KDDI Open Innovation Fund invests in taxi app Hailo Network Holdings
A US$66 million establishment set up by KDDI Corporation of Japan and Global Brain, a Japanese Venture Capital firm, the KDDI Open Innovation Fund has recently announced an investment in London-based taxi app venture, Hailo Network Holdings Limited.
The app which enables users to “hail” taxies using their smartphones makes sure that people are never more than two taps away from a licensed taxi and will make sure that drivers get more passengers when they want them.
Based on a network of at least 10,000 cabbies in London alone, Hailo’s success comes from having an intimate knowledge of the cab trade since it was set up by three entrepreneurs and three taxi drivers in London in 2010.
Not only has this app made taxis more sociable and profitable, it is fast expanding globally and is now operating in London, Dublin, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, and Tokyo from 2013 onwards.
The expansion into Asia will be done together with KDDI and its wholly owned subsidiary, Hailo Network Japan Co., Ltd, through the KDDI Open Innovation Fund.
With Global Brain being assigned as general partner of the fund, both KDDI and Global Brain will begin providing necessary support to further strengthen Hailo’s corporate value following the investment.
Hailo has now raised more than US$50 million, led by Atomico, the private equity fund created by the founders of Skype, Wellington Partners and Accel Partners, which backed Facebook, Groupon and Dropbox. The app was also be launched next month in New York with the backing of Manhattan’s largest technology venture capital firm, Union Square Ventures.