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How does a ride-hailing startup for corporate employees survive the quarantine?

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

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Contxto – Uncertainty is the well-known battlefield for founders. In Latin America, even more so.  

Nowadays it’s not so much survival of the fittest, as survival of the most agile. Jetty—a Mexican startup that provides collective ride-hailing services to corporate employees—is the midst of a coronavirus-powered pivot. 

Since many companies decided to implement work from home modalities in order to protect their employees from Covid-19 contagion, Jetty’s model was practically brought down to zero.

From their 25,000 monthly active passengers, the company needed to think on its feet in order to endure the upcoming crisis. According to their founders, this is one of the toughest times of the startup’s life over the course of its four years of operation.

“In the four years we have been operating, we have overcome regulatory issues, conflicts with carriers, the challenge of raising capital, but we have never faced an environment where the demand of our users almost disappears,” explained Onésimo Flores, in an interview for Forbes México.

Coronavirus-powered pivot

Like many founders, their initial thought was: let’s structure our service for less demand, and endure this while it lasts.

Nevertheless, they soon realized this wasn’t going to be a slightly momentary bump in the road. The Mexican government’s sanitary emergency announcement had other plans in mind.

The company is planning to accelerate and launch future plans earlier than expected. For instance, one of the new implementations involves the digitalization of payments for public concessional transport. 

Through the Jetty app, drivers will be able to charge using QR codes, avoiding cash as much as possible. Not only that, but they can now sell tickets upfront, in order to calculate the maximum capacity per trip with the appropriate sanitary distance between passengers. Finally, there’s GPS tracking of the units.

This model aims to charge users a small transaction percentage of the ticket value, while providing free access for drivers. Now, due to the pandemic, this service will remain free. As of today, this is already happening in San Luis Potosí.

On the other hand, they plan to keep providing traditional services for those corporations that will still require employees to come to work physically. Some of the industries considered as “essential”.

“There are different corporations that are not going to be able to stop and that are looking for solutions for the transport service of their workers, so we established a hygiene system for our units that will allow us to cover this need without risks,” he says.

Before the contingency, the company enjoyed 25,000 monthly active users, as well as 200,000 downloads.

The company isn’t facing a fire or die situation at the moment, but they do need to start figuring out ways to keep cash coming in, both to sustain operations and respond to investors.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Mexico!

-VC

Victor Cortéshttps://www.contxto.com/
CEO & Co-Founder of Contxto. Passionate about tech, startups and venture capital. I eat sushi five times a week.

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