Александр Колб
The author of the blog «The Big Fish»
5 minutes for reading

ABOUT PLANS, FIGURES AND LEADERSHIP: Sergey Smus and Dmitry Dubrovsky – co-founders of Uklon taxi service

ABOUT PLANS, FIGURES AND LEADERSHIP: Sergey Smus and Dmitry Dubrovsky - co-founders of Uklon taxi service
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Photo: biz.liga.net / mc.today


Sergey Smus and Dmitry Dubrovsky are co-founders of the Uklon taxi service, which has existed since 2010 and is among the 30 best startups in Ukraine according to Forbes.

On the air of the Big Fish Youtube channel, entrepreneurs talked about finding investors, the work of promotional codes, and about their desire to enter African markets.



Sergey Smus: We are growing, before we had 150 full-time employees, now we have 350. The company receives more than 3-4 million orders per month. The average check in Ukraine is about 130-140 hryvnia. The gross is about 400 million.



Sergey Smus: We were going to enter the African market, but could not do it because of the pandemic. We even went to Kenya, met with many companies, we liked that market: it is similar to the Ukrainian one. It is chaotic, with a similar number of rides.

They also have Uber and Bolt, we are comfortable competing with them. We were at the start, but we didn’t come out – this is for the best. If we did, the company would begin to sink in March-April due to the pandemic. Growth has already begun since May. But our ambitions in terms of expansion still remained.



Dmitry Dubrovsky: We are not looking for investors for the Ukrainian market, our funds are enough for this. In order to expand, we decided to use our own funds in one or two test countries, to show traction in six months. After that, we will go to the investors and say: “We are the leaders of the Ukrainian market and we will perform well abroad”. Investors told us that they want to hear such a story. When we just asked for money, were answered: “Where is the guarantee that everything will work out?”

Sergey Smus: One city needs about $ 1 million. In cities with 4-5 million citizens, this amount will not be enough. The main costs are marketing. Now we receive a lot of offers, but we are not actively looking for investors.



Sergey Smus: We work for clients and give freedom to the driver. He always sees the end point of the route, he can filter orders by cost, route, sector. Or it can work on a quick search and take all the nearest orders. We give the opportunity in some situations to challenge the review. The client rates the driver by one, but writes a good review. This is loyalty to the drivers.

The situation is the same with clients. There is a tariff, there is a coefficient, and the driver cannot overestimate the cost of the trip. The invariability of the amount is our main feature. Plus, if there is a high demand for taxi services, then the client can adjust the amount. Yes, he will wait longer. But, let’s say, a certain private trader drives past this business center and will be able to pick up a client for this money.



Sergey Smus: Low tariff, additional payments to drivers, powerful CRM-system (we have our own CRM together with Corezoid) for marketing – these are all our advantages. We offer 3 trips for 50 hryvnia for new clients. This is the attraction of new and the retention of our stable users. We have over 70 NPS.

Our specialty is both in the product and in marketing. Previously, they worked less professionally with marketing, now there are 20 employees in this department. If you have a great product without marketing, you will not be successful. We made a new identity, a new application, and carried out a rebranding. When we started working with numbers, data, analytics 2 years ago, there was a boom!



Sergey Smus: The coolest idea that gave us growth is promotional codes. It came to Dmitry’s mind back in 2015. Either there weren’t enough developers, or something else was getting in the way. We did not cover a huge part of people with our promotional campaigns. Now 35-40% of our clients do not use cash. Previously, you could get a promo code or discount with a bank card added. This, in terms of discounts, has given us tremendous growth. Lots of people are afraid to add a card, or they do not have one at all.



Sergey Smus: We have 80% of private drivers, the smaller part is a car fleet. Our service itself is more interesting to private traders. A car is a more profitable asset than an apartment, it will pay off two more times.

Dmitry Dubrovsky: Drivers need to keep things simple: you just go in and go. We have removed the difficult threshold for entering the application. This way we have kept old users who love customizations, and there are fewer complications for new users.



Dmitry Dubrovsky: We do not jump into direct competition with Glovo or Raketa, but define for ourselves some niches in which we can enter and be better in cash flow. Our strategy is as follows: product improvement and geographic expansion.

Now the priority is such a direction as carpool – this is when people from different points are matched for a joint trip. This is true, for example, for people who travel from sleeping areas. Also important for us is b2b delivery: we will not take such a horse interest and at the same time we will be able to deliver from those restaurants that do not have their own delivery.

Sergey Smus: Plus, corporate travel is actively developing – we already have more than 1000 consumers there. Up to 3% of our clients are corporate. We have many ideas that we want to implement: for example, to launch helicopters or boats.



Dmitry Dubrovsky: Remote work complicates all processes, so we ask you to come to the office at least once a week so that the person feels what we are doing. The guys work in the open space. The IT team consists of 100 people.

In the regions there are employees from other departments. We are constantly looking for and recruiting new people. Our corporate culture is that we have no closed doors, no one is hiding. We are open to new ideas.

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