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Sõõrumaa pledges third of his new ride sharing business to drivers and riders

Date: 2022/05/22

New ride sharing company Forus Takso, owned by Urmas Sõõrumaa, is going to be the second largest ride service provider based on the number of drivers. Both drivers and riders are invited to be part of a novel business model.

Sõõrumaa’s interest in taxi business became apparent last summer, when he bought one of the oldest and well-known taxi businesses Tulia Takso. As of today, Tulika Takso is history, as the historical brand is changed to Forus Takso. Last month Sõõrumaa also acquired a ride sharing app Taxigo, that had a 15% market share based on the estimates by Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Both Tulika and and Taxigo drivers will start working under the Forus name. Taxigo founder and Head of Business Development for Forus Taxi Eduard Dubrovski confirmed last week, that Taxigo and Tulika had more than 1000 drivers. “Drivers are actively joining Forus platform. Next week we might have already more than 2000 drivers,” said Dubrovski, also pointing to the fact that as of today Yandex taxi app is blocked from the market and drivers from this platform are looking for new ways to offer their service.

Dubrovski admits that many Yandex drivers have opened accounts on Bolt but confirms that many larger taxi companies who previously worked with Yandex, have contacted them directly as Forus has a novel and innovative business model to offer.

New business model for ride sharing

“Imagine that in addition to my 50 cars there are 500 additional cars driving around under the same recognizable brand and name. What a massive synergy for marketing and reach!” explains Urmas Sõõrumaa his interest towards taxi space. In addition, ride sharing has become the center of innovation and novel ways of doing business. Sõõrumaa himself will enter the space with a new business model. “I’m giving away 30% of the company to clients, drivers and anyone who is helping along,” promises Sõõrumaa.

He is using tokens to make that happen. Of any service consumed on Forus platform (including any future services, not just ride sharing) 1% will be given as a token to the client, 1% to the service provider and 1% to contributors. “If we manage to be even partly as successful as Bolt has been, it will give a lot to all the parties involved,” says Sõõrumaa.

This new business model is introduced by Taavi Kotka. Kotka explains how the tokens shared for services consumed constitute 30% of the business. In 5 years, it will be possible to exchange these tokens to actual shares of the company or sell them back. In practice it means that if the company is successful, the average driver will earn enough bonus to cover the cost of a new car, says Dubrovski.

The tools of crypto world in the service of ride sharing

Forus is using token system to bring in more service providers and clients.

The novel business model is introduced by Taavi Kotka. “I must admit I was surprised when Urmas Sõõrumaa called and told me about his vision of making both riders and drivers part of the growth and future of the business,” said Kotka. Sõõrumaa’s idea was that the size of the share would be dependent on how much each person has contributed to the company. “It’s impossible to make all clients and contributors into shareholders; current laws and regulations are too cumbersome for that,” says Kotka. The solution doesn’t require buying shares, but novel tools of crypto world and tokens could be used. Each time a client is using a service he will receive a percentage of what he spent as token. You drove a taxi and the cost was 18.50. You got the service you paid for and in addition the ledger will record how many tokens was given to driver and rider, explains Kotka. Forus promises to share 30% of the company as tokens. In 5 years it will become possible to exchange these for shares of the company or sell back to the company and a fair value.

Kotka clarifies that it is not necessary to have crypto currency to be part of this reward system. A hybrid solution where tokens will be tracked as points in the bonus system will allow anyone to join and nothing additional is expected from the user. At the same time, hybrid solution allows users to move tokens to crypto wallet and eventually start trading, he adds.

Taking over the world

Dubrovski explains that Forus is not going to be just ride sharing platform. “The same person who is driving a taxi can be an excellent electrician or window cleaner. Why not do other jobs as well if the demand is out there for a specific micro-service,” says Dubrovski their plans.

“Forus is going to be a super-app, that offers hep with any daily task or service, from food delivery to bicycle rent or even home cleaning and improvement,” explains Dubrovski. “Our vision is to become the leading services platform in the world that connects clients, service providers and employees as owners of the company.” He claims to set his eyes on at least five additional countries by the end of this year.

Originally published on Äripäev on 11.04.2022 (in Estonian)