Walker Mason is a young entrepreneur from Anniston. His most recent venture is a rideshare app called TabXi (pronounced Tab-Zee); the name is a combination of the word “tabs,” from the tab function of the app, and “taxi.” Mason wanted to create a service similar to Lyft or Uber that was designed for the needs of smaller communities. Currently in beta testing, TabXi is available through the Apple App Store. Android users may contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get in contact with a TabXi driver.
What is your educational background? I went to the University of Alabama and majored in business and marketing, and I always thought, “Once I get out of college, after four years, getting a job is not a problem at all.” That turns out not to be the case (laughs). I have always believed in myself more than anything, and always wanted to be an entrepreneur and build something with my own hands.
Did you start a business prior to TabXi? Yes, I started two other businesses. The first one was weak, and the second one got a lot stronger. Now, I am hoping this third one is a knockout — although I did change industries, going from the clothing industry to technology. You know, Thomas Edison did not fail 999 times; he just found out 999 ways not to build a lightbulb.
Did you always have a passion for technology? Yes, but I never thought I would start a tech company. I have always been a problem solver. Almost all phones are wireless-charging now, and every day when I got to my job I would set down my wallet and put my phone on top of my wallet, and I wondered if my wallet could be a wireless phone charger. That is another one of my side businesses. I enjoy doing stuff like that.
Why did you start TabXi? I saw real needs in our community. You know those ideas you have where you could never forgive yourself for not trying?
Tell us about TabXi. With TabXi, I am trying to be to Uber and Lyft what Dollar General is to Walmart. I am trying to fill in the gaps in rural areas. Just because we are not the size of New York City does not mean that we do not have the needs that people in New York City have. If I am a mom who has to be at work early and have kids that need to be at school at the same time, I can call my TabXi driver to take my kids to school or pick them up from daycare or practice while I am at work. I know who this driver is, and I trust them. We want this app to be a community-driven app, not a company-driven app. I want everyone to be drivers; you drive, I drive.
What does TabXi do? Riders can get a ride from Point A to Point B. Riders can start a tab with TabXi, so instead of getting 14 different electronic receipts for different rides, I can just get one when I close out my tab. You do not have to start a tab; you can pay by the ride. Riders also get to select their driver. We also built in a benefit program where every $100 you spend is 100 points, and every 100 points is $5 cash back. If I have not closed out my tab yet, I can use those points to reduce the cost of my tab.
What tools does TabXi use to ensure safety? We have background checks for our drivers. Drivers must be 21 years old or older and have proof of insurance. And I also require a three-year background check on your driving record; that is what is required at my current job where I drive a company car, so I thought it would not hurt to add that, as well.
Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at email@example.com.