by Mike Butcher
Taxibeat, an iOS and Android taxi app with an innovative approach to hailing a cab (which works particularly well in emerging markets), has secured a new $4 million funding round from London-based Hummingbird Ventures. The startup previously raised $3 million from private investors and has been expanding its services across urban centres in European cities like Athens and Paris, and in Latin America, including Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and, most recently, Sao Paulo. Founded in Athens in May, 2011, Taxibeat says it currently serves $40 million (USD) in taxi cab transactions annually and is growing at a rate of 18 percent month over month. We covered their formal launch at Le Web last year.
Now, while there are plenty of taxi apps (Easy Taxi, Hailo, myTaxi, GetTaxi, you name it) Taxibeat has a genuinely different approach. Whereas most apps simply find the nearest available taxi that can pick you up – a method which works fine in developed countries where the the taxis are already regulated – Taxibeat allows you to pick the taxi driver that you prefer, based your preferences and the ratings from previous customers. That means it works very well in booming emerging markets, where formal regulation and oversight of taxis remains thin on the ground. It could even give some apps like Lyft a run for their money.