Estonian Taxify announed today that they have raised a whooping € 1.4 million from Latvian Rubylight (Forticom Group architects, founders of One.lv sold to Odnoklassniki, investors in Ask.fm), Adcash (one of world’s foremost advertising networks in the industry) and London-based investment fund TMT Investments (have also invested in Pipedrive and Vital Fields). This is the largest investment in Baltic taxi app sector to date.
Taxify is a taxi ordering app for iOS, Android and web browser that connects users with licensed taxi companies. We have been watching Taxify quite closely from their launch last August as mTakso, followed by hockeystick growth stats in February all the way to their seed round in April, local taxi monopoly resistance in Finland and eventual launch during Slush outperforming Uber in Helsinki. According to Distimo, Taxify is among top3 Apple App Store apps in Estonia on weekends ever since February.
Tallinn seems to have reached its growth potential, as Taxify representative explained earlier this year
. The key source of future growth for Taxify is in new locations. Over the last year Taxify has been naming several potential locations as diverse as Eastern Europe, Asia, the US, Nordics, Greece and the Netherlands. Unveiling franchise partnership scheme
that still allows potential entrepreneurs from all over the world to set up Taxify operations in their own city on revenue sharing terms also adds to the uncertainty.
Markus Villig clarifies the situation: ‘First we want to make strong entrance to Central-European markets, as the interest from local taxi companies is remarkable. At the rapid growth stage we pay extra attention to high quality of taxi services, so both the taxi drivers and customers would be satisfied.’
Taxify is currenty active in 4 countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. Their announcement today indicates that besides strengthening its position in existing markets Taxify plans adding four more locations over the next months. Because of the franchise partnership model the exact locations will most likely depend on local partner interest.
Taxify declined to disclose the number of users due to fierce competition, yet Google Play indicates 50,000-100,000 downloads for their user app and 5,000-10,000 for their driver app. With no reliable numbers about iOS downloads and users from mobile browsers and Taxify press release stating ‘hundreds of users’ and ’20x growth since January’ our best guess would be that Taxify has been downloaded 200,000-300,000 times. The change in disclosure policy that used to be very open back in February
may not necessarily indicate poor resutls but rather more caution as new stakeholders have joined the company.
In any case, this is a newsworthy investment for the Baltic region, not only because of its size but also due to a mix of different investor backgrounds. Cooperation with Adcash may indicate that Taxify will enhance the focus on its marketing efforts or pursue more active user base monetization. Taxify says that they will use Adcash network to expand and grow. In addition, it will definitely be interesting to watch how the combination of expertise from the UK-based TMT Investments coupled with Rubylight experience in Eastern Europe will influence Taxify further development and its competition with Uber and Hailo for Europe’s mobile taxi ordering market.