5 Questions with Jean-Marc Ly, Co-Founder of Taxiwise


You know when the rain hits hard, and you can’t get a taxi? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could book one in advance where its not just a taxi, but also a cool driver? Well looks like it’s happening here in Hong Kong thanks to Jean-Marc Ly and his startup Taxiwise!

Jean-Marc Ly is startup founder from Silicon Valley. A wedding photographer and traveling lover. He came to Hong Kong to attend Paul Orlando’s bootcamp and AcceleratorHK and decided to stay here.


What is your startup?
Taxiwise, is a service that allows customers to book drivers in advance for full day, half-day or request a pickup, which is attractive because hailing a cab on Hong Kong’s congested streets is frustrating for both drivers and customers. We handle the communication aspect so that non-Chinese speakers have an easier time booking a taxi. Our clients and drivers also build a relationship, hence our slogan ‘not just a taxi, but a driver’.

We are now offering a service for free to help our expat and non-chinese speakers book a taxi. All they need to do is to provide when and where they are going; we will call the taxi driver and explain in Chinese. If there is a driver available, we will notify the passenger.

How did you come up with this idea?
Taxiwise was born when my cofounders Truong Lam, Lawrence Tse and I sat down to research the lives of taxi drivers and why they needed to use 5-10 different cell phones. Upon further inspections into the lives of taxi drivers, we realize how hard is it to be a taxi driver and decided to create a startup to help them.

Who are you targeting and how big is the market in HK/Asia?
We are currently targeting expats and non-chinese speakers in Hong Kong and plan to expand to other Asian countries in the future. There are 1.1 million rides per day in Hong Kong.

What are your future plans for your startup?
We plan to provide a wider range of vehicles and provide our services in other cities near Hong Kong. We also plan to expand our base of drivers in order to meet the new demand. Currently, we’re working on collaborating with hotels, conference centers, serviced apartments, etc. to allow visiting business people to tour Hong Kong and have convenient transport to and from multiple meeting locations.

1 Benefit and 1 Challenge in the HK startup scene?
One of the many challenges we faced was the lack of entrepreneurship in Hong Kong. It’s not like Silicon Valley where everyone says its okay to be an entrepreneur. Here it’s more of go to school, get a good job at a bank and work there for 10 years. It’s hard to find local likeminded people like us.

Because it has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world, the city is the right size and density for us to test and validate our idea. Also, it’s right next to China, which is a huge potential market.
Another benefit to staying and working in HK is that here we can make a difference in this young startup community, like when I was a mentor at Startup Weekend. We hope that through our experience and struggles, others will be encouraged to continue with their projects.


URL: www.taxiwise.co
Taxiwise Free Booking: http://form.jotform.me/form/31411486943455?
Twitter: www.twitter.com/taxiwise
Facebook: www.facebook.com/taxiwise
Instagram: @taxiwise

Connect with you:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanmarcly
Twitter: @chubucko
LinkediN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanmarcly
Angel list: https://angel.co/jean-marc-ly
Personal Blog: www.jeanmarcly.com

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