Founder: Omar Benmoussa, Othmane Bouhlal and Yannick Hascoet
Business: An online ride-hailing platform, offering on-demand taxi services.
Founded in 2012, Kapten is an on-demand ride-hailing platform operating in France, the UK, Switzerland and Portugal. The startup offers rides from as little as £5, and a loyalty programme including boosted referral bonuses and free rides. Users simply have to open the app, enter in their destination and wait for a driver to pick them up – average waiting times being less than 5 minutes.
Kapten are also one of Uber’s well-known rivals, picking up headlines from City A.M. “How Kapten is trying to take Uber’s ride-hailing crown” and the Londonist “A Cheaper Rival To Uber Has Just Launched In London…And It Pays Its VAT” – the latter referring to HMRC’s investigation into Uber due to allegations that the startup owes a near £1 billion in VAT.
“We took on Uber quite directly with our launch ad campaign” general manager for Kapten UK Mariusz Zabrocki commented, “we had a billboard at Leicester Square that said ‘others avoid paying VAT in the UK – that’s not uber cool’”
“We pay taxes locally and contribute to local economies. When you look at our main competitors, they’re usually registered somewhere like The Netherlands, meaning they pay no VAT on their commission or service charge, so there’s no money going to the exchequer. In our case, we’re registered in every market in which we operate, which means that the local economy gets a share of our profits.”
Kapten has become a major player in the ride-hailing market, their company having grown to 400 employees and over 4 million clients.