Driving Localization Efficiency: How Phrase Helps Heetch Compete with the Ride-Hailing Heavyweights

Heetch_App

Teddy Pellerin and Mathieu Jacob founded Heetch in 2013 to solve a major mobility pain point. It was difficult and expensive for people, especially young people, to find safe rides at night in Paris and surrounding suburbs. With the peer-to-peer economy on the rise, Heetch began operating with peer-to-peer drivers. It later shifted to a classic ride-hailing service with professional drivers as the regulatory environment evolved. 

Heetch employs 300 staff, and serves more than 100,000 active drivers and one million active riders with a simple mission: Make mobility more positive for everyone. Heetch’s target customers are underserved by traditional ride-hailing services, which focus on more premium passengers in city centers. Operating in France, Belgium, Angola, Algeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Mali, with plans to expand further, the company facilitates millions of rides each month.

Challenge

The Road to Profitability

In a fiercely competitive ride-hailing market, profitability and market share are paramount. Heetch’s approach combines aggressive marketing, emphasizing value and inclusiveness, and a pricing model catering to long-distance suburban travel. A lean operational model is essential, given the low pricing for both riders and drivers.

A significant part of this lean model involves localizing content into English, French, Portuguese, Dutch, and Arabic. Heetch was struggling with a cumbersome translation process using Google Sheets, which was inefficient and error-prone.

 

Heetch_Cafe

The company’s challenge was to identify the right translation and localization software that could seamlessly integrate with developer workflows. This was essential to increase speed and efficiency to support its market expansion and growing customer base. Since Heetch has never employed a dedicated localization team, the solution would need to be easy to implement and use across the business. 

We know that the only chance for us to succeed is to be a lean company. Being able to have a very lean and efficient translation workflow is key for us. And that’s why we work with Phrase.

Mathieu Jacob portrait | Phrase

Mathieu Jacob
Co-founder
Heetch

Solution

Accelerating Translation and Localization Workflows

To achieve its translation and localization goals, Heetch adopted Phrase, with a notably swift and straightforward implementation process. Mathieu notes, “Onboarding my product management team onto the Phrase Localization Platorm was impressively efficient, requiring just a 15-minute demo.” Now, around 60 employees use Phrase for localizing various content, including ride-hailing apps, web portals, and help centers. The company’s translation projects are categorized into four key areas: Android, iOS, backend, and frontend.

Heetch_Ride_Hailing_app

Phrase Strings has significantly transformed Heetch’s workflow. It allows developers and marketers to initiate translation jobs within Phrase, replacing the cumbersome manual process of transferring translations from Google Sheets into their codebase. Updates in translations are instantly pushed to Heetch’s app through Phrase’s “over-the-air” capability, aligning with the company’s two-week release cycle. This eliminates the wait for app updates which can often take months.

Moreover, Phrase’s Machine Translation (MT) feature plays a crucial role in two scenarios. Firstly, when introducing a new language, Heetch uses MT for initial translations to facilitate quick market trials, thus speeding up time to market. Secondly, MT is employed when a translator is unavailable, ensuring no delays in updates, which can be refined later via Phrase’s “over-the-air” feature.

This comprehensive approach has significantly streamlined Heetch’s translation processes, enhancing their ability to adapt and grow in the fast-paced market.

Having the capability to quickly integrate a new language was very strategic in our ability to expand, and Phrase has made this easy.

Mathieu Jacob portrait | Phrase

Mathieu Jacob
Co-founder
Heetch

Stats & facts

Measurable Success

100% saving
developer time
30% reduction
translation time

Why Phrase?

After considering three solutions, Heetch chose Phrase because of its ease of use, flexibility and its ability to integrate with developer workflows through a sync with GitHub. Mathieu confirmed the immediate impact of this choice, stating, “We know that the only chance for us to succeed is to be a lean company. Being able to have a very lean and efficient translation workflow is key for us. And that’s why we work with Phrase,” confirmed Mathieu.

Heetch significantly improved its translation and localization processes by implementing Phrase, with quantifiable time savings in its global expansion plans. Translation is no longer a pain point for Heetch’s development process. “Thanks to Phrase we are able to maintain our 2-week release cycle,” Mathieu confirmed.

Phrase has been a game-changer for us and enabled us to streamline our translation workflow. We’ve moved away from a cumbersome manual process involving Google Sheets to a streamlined process directly integrated with our dev workflows

Mathieu Jacob portrait | Phrase

Mathieu Jacob
Co-founder
Heetch

Benefits 

Faster Time to Market and Happy Customers

  • Time savings: The implementation of Phrase led to a 30% time saving in translation workflows, with developers experiencing almost 100% time saving in localization-related tasks. “As Phrase is integrated with GitHub and into their codebase, it was a game-changer for our developers,” Mathieu says.
  • Rapid market expansion: By using Phrase, Heetch can quickly increase its market reach by adding additional languages in countries where it currently operates. The company uses Phrase’s MT to quickly translate materials and run tests in new markets. According to Mathieu “Having the capability to quickly integrate a new language was very strategic in our ability to expand and Phrase has made this easy.”
  • Greater customer satisfaction: Phrase and its over-the-air capability allows Heetch to rapidly iterate and respond to customer needs.  This helps with customer satisfaction and drives loyalty through repeat bookings.  “If we need to improve our customer interface including translated content, Phrase helps us to do this quickly, so our product is better, faster and our customers keep coming back,” Mathieu states.
  • Ease of use: Onboarding new users takes minutes, without extensive training. “Phrase has been a game-changer for us and enabled us to streamline our translation workflow. We’ve moved away from a cumbersome manual process involving Google Sheets to a streamlined process directly integrated with our dev workflows,” Mathieu says.

Girl in taxi

Conclusion

A Smoother Ride to Market Expansion

Phrase has been instrumental in Heetch’s growth, allowing it to be agile and responsive in a dynamic market. Looking ahead, Heetch aims to fully leverage Phrase’s features as a key strategy in its pursuit of operational efficiency and market expansion. Despite its smaller size compared to major competitors, Heetch’s partnership with Phrase empowers it to stay competitive and innovative in the global ride-sharing landscape.

Integrating Phrase has helped Heetch improve its market position by helping us to be culturally relevant to capture a wider customer base. Phrase enables us to do this very quickly and easily and will be key in enabling us to execute our hyper-localized expansion strategy.

Mathieu Jacob

Co-Founder

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