GetTaxi Grabs $20M from Access Industries, Catches a Ride to New York
An Israeli startup is bringing its Web and mobile app to the United States to help people who are tired of waving, whistling, and dancing around to hail cabs in busy cities. GetTaxi announced today it raised $20 million, largely a follow-on investment from Access Industries, to help put its app to work in New York and other metropolises. The app, already in use in Israel, Russia, and Britain, lets people find and pay for taxis with their smartphones. For passengers with no time to spare, the app could streamline the way they get around town.
GetTaxi, co-founded in 2010 in Israel by Shahar Waiser and Roi More, has thus far raised $30 in total funding. Jing Wang Herman, CEO of GetTaxi USA, heads up the recently established New York-based U.S. headquarters for the company. The service—available in 15 cities outside the U.S.—was introduced in Britain in 2011 and then in Russia earlier this year. “The plan is to establish a global grid,” Herman says. Once the service is in place in the U.S., local users can hire taxis with the app even when overseas. “You can go to London, Moscow, or Israel and be able to use your New York phone and app to book and pay for a taxi.” If users pay for rides through the app, they also do not have to worry about converting currency, she says.
Individuals and businesses that use GetTaxi can put the word out through the app on iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry devices when they need rides. Herman says businesses largely use the company’s Web portal to book taxis. Participating taxi and livery car drivers in the vicinity receive alerts on a GPS-like device that directs them to their fares. The rider receives a confirmation message and estimated pick-up time after the driver takes the job. Passengers can pay with cash, but the GetTaxi service allows the fare to be paid with credit cards assigned to the app and also with Google Wallet.
The service is free for individual passengers to use. GetTaxi draws some of its revenue from dispatch fees paid by the drivers and car fleets that use its platform. Herman says the terms of such arrangements vary by city. In addition to picking up … Next Page »