A Victoria-based delivery startup is hoping to corner the ride-hailing market before Uber comes to B.C.
Accio is an on-demand delivery service that allows its users to have coffee, packages, groceries, and more delivered to them in an instant. The small company is now looking to expand their service to include ride-hailing, where drivers can sign up to take users around the city.
"We see that as a big business opportunity for us which will also increase our profits on our delivery side as well," said Mike Rowe, CEO of Accio.
"I also believe there should be competition allowed in that space, especially since the taxi companies have had a monopoly for so many years now."
Accio ride-hailing, like Uber, will allow users to rate drivers on customer service, pay for trips using the app, and obtain quotes for rides before even getting into a car.
The B.C. government said earlier this year that the arrival Uber was "inevitable," but not before the government hashes out regulations for the sharing economy.
Edmonton city council legalized the ride-hailing company in January, making it the first city to do so in Canada.
Waiting for regulation
"I don't blame the B.C. government for not wanting an unregulated company to come in and drive people around."Rowe says he plans to wait until the provincial government comes out with regulations for ride-hailing companies before launching the service.
But that doesn't mean Accio isn't already working on its ride-hailing app.
"In the meantime we'll build it up because we strongly believe there will be regulation soon. We want to be ready for when it's done so we're going to build our app, we're going to build all the back end and hopefully get some drivers to sign up in the meantime."
'We're not afraid of competition'
Rowe says it's good for the industry if taxi companies imitate Accio by making their own apps.
"We're not afraid of competition, we feel like we could do it just as good as anybody else."
Rowe says Accio's strength is not technology, it's flexibility. The company tests out its ideas first with users before committing money to it.
"When we launch a new service, we want to just put it out there without actually working on it that hard, to see if people want it," he said. "And if people end up wanting it, then we'll build the infrastructure to surround it, instead of the other way around."
And in this latest ride-hailing venture, Rowe says Accio has a big advantage over taxi companies — the startup already has the logistics and driver-tracking infrastructure required for a ride-hailing app, thanks to its existing delivery service.