Private car service app Uber has taken the U.S. by storm in the select markets they are doing business in. You simply download the app and have a car come and get you (in select markets). Across the pond in London there’s another company operating in both London and Dublin, doing the same thing with taxicabs.
We profiled Hailo a few weeks back. The startup came about from three taxi drivers as a way to provide more fares and make the taxi experience in the UK more social. Long gone are the days where a taxi driver needs to wait all day at a cab stand or a passenger needs to stand on the street corner to wave somebody down.
With Hailo (like Uber) a few taps of an app and your taxicab is on the way. They also allow you to pay through the app with a credit or debit card and of course you can pay the cab driver with cash. They’ll also hold the meter off for five minutes.
Hailo has already seen 200,000 downloads from consumers in London and over 3200 taxi drivers have downloaded it. Hailo has about 1700 cabs using the app for fares.
TechCrunch reported yesterday that Hailo had raised $17 million in a series A round led by Accel Partners. The company is looking to bring Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, and New York on rather quickly. Hailo’s CEO Jay Bregman does realize that it will be a hurdle to get over New Yorks stringent taxicab regulations.
As with their London market, Hailo isn’t looking to provide cabbies with full time work but rather supplement their normal amount of fares with extra fares. Hailo has also enlisted the help of drivers that are using the app to take on management roles within the cities they service.
American rival Uber just finished a $32 million dollar round of financing and said that they hope to be operational in London before this summer’s Olympics. The main difference between Uber and Hailo is that Uber uses private car companies while Hailo is striving by working with actual cabs ,a move that could potentially make customers feel safer and more comfortable with the transaction.