Uber’s turbulent year, one riddled with scandals, resignations and reported infighting, added another chapter recently as investor Benchmark filed a fraud lawsuit against former CEO Travis Kalanick. Yet it’s not only in the US where the company has been facing headwinds.
In Europe, Uber had to pull its Denmark operations due to the introduction of new taxi laws, while also going head-to-head with the European Commission over definitions of whether the company should be beholden to strict transport business laws, rather than technology ones.
With Uber struggling, it appears its rivals are out for blood. Last month, Uber ceded its Russian operations to Yandex by merging their respective cab-hailing businesses, and Chinese giant Didi Chuxing—the company that effectively forced Uber out of China—has now backed Estonia-based Taxify and the Middle East's Careem.
Here, we highlight three companies with hefty backing that could give Uber even more to worry about in Europe.
Didi’s backing wasn’t just an investment; the two companies signed a strategic partnership earlier this month to help support Taxify's growth from a current base of 2.5 million users across 18 countries. So while the company is still a minnow, having raised only €2 million in VC funding since its founding in 2013, the deal with Didi will go a long way in supporting the Taxify's big plans.
CEO Markus Villig told Reuters in June that the company plans to take on Uber by offering drivers more money and payment options, and that he expects to be the No. 1 ridehailing in around 10 countries in Europe and Africa by the end of the year.
The company was acquired by Daimler subsidiary moovel in 2014, however that wasn't the journey's end for mytaxi. Last year, it merged with UK-based Hailo, creating a company with 70 million passengers and 100,000 drivers across 50 cities.
The Hamburg-based business has continued its acquisition spree, hoovering up Greece’s Taxibeat in February—adding another country and around 540,000 customers to its portfolio—before acquiring Romania's Clever Taxi in June.
The Israeli startup landed a huge $300 million investment from Volkswagen last May, which seemed to shift its focus on Europe with the German car giant’s aim of getting in on the ridesharing and autonomous car market. Gett followed that by reportedly rejigging its senior management in the continent.
While Gett did buy New York-based Juno in April for $200 million, the plans afoot with the VW/Gett partnership aim squarely at Europe. In December, VW launched Moia, a new company focusing on mobility services, in which Gett will be integrated with the goal of generating a large portion of VW Group revenue by 2025. Given the group's annual revenue is in excess of €200 billion, the hopes for the project are clearly high.