Founded in 2015, PickMe has revolutionized how we hail taxis. What began as a simple app for iOS and Android to hail tuks has now expanded to offer services that include a wide variety of vehicles Predominantly available in Colombo, the company has also focused their attention on setting up and expanding their services in areas such as Kandy and other urban areas as well. Recently, The International Finance Corporation or IFC has also shown interest in PickMe as well.
The IFC is essentially the private investment arm of the World Bank Group. They offer investment, advisory, and asset management services to encourage private-sector development in developing countries. As such, the IFC initially proposed an equity investment of approximately $3 to $4 million in PickMe which is actually Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka.
As you can imagine, this is by no means an easy task. PickMe currently employs close to 20,000 registered freelancer drivers. These drivers have their own vehicles and also provide services on a revenue-sharing basis. They have also since expanded to offer premium transport services aka VIP rides for special occasions such as weddings, and to corporate clients as well. The company also introduced a cashless payment system within the app as well.
According to the IFC, one reason that they are looking to invest in PickMe is to support the taxi-hailing company’s plans of expanding across Sri Lanka. As such, an investment in the taxi-hailing company would further provide customers with a method of transportation that is convenient, reliable, affordable and more importantly, readily available.
Yet, you would have probably noticed how PickMe vehicles, be then tuks or cars, are usually not available during rush hours for the daily commute. This becomes a problem when you have to go for an important meeting or when you’re trying to go home and there no vehicles available. Hopefully, if the investment works out, they would be able to sort out these issues as well.
Further, if the investment of IFC were to be successful, it would also bring added expertise to support PickMe’s growth. The company could gain a host of valuable experience from businesses in similar markets as well. Not to mention, it could also very well open the door for international investment to Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem as well
It still remains to be seen if the IFC would indeed go ahead with the investment. All we can do is to keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. We reached out to PickMe to see if we can get their views on what they think of IFC’s offer. They are yet to respond and we will update this article as soon as they do.
Update (05/06/2018 8:00 PM): The IFC announced its $2.5 million investment in PickMe. Commenting on the investment, Jiffry Zulfer, Co-Founder/CEO of PickMe had this to say,
“We at PickMe have a strong expansion program in place as we enter new cities and diversify our operations to reach more customers, and serve them better. We’re excited to be able to draw from the best practices and global knowledge that IFC brings.”
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