The taxi-hailing service space is about to get much more competitive as Taxify raises $ 175 million dollars to expand services to Africa and Europe. Competitors in the region include Uber and Little Cabs.
The lead investor in the funding round was German automotive manufacturer and owner of the Mercedes Benz brand Daimler. Other investors included French venture capital firm Korelya Capital, Taavet Hirikus (founder of fintech company Transferwise) and Didi Chuxing from China, a fierce competitor for first mover Uber recently buying Uber’s China operations. The lead investor Daimler will join Taxify’s board.
Speaking on the investment Taxify’s South Africa Country Manager Gareth Taylor said, “This investment is exciting for Taxify in South Africa as it will provide additional momentum to expand the platform’s availability to drivers and riders in more cities.”
Taxify which has managed to rival Uber in Africa and Europe has said that it will use the investment to further develop its technology and expand operations into new cities in Africa and Europe.
This latest round of investment values Taxify at $ 1 billion joining an exclusive group of start-ups at that valuation that includes Facebook, social game developer Zynga, camera company Snap and online content creator Leaf Group who all went public. Five years after it’s launch in Estonia Taxify is currently in 25 countries with 10 million customers.
Taxify is the brainchild of Markus Viliig who started the company at 19 and is now among the youngest CEOs of a company valued at $1 billion at 24 years old. He borrowed money from his parents to start the service with a mission to operate in his home country of Estonia. That vision has expanded to include Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK and Australia.
Announcing the investment, Taxify CEO expressed optimism for the ride-hailing service saying that the company grew 10 times in the last year while operating in the complex markets of Europe and Africa. He said that the company was on a mission to chart the future of mobility and expressed gladness that investors like Daimler and Didi were behind them.
In the Kenyan market, Taxify has been on a fierce price war with rivals Uber and Safaricom backed Little Cab. In April this year, Taxify unveiled a new service dubbed Taxify Go charging users a minimum of sh 100 for rides, this is in competition with Ubers Chap Chap service that charges a minimum of sh 190 per ride.