In-car video platform ember unlocks a new revenue stream with Stripe

ember, based in Montreal, Canada, provides an in-car entertainment screen for ride-sharing services and taxis that enhances the riders’ experience and offers brands the opportunity to connect with a highly engaged audience. By partnering with Hiveway, a Stripe partner that helps startups develop and implement technology payment solutions, ember was able to adapt during the pandemic to produce a new revenue stream with contactless payment options.

Products used

    Connect
    Terminal
North America
Startup

Challenge

ember had established a successful business by installing media screens in the back of Uber and Lyft vehicles that entertained and informed passengers with local information and ad placements. When the pandemic hit and people increased their use of taxis, ember recognised a massive opportunity to serve taxicab fleet owners and tap a new market and revenue stream. ember wanted to provide a solution that taxicab drivers found both appealing and necessary so it could scale rapidly. To enable that, ember screens needed a contactless payment option that served passengers and drivers, and easily integrated with existing software, such as iCabbi, used by taxi fleet owners.

Solution

From the start, ember has set itself apart by serving as the insider’s guide to local hotspots, restaurants, and happenings. To connect hip travellers with a city’s lifestyle and culture in a user-friendly way, ember envisioned a sleek, minimalist screen and payment experience.

Upon Hiveway’s suggestion, ember chose a streamlined, seamless POS solution enabled by Stripe. By leveraging Hiveway’s POS expertise and SaaS accelerator solution, ember was able to go live within four weeks and launch proof-of-concept pilots of a sleek Stripe Terminal atop Connect attached to the iPads that ember installs in the back of taxicabs. These iPads deliver contextual ad content that changes as travellers move through a city, exposing them to local businesses and exclusive happenings and experiences that they can book during their ride via Terminal.

Results

Expansion opportunities

As part of its pivot from an entertainment media offering in Uber and Lyft vehicles to a taxi solution, ember chose to integrate with iCabbi, the world’s largest, cloud-based dispatch company. By offering a seamless entertainment and payment solution that can enhance the 18,000 Canadian taxis already working with iCabbi, ember is able to penetrate a market that is slow to change. Now that it’s in the back seats of taxis, ember is exploring countless opportunities to improve the ride experience for drivers and passengers alike.

Improving rides

ember is running a pilot with Taxelco, an innovative company providing ecological taxi transport solutions in Montreal, Canada. Taxelco’s 1,475 cars equate to 40% of the market in Montreal, presenting ember with a massive opportunity. To forge a link between drivers and passengers, ember created an onboarding process that allows drivers to create a profile while uploading their bank information for Stripe Connect. By displaying the driver’s photo at the end of the ride, ember believes passengers will be encouraged to tip more generously. Should the Stripe integration process prove easy for drivers, Taxelco plans to move forward with this solution that promises to help drivers earn more money.

Gaining immediate interest

After ember announced availability of its new Stripe-enabled solution of Terminal atop Connect at the annual iCabbi conference, 90 taxi fleets across North America showed immediate interest, and dozens contacted ember after the show for more information. Those inquiries turned into numerous pilot projects in the United States and Canada. ember is also now fielding inquiries for its solution from Europe and the Caribbean.

About Partner

Hiveway, a technology company headquartered in Ontario, Canada, has developed a suite of SaaS accelerators based on Stripe’s most common products, allowing organizations to go live much faster with little to no development work on their end.

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