Hummingbird Ventures backs Greek startup Taxibeat

Taxibeat has closed $4 million funding from Hummingbird Ventures. The capital will be used for expansion and growth in major international markets. Headquartered in Athens, Greece, Taxibeat is a taxi-hailing startup.

PRESS RELEASE

Taxibeat, a Greek-based mobile start-up leveraging mobile technology to simplify and improve the taxi-hailing experience, is again revving its engines with a new $4 million (USD) funding round.
The funding from venture capital fund Hummingbird Ventures will be used to continue the company’s fast expansion and growth in major international markets from Paris to Sao Paolo.
Founded in Athens in May, 2011, Taxibeat previously raised $3 million (USD) from private investors while expanding its services across urban centers in Europe, including Athens and Paris. The 2-year-old mobile tool also launched across the pond, in major cities including Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and, most recently, Sao Paulo.
Taxibeat’s work stands out amid the ranks of apps-developers trying to digitize how people hail taxis (e.g. Easy Taxi, Hailo, myTaxi) as the only app to bring the wisdom of the masses to the world of taxis. Its unique rating system enables passengers to make an informed choice when looking for a ride from the airport or a night out in the city, while putting drivers in control of their brand and business. The ratings provided by customers rank drivers so that passengers can better assess their options.
In addition, the application gives taxi drivers, who pay a small commission on rides they earn through Taxibeat, the tools to better understand and serve customers. In turn, Taxibeat makes vying for customers competitive in the healthiest of ways, said Nikos Drandakis, Taxibeat founder and CEO.
“We don’t just strip out the tedious call to the taxi operator, nor do we service a ‘blind date’ between passengers and drivers,” Drandakis said. “Instead, we provide at-a-glance info to help you choose which car and driver you want to hail, and thenrate them afterwards.”
Taxibeat’s application also provides driver profiles (i.e. spoken languages, types of cars and interior amenities). Because taxi drivers have typically worked as anonymous service providers, building a repeat customer base has been difficult, if not impossible. In the old system, courteous drivers rarely were rewarded for their efforts while unruly drivers prowled the streets unchecked.
By providing transparency for both drivers and riders, Taxibeat is changing the game and helping revolutionize the taxi market.
The proceeds of this Series A round from Hummingbird, an investment capital fund which focuses on high growth software and digital media companies, will further accelerate Taxibeat’s growth in its current markets. It will also help Taxibeat expand to new markets in South America and Southern Europe, Drandakis explained.
“We are very excited at becoming partners with Hummingbird Ventures,” he said. “We’ll take advantage of their funding, expertise and connections to further accelerate our growth and take our company to the next level, becoming a truly efficient global company. We’re well on our way.”
The company’s expansion strategy involves launching in large taxi markets that are hard to manage and therefore challenged by quality of service (and even safety). It’s these two problems which the Taxibeat application solves most efficiently and effectively.
By comparison, Mexico City licenses 100,000 taxis, while Sao Paulo and Rio deJaneiro license 31,000 and 28,000 taxis, respectively. In addition to Central and South America, the application is available in the European city of Athens and Paris.
Taxibeat currently serves $40 million (USD) in taxi cab transactions annually. It’s growing at a rate of 18 percent month over month, with those numbers risingsteadily as its new markets mature.

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