The Silicon Review
In the fast-paced world we live, environmental sustainability is often compromised for immediate growth. This is quite evident in the transportation sector as the vehicular population has been on a steady rise. Due to advancements in technology, we can now combat this with battery-powered vehicles. This has been a boon to ride-hailing services as they as are one the major contributors to air pollution. Globally there are various firms delivering excellent sustainable ride-hailing services, but London’s Sherbet Electric Taxis stands out from the rest. Sherbet is more than an Electric Taxi company; it delivers three services, namely Sherbet Ride, Sherbet Drive, and Sherbet Advertise. Sherbet’s vision is to offer the most future-proofed version of the world-famous London Black Taxi and make it relevant for the modern city and passengers.
In conversation with Asher Moses, the Founder and CEO of Sherbet London
Q. What was the motivation behind starting Sherbet London?
I wanted to drive the London Black Taxi because it was always a global icon and part of the fabric of this great City of London. I completed the gruelling Knowledge Test and got my very own driver badge 30 years ago and ever since then I knew this was the industry I’d belong to. It’s been a winding path to establishing Sherbet as I have started and sold many businesses and enterprises over the years, all advancing the black taxi trade. One of the first opportunities I spotted was introducing advertising onto the taxi sides to help drivers earn extra income. Another was establishing credit card points to meet modern city passenger needs for quick card payments. The black taxi trade is over 100 years old and so has to constantly evolve with London’s changing needs and it has proven to be very resilient! Ten years ago, I saw fuel prices rocketing and the environmental crisis was deepening so I realized even back then that Black Taxi had to be part of the solution, so I bought the first ever Electric Black Taxi in 2017. I knew this was the main solution I wanted to champion, so I set up Sherbet to protect and develop the Taxi trade while taking it into the 21st century by modernising it for today’s passengers who want to move around easily, in comfort and without using up precious resources. I grew my fleet as fast as I could to enable as many drivers to rent their preferred EV taxi (it’s a prohibitively hefty investment for many independent drivers). The fleet is now 200 strong and growing. The London’s taxi industry is being threatened in its own environment by a variety of factors including competition, environmental issues and technology, so my focus is now to grow Sherbet into a Black Taxi business empire capable of serving London for generations to come.
Q. Can you explain about your services in brief?
For the Black Taxi industry to defend its position as the ultimate ground transport solution and to thrive in the face of external pressures, Sherbet needs to be more than just a B2C taxi service. I have to monetise every aspect of the ‘product’, i.e. the taxi. So I have built a three pillar business model, each servicing a different consumer audience.
All the pillars operate within a neat ecosystem and each depend on each other to succeed. It’s like the chicken and egg, you can’t rent out taxis or sell advertising if you don’t have bookings, and you can’t have bookings if you don’t have drivers. The heart of the service for each pillar will be in tech going forward. For example, there is also the Sherbet Drive App which can save drivers hundreds of pounds a week compared with hire-purchase schemes, by allowing them to hire a ZEC taxi if they are unable to purchase their own. It offers a flexible contract period, managed through one simple fixed weekly payment including maintenance and repairs. Sherbet London also offers industry-leading technologies to drivers and passengers alike, from telematics and in-vehicle card machines to Wi-Fi connectivity and phone chargers.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
Yes! The next launch is Sherbet Wallet. It’s essentially a bank for drivers and is regulated by the financial authorities. It will allow drivers to improve their cash flow while still allowing credit payments, something that will go against the grain in a cash culture. Subsequently, it’s Sherbet Intelligence, a service that helps Smart Cities like London make smarter decisions with real time data. This will transform the black taxi trade from being solely a taxi into a roving data collector providing critical data such as traffic, potholes, telecoms, pollution etc. All this data will be packaged and sold to buyers such as local councils and industry. This provides a whole new era of growth for our industry.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
The big shift will be scaling the fleet tenfold to 2000 within three years, amounting to over ten per cent of the licensed black taxi market. For consumers, this will offer guaranteed electric taxi bookings anywhere and anytime in London. For the drivers this will offer ‘plug and play’ opportunities to self-employed, small fleet and single-vehicle cab drivers. For advertisers, this will mean exponentially bigger coverage and exposure for their brand campaigns.
Meet the leader behind the success of Sherbet London
Asher Moses, the Founder and CEO of Sherbet London is a visionary set out on a mission to regenerate the Black Taxi industry. He’s been a one man band championing the trade for years amidst an influx of global heavy weights like Uber and Addison Lee. A passionate ambassador for the industry, he had always worked hard to introduce innovative ways to help generate further revenue for drivers for example recently launching the first electric black taxi app for bookings. He doesn’t have big departments and funds behind him, just a strong vision, pure grit and tenacity. He is now proud owner of the first and biggest fleet of electric black cabs in the city and Sherbet has been ranked as one of the fastest growing businesses in the country, recently confirmed as number 41 within the 23rd annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100. Asher and Sherbet have also received a wealth of recognition including a nomination for EY Entrepreneur of the Year and winning UK Enterprise Awards, Better Society 2020 and being within the 1000 Business to Inspire Britain. There are now many other transport businesses not only in London but around the world who wish they’d been as far ahead of the game as Asher Moses. He and his business are now reaping the rewards of a clear-sighted, authentic vision which had a solid foundation based on doing well.