One European mobile taxi network, hail, just received a $17 million round of Series A financing led by Accel Partners on Thursday. The company previously raised $3 million in seed funding from Wellington Partners and Atomico.
Hailo, a London-based company, is a mobile network that matches passengers and licensed taxi drivers to help keep people from being stranded on deserted streets and keep taxi drivers busy. Some people might be familiar with the growingly popular mobile service Uber that has a similar set-up, but with the less-wallet conscious black car services.
The Hailo Driver Network can be accessed via iPhone or Android apps and allow drivers to accept credit cards and factor in tipping options.
The app has already been downloaded nearly 200,000 times. The company was founded by three London cab drivers and three entrepreneurs in back November 2010 and is looking to use this latest round of funding to bring its service to America, and continue to build out the network in London and Dublin.
The network aspect of the app also allows drivers to access traffic issues, messages other drivers about where usage is light or heavy, add airport information and and several other social elements.
For those in need of a taxi, the app will tell you how close the nearest drivers are to your location, and you can then request a pickup. When the driver is nearing arrival, the app will ping you that your driver is close to your location and you can even rate drivers and see previous comments about their service.
Unlike the confusing demand-based prices connected to Uber, users are charged based on what the taxi’s meter reads for the trip. With Hailo, you enter your credit card information once and the app will always use this information for payments-- but you have the choice if you wish to pay with cash.
In London, more than 3,200 taxi drivers have already downloaded the app since its launch last November and the company claims that the average pickup time is around 2 minutess.
Hailo can work with any taxi company since it simply sits on top of the meter and allows drivers who don’t pickup fares via the Hailo app to input a charge manually through the app for a credit card payment.
Hailo created revenue by taking a percentage of each fare that is processed via its pickup app.
The first locations that the company would like to launch in include: Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C. and New York.
Over the last year, Uber has been expanding ambitiously with $32 million of new funding, the company and looking to break into Hailo's hometown of London in time for the summer Olympics.
Like Uber, Hailo is set to spend some of its new dough on Olympics-focused marketing, but already Hailo is part of nearl 15% of the 23,000 available cabs in London.