Above: Robert de Gannes CEO/ co Founder of REACH (left) and Akash Harriram at PitchIT in Jamaica. Photo courtesy Reach.
T&T Team REACH was among the 25 finalists at the recently held PitchIT event in Montego Bay Jamaica. REACH presented their mobile app development ideas in hopes of emerging victorious and walking away with the top prize of US$5,000 in seed funding to develop their business as well as a spot in PitchIT business accelerators across the Caribbean.
The team made it to the top 10 in an intense and eye opening session with teams from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana. PitchIT Caribbean is staged by the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP) which is part of the Entrepreneurship Programme for innovation in the Caribbean, currently being executed by the University of the West Indies Consortium, with funding from the Government of Canada and the World Bank. The event’s aim was to enhance the region’s mobile app development ecosystem.
Training manager of the CMIP, Craig Perue, in explaining the format of the competition noted, “We had approximately 300 persons across the entire Caribbean – from Suriname in the South all the way up to Belize who applied. One hundred and fifty persons registered for our training programme and participated in 12 weeks of training.
Eighty teams then entered the PitchIT Challenge Competition with 25 emerging as finalists. We don’t simply need more of the same; what we need is new business models; innovative business models, new products and new markets and that is what we are here to asses.”
Team REACH of Trinidad and Tobago led by CEO Robert de Gannes and Lead Developer Akash Harriram pitched their innovative product REACH – an app that brings safety and reliability in public transportation to the travelling public in Trinidad and Tobago.
REACH is a taxi service available via app that allows you to book a taxi to any location in Trinidad and Tobago. It facilitates multiple bids on each request so that the consumer receives the most affordable price. The company also performs stringent background checks on their drivers to ensure best-in-class service.
Commenting on the experience, de Gannes noted, “It was truly exciting and humbling to be selected as one of the finalists. It can be intimidating having your ideas and your dreams literally examined and pulled apart by these experts, but in the end you learn so much that it’s definitely worth it.”
Team REACH is excited to launch their product and the app is already in its testing phase. De Gannes noted, “The most important thing I want people to understand about us is that we’ve done due diligence. We’ve studied the industry, spoken to clients and drivers and basically built a better taxi service from the ground up.”