“Taxi” is a web-based application that makes your presentation look great on nearly any web platform, including mobile devices, without requiring special software.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. Vandagriff regarding his start-up “Taxi”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Taxi” is all about?
I am the Co-Founder of Taxi, it’s my baby. What do I do? Well, I guess with that preface — I’m a babysitter.
Our start up gives small businesses and entrepreneurs the simplest, fastest, least expensive way to make online presentations. Simple as that.
We’ve found a way to save small businesses money and do what they are already doing even better.
2. When has “Taxi” been founded? And what stage is “Taxi” currently at?
Taxi emerged out of a need in our other small business. In this other business, we make presentations online to clients and potential clients everyday.
The problem was, the software we were spending hundreds of dollars for never worked correctly, so this year we decided to make our own solution: Taxi. After using Taxi in our own business we saw how incredible it was, and decided to share it with entrepreneurs everywhere.
3. What is “Taxi”’s business model and how does it work?
We know firsthand the pain of many of these big clunky software options for online presentations, and because we use Taxi in our own small business, we created it with other small businesses in mind. There is a free version for people to test it out and make sure it’s really something they like, but even our paid versions are cheaper than any other option out there.
We made Taxi cheaper because we know how hard it is to find quality tools for small business, but we stayed away from the ad-based versions because our customers want quality, not competing logos and messaging in their presentations.
Taxi works without any software, downloads or plugins whatsoever. It works directly within web browsers, so pretty much any device that has the internet, has all it needs to use Taxi. This is possible because we’ve programmed Taxi using HTML5 Push technology. Sweet-stuff.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Taxi is composed of Co-Founders Morgan Vandagriff and Kendall Buchannan. We met years ago while working for different business in different industries and realized we both had similar goals and aspirations, so we decided let’s start a business! Kendall is the technical man, and Morgan is the business man, a “dynamic-duo” if you will!
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
There are basically two divisions when it comes to online meetings. There are web-meeting (webinar) type options things like WebEX, GoToMeeting. These options throw features at your face like there’s no tomorrow. They even have features to applaud and raise your hand, a bit overboard if you ask us. From our experience, you are the salesperson, your presentation is there for support. Not to mention — these programs are super expensive.
In another realm you have slidesharing. Sliderocket and Slideshare give you the ability to upload presentations online, but lack the ability to do so in a business setting.
So we occupy a niche that takes the best parts of slide sharing: inexpensive, fast, simple, gorgeous and take it to the world of small business. It’s something so powerful, you have to try it. We’ve loved it in our small business.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “Taxi” achieved so far?
Taxi is brand new, users are just getting started. Our testing was pretty comprehensive, and we realized after just a few weeks, there was a big need and a desire for something like this in small business. So we decided to stop keeping it a secret, here it is for all to use.
We understand Taxi doesn’t fit all needs everywhere for any kind of business, but there is definitely a large number of businesses (just like ours) that are looking for something like this.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “Taxi”’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors include online presentation software like WebEx, GoToMeeting, and countless others. We appreciate what they’ve done because really, they let us know what we need to do differently.
Taxi presentations are 100% easier and faster to set up, there is no downloading for any party involved, so no lost sales. It’s also dirt-cheap compared to the other guys. Better and for less money, sounded good to us.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
It’s difficult to get a really good feeling for how useful and powerful Taxi is without using it. At first we tried to just tell that to people, but it was insufficient.
As a result, we decided to offer a free version of Taxi for anyone who wants to try it. No obligation, or credit card information required. Try it out and you’ll see how powerful, fast and simple it is.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Presenting online doesn’t require all the bells and whistles you think it does. Sometimes (we might even say oftentimes) simpler is better, and even more powerful.
This attitude carries over to a lot of other things, you don’t always have to pay more to get more. Sometimes the best solutions in your business can be created in-house, and it will save you time, money and headaches.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Success is very subjective term. In our minds, we’ve already created a successful tool, because it fit our needs in our business and is saving us hundreds of dollars already. If only one business used Taxi, it would be beyond a success.
We simply want to help other small businesses like us succeed. We want to share our tools, and we would love to see how their solutions may be useful in our own business. This is the way small businesses should work.
11. If “Taxi” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We’ve had some success already in our small business, and Taxi is a way that we are expanding our tools. As Taxi continues to grow, we don’t plan on copying the big guys, who we are trying so hard to improve upon. Taxi is useful because it’s simple and straightforward, we don’t want to change that.
We can see however, creating other new tools that we use in our business to share with other entrepreneurs. Only time will tell what other opportunities our growth will provide.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “Taxi” based on?
We chose to create Taxi because of the need we saw in our own small business. We realized we were spending hundreds of dollars on presentation software that didn’t even do what we needed it to.
We constantly had problems getting our potential clients logged-in, or accessing the right plug-in or whatever to even get started in our presentation. Taxi was the perfect fit for our problem.
It gave us the ability to present simply, and quickly.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Great ideas don’t just sell themselves. You won’t necessarily get someone to buy into your new idea just because it exists and somehow exudes coolness. I’m convinced that was the case with all amazing ideas.
People need to see how it is going to be useful to them, save them time, money or effort. And sometimes people aren’t willing to even find it out themselves. That doesn’t mean you have to be blatantly “adveritsey” or loud-mouthed, but be sure to articulate succinctly, directly and honestly what is useful about your idea.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Doesn’t every new business hope their biggest problem is too much business? I don’t know that anyone could honestly say they plan on being so big they can’t even keep up — and those that do claim that are proving they never will get to that point.
We just hope we are able to continue to provide a useful tool as technology continues to expand, browsers improve and business needs change.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
We don’t want to offer something that’s not useful. And, seriously, we’re not just saying that. So rather than just throwing something out there, we made Taxi to use in our very own business. We know, firsthand, that its useful.
It is literally the most simple and fast way to present online. In just a few clicks you’ll be up and ready, you can do it in seconds.
It’s inexpensive. We know how much those other guys cost — we used them for years. Taxi will save you money immediately.
16. How did customers/users find out about you?
Customers are coming from a few different ways, our website has gotten some attention from Twitter, small business blogs. We’ve had customers come from hearing about it, jumping on our site and just testing it out.
Also, our circle of small business friends. We’ve passed the word around and people are jumping on to use it. The funny thing about it, is we keep hearing when people use it they want to share it with other entrepreneurs.
17. Who are your current customers/users? Who are your target customers/users?
We think any small business, entrepreneur, work-at-home, or do-it-yourself business person would really find Taxi useful. Most of our current users fall into that category.
That being said, there are likely uses for Taxi that we haven’t even thought of yet, we welcome students or others that have to present online to use Taxi and tell us about it.
18. Where do new customers/users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
I think the interest in Taxi often comes from people, like us, that are sick of using the other guys, spending tons of money and not getting the usefulness they hoped for. Taxi really was a sort of revelation to us, when we realized this idea could form into something more than an idea we were thrilled.
As customers are learning about Taxi, I think they are realizing the exact same thing.
19. What do your customers/users say about your product and/or service?
The feedback we received thus far is essentially how excited they are that something like this exists for so cheap, and that they want to share it with someone else they know that is looking for something to present online like this.
We love hearing that because that is exactly what we set out to produce, something that people would love so much they wanted to share.
20. How are you going to scale?
Taxi is a very simple and straightforward application, its available for massive growth without a lot of change. We’ve learned over the years the importance of being able to grow or shrink at a moments notice. Taxi is ready to grow as fast as opportunity will allow.
The support is available, and we have tested on a number of levels how we can scale Taxi, and have seen no problems.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
People that are just learning about presentations really gravitate toward 2 things. Video chat and screensharing. We thought the same thing at first. This brings up the very issue we are trying to avoid.
These huge programs that require downloads, plug-ins, up-to-date system requirements never work like they should because when it comes to presenting to clients online, their computers are never identical. Screensharing is often used to simply pull up powerpoint and show slides. Taxi does that, without the big expensive software.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Taxi is available internationally because it is entirely sold and used online. Because there is no need for software to download, nothing needs to be shipped or sent to the user. If you have a web browser you have all the tools you need to use.
Any person in any country for any need can access and use Taxi so long as they have a web browser connected to the internet. See what we mean by the power of simplicity?
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
Again, Taxi is not aiming to overtake every business is the world. Not only is that unrealistic, but it wouldn’t be helpful. Taxi is aimed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs specifically.
So although we hope Taxi has a great fan-base, and if our use is any indication, it will get there, we aren’t looking to take over the world here. Taxi has a great, and very useful niche, and we want to help that niche completely.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We don’t currently have vacancies, and likely will not need them. Taxi really is one of these tools that runs itself. That’s how simple it is.
We really do hope to continue to grow and expand, and as we develop future tools to share, we would love to be able to bring on new talent to help expand what we do.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
Our business is completely self-sustaining. We were able to launch completely as a result of our other small business. We have no need to borrow or anything like that. Taxi is a very simple application, the need it fills is very specific.
We definitely hope to share it with everyone we can, but we don’t foresee the need to expand into other partnerships at this time.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Be nice. In business it’s often easy to get upset, frustrated and angry at customers, competitors and the many other people you will associate with. It can be a tougher task actually being nice, forgiving, and understanding. Believe it or not, this will usually build stronger, more beneficial relationships in the long run.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
There is something very fulfilling about being able to create something that you know is making someone else’s life just a little better. Sure we’re not exactly saving lives here, but saving time and money.