GREW GLOBALLY BY 500% IN 2017

Mexico 2018 | TRANSPORT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Alejandro Sisniega, Country Manager of Cabify México, on the Mexico City market, expansion plans, and increasing mobility options for commuters.

What is the market relevance of Mexico for Cabify?

Mexico represents one of the most important market in our operation, meaning we are extremely relevant. For the industry, Mexico City is between the fourth and fifth city most important city in the world.

What are your expansion plans in Mexico?

2016 was when we decided to expand our operations and we opened in 11 cities that year. Mexico City is our largest operation in the country, though we also have significant operations in Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Querétaro. In 2017, we sought to expand our operations within the corporate sector, where we are leaders in Latin America. In 2018, we will focus on growth within the cities in which we are operating currently. The one problem in Mexico has to do with the regulations. We operate only in states where there is a regulation for such a ride-hailing company; that means there are 22 states that we will not enter until there is a clear picture of what will happen. Because of our corporate users and our contracts with them, we need to be legal in every place that we operate. In Monterrey, there is no regulation, though the government is open to such a company and does not seek to kick us out of the city.

How do work in partnership with other mobility platforms to enhance the sector's visibility and advocate for adequate regulation?

There are other companies that are relevant in the country and we are the second-most important company in the sector, though we seek to work as a team when working with governments. In 2017, we announced that we would develop a new association and work on government and security issues. We will launch the association soon and will work not only with companies within the industry but also with companies that are related to the mobility environment. One of the main variables that determines the quality of life is mobility. When one has access to several options of mobility, they will be healthier, happier, and more productive in their work. Therefore, it is relevant for the government to have effective mobility policies.

How have your expansions been funded thus far?

We closed our Series E with USD160 million, with several investors, so we can say that we are well-funded. We have investors from Spain, a huge investor from Japan, and small investors from Mexico and other countries that we operate in. We are not currently planning on launching an IPO and any such plan would be determined by the CFO; however, as a start-up we are always seeking ways to get funding and grow faster. We are growing organically and are in a solid financial position, though the more funds we have, the faster we will grow so we invest significantly in growth. Our largest markets are Spain, Brazil, and Mexico and we have large operations in Peru, Chile, and Colombia as well as smaller operations in Dominican Republic and Panama. Ecuador is also a great operation. We seek to be a large player in Latin America as well as Spain, where we have our headquarters.

How would you assess regulations in Mexico City?

They are far away at present, though there is a great deal of interest from the government to make things happen. This is the first such regulation in Latin America and the regulations in other countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay will follow these regulations. There are many things that need to be improved; however, it is a truly great start and things are moving rapidly. We need to realize that the government is first of all listening to our recommendations and it is trying to improve what is wrong. Mexico needs a federal regulation as we are currently regulated by states with different regulations and playbooks. In one state, we can seek funding, while in others we cannot. In Mexico City, we can only use vehicles of a certain value while in other states the owner of the vehicle has to be the driver. As a country, we need to have a federal regulation in order to operate better and standardize our onboarding processes and documentation requirements.

What impact do Cabify and other route sharing platforms have on congestion in places such as Mexico City?

We are key to making the city more efficient in terms of mobility, though we are not the main player. The government and public transportation need to be the main option for users and such a platform and other mobility services in cities should be the last-mile providers. We expect the government to provide an effective and well-organized public transportation system. We are key players because there are places where public transportation is currently nonexistent. In order to have a great mobility service in Mexico, companies need to start working with each other. We want to ferry a passenger from his home to his workplace and need to interact with other options.

For 2018 what are your goals and targets?

We seek growth. We need to grow by at least three-digit percentages. We managed to grow globally by 500% in 2017, and we need to comply with at least that in 2018. We will focus on technology and want our users to have a better experience using technology and will therefore start with automating most of our processes. We will invest a great deal on safety for our drivers and our users. There are more events of aggression toward drivers so in addition to information on our drivers, we also request customers' names, credit card info, and email addressed, though it is hard to confirm the accuracy of this. Our focus is on ensuring safety at all times.