten also differentiated its service from Uber by saying that they’ll keep paying taxes in local markets where they operate. The company wants to be the good guy; let’s see if that’s enough to capture some market share.