Gett — Israel's answer to the ubiquitous ride-hailing app Uber — is bringing its corporate car service, its most successful business, to New York City customers in Manhattan beginning today. It's not exactly a surprising move for the company that, four months ago, began reinvesting all its international profits into building out its New York operations.
Gett, which was formerly known as GetTaxi, has seen big success with its corporate offerings in existing markets in Europe and Israel, where the company has 2,500 corporate clients and claims to serve more than half of Fortune 500 businesses.
"When you think about the taxi space — especially in capitals like New York and London — 40% of the transactions are actually driven by corporate travel," Gett CEO Shahar Waiser told BuzzFeed News. "That space is still served by black car companies."
Yet Waiser argues that using black car companies, like Dial 7 and Carmel in New York City, comes with inherent limitations. "It always has to be prebooked because they don't have enough drivers," he said. "And if something goes wrong or the car doesn't arrive, you have to call the company, who calls the dispatcher, who calls the driver. It's not efficient."
Technologically, Gett has a leg up on its traditional black car counterparts — riders can easily get in touch with their drivers through the app without dealing with any middlemen. But its real competition is not likely to come from legacy black car companies. Both Uber and Lyft offer corporate services across the country, and companies can easily allow employees to expense Uber or Lyft rides.
But after four years in the corporate space, Waiser feels Gett has a competitive advantage over its ride-hail adversaries. Unlike Uber and Lyft, Gett has a 24-hour customer call center and enables future booking. And, Waiser argues, large corporations tend not to want unpredictable contracts.
"They have a different policy regarding pricing," he said. "It's not about being expensive. It's about the way you can charge the company. They cannot sign a contract where the price is meter-based. One ride might cost you $20; another might cost you $40. They all demand to have a fixed-rate that they can budget. If you put on top of that surge pricing, it's unacceptable by nature."
Though Waiser said he believes he is competing more with local black car companies like Dial 7 and Carmel, Uber and Lyft are certainly forces to be reckoned with. But Waiser is confident Gett will be able to carry on the success it had with its business-to-business offering in Europe and Israel to the United States.
Waiser hopes the company's existing clientele will sign up for the same service they know and trust internationally here in the United States. "Today we're the only player that has that list of customers," he said. "And the same customers are actually riding across the globe, and they visit New York a lot. It's an expected move."
Johana Bhuiyan is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bhuiyan reports on the sharing economy with a focus on ridesharing companies.
Contact Johana Bhuiyan at email@example.com.
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