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Call Kabbee

14 March 2012

UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture: Phil Makinson, Business Development Director and Co-founder of Kabbee



After completing his undergraduate and Master studies at Cambridge, Phil Makinson started working as a consultant, a job which he never truly abandoned.

Consultancy always had “a magnetic pull on whatever he was doing”: he left the field various times only to come back to it again. Phil has worked for Greenwich Consulting for media and telecoms strategy projects across Europe and later on for Arthur Andersen. During his brief pauses from consultancy, Phil got involved with start ups in the digital media sector mainly and helped launching the mobile network 3 working as a finance manager.

Kabbee – how does it work?

Phil’s latest success is Kabbee, a mini-cab company which he cofounded and now directs. It works through a booking website or app available to all iPhones and –soon- to Blackberry-users as well. Launched in June 2011, Kabbee became one of the 2300 companies for mini-cabs in London: of all these companies, Addison Lee and very few others are well-known to people. The mini-cab market therefore lacks a good structure and is badly advertised; what Phil instead sets as a priority for his own company is its organisation. At the time Kabbee launched, a customer survey was brought out: it resulted that 19% of the mini-cab customers interviewed did not have a positive view of the business, 50% admitted they used illegal mini-cabs and the rest saw the business as a “complete rip-off”. From this survey, Phil understood the huge gap there was between people’s needs and their being satisfied and decided to make efficiency the goal of Kabbee.

The benefits of Kabbee

First of all, Kabbee is quick, cheap and good. When a cab is booked through the website or mobile app, customers can decide whether they want their Kabbee to be the quickest possible, the cheapest option, or the best (according to other customer surveys). In this way, Kabbee’s system is dynamic, robust and extremely efficient. Kabbee enters the market of mini-cab companies “bringing the standards up and improving it” without being directly in competition with the other already established cab-companies. In fact, it does not take bookings over the phone, something that distinguishes it from Addison Lee and other brands. To work with its big competitors is one of Kabbee’s long-term goals. In this way, the quality this market has to offer “will be concentrated in one place”, and all companies will be able to take advantage from this.

Phil Makinson’s Kabbee already is and certainly will prove to be most rewarding in the future. At its heart is the aim to be a solution solver for Londoners: it achieves this by accepting everyday “the challenge of creating answers”.

Written by Carolina Mostert, UCL Classics Student 

The UCL Entrepreneurship Guest Lectures are organised by UCL Advances which is affiliated to UCL Enterprise.