London-based Taxi app business Hailo has secured $17 million (£10.6 million) in Series A capital, one of the largest ever first round financings for a European start-up.
The funding has come from Accel Partners, the venture capital firm behind investments in Facebook, Groupon and Kayak, and will be used by Hailo to expand into new markets including the US and take advantage of upcoming events such as the summer Olympic Games in London.
The business was founded by three London cab drivers and three technology entrepreneurs. Initial seed capital was provided by Wellington Parters and Atomico in April 2011, while the service launched in November 2011.
Hailo’s service allows a customer to request a taxi, chose a form of payment and provides a countdown until the vehicle arrives. Passengers are then asked to rate the service.
The app also provides a version for taxi drivers, allowing them to communicate with each other and create a personal log book.
The deal has been described as a ‘ringing endorsement’ of the Hailo team, as well as its technology and driver network, says CEO Jay Bregman.
Bregman adds, ‘In less than five months since the service was launched in London, more than 3,200 black cab drivers have registered with Hailo, carrying some 100,000 passengers. A Hailo cab is booked every minute of every day in London.
‘We have embraced cutting-edge technology to change the way people use taxis, while providing a much-needed shot in the arm to one of London’s longest-standing and loved traditions – the black cab.’
Accel, which has offices in London, New York and Silicon Valley, has a track record of investing in the mobile sector. Portfolio businesses inlcude Rovio, the developers behind the Angry Birds game, and Dropbox.
Adam Valkin, partner at Accel Partners, comments, ‘We believe that mobile will transform the personal transportation market and Hailo is well positioned to be a global player in this process. Over the past two years Hailo has demonstrated its ambition and execution capability by transforming a concept into the largest network of its kind. Our investment is a reflection of our confidence in the Hailo team and the opportunity ahead of them.’
Valkin, from Accel’s London office, is set to join the Hailo board, with Silicon Valley partner Sameer Gandhi joining the board as an observer.
Existing investors Atomico Ventures and Wellington Partners also participated in the round.