Hailo Puts $30m on the Meter

The taxi-hailing app founded by three London cabbies has raised $30m (£19m) from the VC firm that backed Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. With Tom Barr, former Starbucks exec, joining as the company’s US president and COO, the company’s next stop this quarter is New York.

The funding was led by Union Square Investors, others backers now include Richard Branson and the Japanese telco, KDDI, which has an exclusive partnership to support launches in Asia, starting with Tokyo’s 40,000 taxi drivers in a market estimated at $25bn.

“In just over a year, we have operations in ten cities across six countries and sales in excess of $100m. We now have the senior team, resources, and the investment and corporate partners to deliver our vision of bringing Hailo to NYC, Tokyo, and every street corner in every major city in the world,” said Jay Bregman, Hailo CEO and co-founder.

Nailed Dublin, Madrid next

Hailo secured $17m from Accel Partners in March to launch in Dublin –  where it became the number one taxi service in the city in just three months – and has gone live in Boston, Toronto and Chicago since the service was unveiled in November 2011. Twitter’s US sales director, Bruce Daisley, speaking at today’s Mobile Marketing Association Brand and Agency Briefing, reveleaved how Hailo uses hastag targeting to drum up new business, tweeting out statements like ‘heading for the #websummit in Dublin today?’.

Hailo, now considered the best-funded taxi app in the world, with $50.6m raised to date, is on its way to Spain, beginning with Madrid and Barcelona. Hailo says it has 10,000 London taxi drivers, from whom is takes a 10 per cent cut from the fare, which makes it the dominant e-hail application in London. Earlier this month, Hailo launched an outdoor, print and digital campaign in the capital.

The $30.6m Series B round also included Moscow-based Phenomen Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, as well as existing investors Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, which provided initial seed money, and Skype founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico Ventures.

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