Farewell Private Driver: The VTC application becomes Kapten_

Private driver is dead, long live Kapten_! The customer-to-customer connection application announced a major change this Wednesday, February 6, by completely changing its identity. After the arrival of the car manufacturer Daimler to the capital of the French company as a majority stakeholder, new ideas have emerged. Yan Hascoët, co-founder and CEO of Feu Chauffeur Privé, explains: ” The resources invested by the Daimler Group allow us to go further. We finally have the means of our ambitions thanks to them “.

This ambition is to conquer the international market.

Founders of Private Driver / Kapten_: Omar Benmoussa, Yan Hascoët and Othmane Bouhlal // Source: Kapten_
This development had already begun in September 2018 with the arrival of the application in Lisbon, but it should take a whole new scale in the year 2019. In addition to the opening of offices in Geneva next Monday, Kapten_ must to arrive in London in the coming weeks. The expansion strategy is much more aggressive than before as the company plans to reach fifteen cities in a dozen countries by 2020.

This year will be pivotal for Kapten_ and its leaders. The latter hope that the application will be used by 10 million customers, 5 times more than today, and 70,000 partner drivers (3.5 times more than in 2018). But to achieve this result, it is not only necessary to have a good investor, it is also necessary to change some elements of the app.

One of the biggest announcements is the price of the race. Kapten_ passes the minimum price of his races to only 6 euros, against 8 euros for the former Private Driver. The company is therefore aligned with the price of most transport apps, including Uber, which was one of its strengths. According to Othmane Bouhlal, another co-founder of the company, ” the choice to align with 6 euros is there to attract a new clientele “. Marketing Director Eve Arakelian adds: ” Private Driver had a premium image that we wanted to get rid of. ”

Will the Katen_ app be able to cope with the international market? // Source: Kapten_
Kapten_ strives at all costs to expand and reach an international audience by becoming ” a little like the others “, but does not want to risk disgruntled drivers leaving them. Othmane Bouhlal promises that ” the company will fill the deficit of drivers while their profitability are at the same level as today “. Even if the gesture concerns only the old drivers (the new ones will not be “compensated”), it is difficult to think that such a practice is viable if it lasts too long. Kapten’s ambition is therefore to gain a foothold in the international market and to be visible before thinking about profits. A risky tactic, but that could pay in the long run.

The long term (after 2020), however, does not seem to be at the heart of the firm’s thinking for the moment. However, there are some questions that arise at this level. With the acquisition of Daimler, Kapten_ is now part of its ecosystem My Intelligent Apps , which brings together the transport applications owned by the German company and the BMW group. This one contains Mytaxi, CleverTaxi and Beat, but none works in collaboration with another one. ” We do not have the ambition to integrate and merge, it’s a stimulating competition ” says Yan Hascoët, before concluding: ” In five or seven years, there will not be four different applications, but for the moment it is not on the agenda “.

A transformation of these applications into a single platform is not impossible, but what would happen to Kapten_? If this ecosystem is today beneficial for the French company, it will be necessary to be careful that the ambition does not push it to burn its wings.

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