Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or insert any other large tech company, and what you get is a constant focus on trying to tap into enterprise markets. However, a Toronto based company is looking to change all of this with their focus on local. Founded in 2013, Gata Labs offers a Platform-as-a-Service called Gata Hub that brings high quality mobile experiences to your favorite local businesses. Most notably, GataLabs is helping local taxi companies create a mobile experience that users now expect from companies such as Uber or Lyft, but working directly with locally owned organizations.
“Our business is based on supporting local companies. That’s what we were founded to do and what we are working towards,” said GataLabs Co-Founder and President Simon Bourgeois. “Taxi companies have been under fire for a while, they are very hard working people, and we want to ensure they are supported. At the end of the day I believe what we are doing – our intentions are in the right place by adding value.”
Now in more than 120 cities across the US and Canada, the lean company recently expanded to Oklahoma City, Nashville, and San Antonio Texas. While their largest pool of companies may be in the transportation industry, GataLabs continues to grow into new industries all with a focus on local. “We help local businesses fight tech giants, whether it’s Uber or some other major enterprise invested in mobile,” said Bourgeois. “Gata Hub provides access to the same technology and quality of experience that users expect. The platform is top tier for each industry.”
Essentially Gata Hub allows everyone from your locally owned dry cleaner to small restaurants (and of course taxi companies) to skip the thousands, if not eventually hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on developing a mobile platform specifically catering to their company. By paying a monthly subscription fee, companies can cut down on months of development time and expenses, and quickly join the Gata Hub network. Further, in many cases consumer apps by industry simply recreate their own branded experience. “Uber launched 5 years ago and proved users want to book through their phone. Now there are a variety of different service providers, but the framework for the mobile app is nearly identical in every case,” said Bourgeois.
For smaller, local companies, it doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel each time and take up additional space on their customer’s phones. “There are not a lot of great options for local businesses to have their own app,” said Bourgeois. “A lot of the existing offerings don’t encompass all the features needed by end user, and the other tools are lackluster/lacking in key features. To achieve what we’ve built, businesses would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars.”
As a startup, the company runs lean and strategically expands to new markets after fully understanding them. Because each small business has a unique set of needs, they ensure Gata Hub will be a benefit to the locals. The next phase of growth will be “driven by where we see opportunities to improve with existing cities or territories. As we’ve approached new markets, we’ve been very careful about understanding the businesses we work with. It’s important to understand their needs,” said Bourgeois.
Looking towards the future, the company is not currently raising additional venture funds; however, they are planning to eventually expand to more international locations, and look at expanding to more cities.