Exclusive: Hailo Raising $30M at $140M Valuation for Epic NYC E-Taxi Throwdown With Uber
Hailo, the European taxi-hailing app, is raising a large round of funding as it prepares to do battle in the U.S. market, specifically in New York City.
The London-based company is poised to close a $30 million in Series B funding, according to multiple sources close to the situation, with the likely lead investor being Fred Wilson of NYC-based Union Square Ventures.
Hailo has been hailed as one of the most promising European start-ups, and had raised $17 million in Series A funding from Accel Partners, Atomico and Wellington Partners earlier this year. The app helps iPhone and Android users secure yellow cab rides on the go, and pay for them automatically with a credit card.
The new round values Hailo at about $140 million, sources said. That’s a discount from competitor Uber, which was valued at more than double that amount when it raised funding a year ago.
After finding early success in Dublin, London and Toronto, Hailo launched its first U.S. city, Boston, in October, and then hit Chicago in November. Now, like many other smartphone ride apps, it’s gearing up to address the New York City market once e-hailing becomes legal there.
New York regulators cleared the way for e-hailing with a vote in December, and their revised policies are expected to hit the streets in February 2013. That makes it crunch time for Hailo, Uber, Flywheel (formerly Cabulous), GetTaxi, and other competitors, especially considering that drivers are likely to be permitted to work with only one provider. Plus, given that there’s so much competition, the cost of marketing has become significant.
Hailo is already spending heavily in that effort. Said one competitor: “In New York, at the regulatory meetings at the end of November, there were probably 50 people there, and 25 of them were in Hailo T-shirts.”
Hailo did not return requests for comment.