Russell Hall is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Hailo, the black cab mobile application and taxi driver network.
Having been a London taxi driver for almost 30 years, I have just about seen it all. From picking up celebrities like Bryan Ferry and Tony Bennett to helping out everyday people experiencing extraordinary days, every shift posed new challenges. But as any taxi driver will tell you, the truth is that’s the beauty of the job. So in 2010 when myself and the other Hailo founders recognized that mobile technology had the potential to deliver a game-changing experience, we jumped at the chance to join forces with three entrepreneurs and bring our problem-solving skills to the bigger stage.
And from the very start, improving the whole payment side of taxis was right at the top of our list. This is the area where many everyday taxi drivers have missed out on businesses and where passengers have experienced so much frustration. So it is with some pride that I can say that in the 12 months since launching we have already been able to eliminate the need for cash (and cash machines), local currency and paper receipts in 5 major cites in 4 different countries.
But we’re not stopping there. Working with MasterCard is helping us to introduce the benefits of our cashless taxi experience to literally millions of new customers in dozens of new cities this year.
Incredible to think that this was all just a good idea first discussed in a London cafe less than two years ago.