Daimler, the German car maker, is close to inking a deal to acquire Taxibeat, a profitable ride-hailing app in Athens.
According to a report by TechCrunch, Daimler is paying around $43 million for Taxibeat. Under the deal, Taxibeat would be rolled into the Daimler unit that includes MyTaxi and Hailo. Sources close to the automaker said the deal is progressing and should close soon. Daimler wouldn’t comment on the report, noted TechCrunch.
Taxibeat has raised a little under $7 million and is different than other ride-hailing apps because it presents the cars in a marketplace where users can get a ride by a driver chosen by Taxibeat or choose one based on user ratings and amenities, such as Wi-Fi. Citing a Greek newspaper, TechCrunch noted Taxibeat has seen growth per year of about 180 percent and boasts 850,000 customers in Athens. Taxibeat is also in Peru, where it has 15,000 drivers and around 800,000 customers.
The move on the part of Daimler to acquire Taxibeat comes at a time when car makers are getting into the ride-hailing game, backing the startups by making investments or buying them outright. In January of last year, GM invested $500 million in Lyft, while Volkswagen has invested $300 million in Gett. More recently, Renault acquired U.K.-based ride service Karhoo.
Their moves are also coming amid a period of consolidation in the industry as the startups realize they can’t raise as much money as the leader Uber has raised. In July, Uber completed greater than 2 billion trips on its app just six months after completing its first billion rides. In a post on Facebook, Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick said the company reached the 2 billion ride mark on June 18 when 147 Uber rides started at the same time. The CEO noted that it took five years to reach its billionth trip and six months to get to the next billion. Uber is hoping the next billion will happen quicker than that.