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It’s hard to imagine an industry like the taxi industry that has undergone so much transformation in the last 30 years. From an all-cash venture to a modern, mobile-first service, the evolution of taxis has been truly remarkable. And Amos Tamam has been criticized for revolutionizing this multilevel industry. But it goes without saying that it was a smooth journey all the way: Tamam’s entrepreneurial story of innovation, barrier and adaptation.
As much as there are success stories, Tamam started with innovation. Starting her career as an engineer in Israel, Tamam moved to New York City in the mid-20s, which was supposed to be a year, helping a family member fill a deficit in some products in their taxi payment system business. In the early 1990’s, taxis only transacted in cash, which was a problem in an era where credit cards were gaining acceptance and popularity.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, Tamam developed the first credit card taximeter that enables card payments in taxis. Unfortunately, this innovation curve was ahead; The wireless technology needed to process these on-the-go payments was inadequate and required time to mature. And in 1994, the growing initiative failed.
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Fast-forward to 2000; The technology infrastructure was finally ready, and so was Tamam. After successfully setting up taxis in Philadelphia with a credit card payment system, Tamam’s company, now known as TaxiTronic, has arranged more than 3,000 taxis across New York City with credit card readers. By 2007, TaxiTronic partnered with Verifone, the point-of-sale inventor to build the Verifone Transportation System (VTS), and expanded to more urban markets in the United States and abroad.
If you know anything about taxis, you know they were the main target of disruption in the early 2010s. With the rise of mobile rideshare apps like Uber, Lift and more, the battle for street-healing riders has never been more intense. This newly drawn competition could be seen as a death knell for the taxi industry, but Tamam saw it as an opportunity. Instead of resisting change, Tamam responded to the disruption of the Ride Sharing app with an innovation of his own. In 2013, VTS launched Way2Ride, a mobile payment system integrated with in-car taxi payments.
In 2015, after adding a healing option to Way2Ride in NYC and Philadelphia, Tamam got a chance to acquire a company called Taxi Magic, which had a taxi healing app in other markets in the country. He relaunched the integrated mobile platform in 2016 under the Carb brand. What started as an in-car credit card payment system before its time is now the first universal app for calling a licensed taxi or delivery vehicle on a service.
Then, in 2018, Tamam saw the opportunity to acquire VTS from Verifone. With a smaller group of decision makers than ever before, the newly-minted carb mobility was able to invest and expand more aggressively in the rapidly evolving ride healing and payment markets.
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The Covid-19 epidemic again wreaked havoc in 2019, destroying both rideshare and taxi services. Instead of withdrawing, Tamam took up the challenge, not only working with the local municipality to provide the necessary staff and sick or elderly residents a ride to go to the vaccination appointment, but also invested heavily in the business.
Tamam sees taxis as an integral part of the ride-hailing landscape. He also sees the popularity of apps like Uber and Lift as cyclical. As the price of the app rises and the number of drivers decreases, Tamam believes that licensed taxis will regain their share of the market; And carbs are a way they can stay competitive on a crowded field.
The ride-hailing market is also not a matter of competition. Tamam’s career has been built primarily through partnerships; A common goal is to combine the mutual interests of parties such as city officials and taxi fleets. In fact, Karb recently announced a partnership with Uber to enable Uber users to hail licensed, carb-capable taxis. This partnership seeks to provide more ride options for passengers and more fares for drivers: a real win through collaboration.
Coming out on the other side of the epidemic, Karb seems to be stronger than ever. Not only will it be a universal app for licensed taxis, it represents a broad portfolio of products and services, including B2B rideshare services, fleet management technology, in-vehicle advertising and entertainment systems, as well as next-generation hardware and software. For drivers and managers.
The stories of truly innovative entrepreneurs are never linear. It is defined by adversity and adaptation. All the evidence is positive that even in the most established industries like taxis, there is always the power to change, unless one is led by a visionary.
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