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GetTaxi expands its UK business with help from UKTI
Advice and introductions from UKTI helps Israeli technology company GetTaxi expand its UK operations, allowing it to double its staff in 2015.
From its inception GetTaxi aimed to expand into international markets.
London is one of the largest markets for GetTaxi’s app which connects customers and taxi drivers. The company sought advice from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in August 2014 to further develop its business in the UK.
Remo Gerber, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), GetTaxi said,
UKTI helped us ascertain the viability of a national rollout quicker than we would have been able to do on our own.
They took the time to get to know how our company works and then offered us specific and targeted advice.
London initial launch
The company started operating in London and Moscow a year after its successful launch in Tel Aviv.
It chose London due to its large network of black taxis, whose drivers are respected around the world for their extensive knowledge of the city’s streets.
The company collaborated closely with black taxi drivers to improve and tailor its technology to their needs. Over 4,000 London black taxi drivers have already signed up with GetTaxi.
After a successful launch in London GetTaxi began looking into opportunities in other UK cities in August 2014.
London and Partners referred the company to UKTI, and an adviser in Tel Aviv got in touch to offer support.
GetTaxi’s executives were invited to the British Embassy in Tel Aviv to better understand the company’s plans. Together they identified 6 target cities in the UK.
UKTI then connected the company with local councils in these cities to help the company develop its business model. The relevant local enterprise partnerships also helped GetTaxi find short-term office solutions.
Remo Gerber, CEO, GetTaxi said,
We took the time to really get to know the UK’s business environment so we could successfully grow into new cities.
We feel very fortunate that UKTI was so proactive and contacted us when they did.
The advice we received has smoothed the way for our entry into these 6 cities.
Moreover, their support has given our company credibility in markets where our name is not yet recognised. As GetTaxi grows both in the UK and internationally, we plan to continue to work closely with UKTI. Their advice, guidance and experience is second to none.
Potential IPO ?
GetTaxi is considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO). UKTI has introduced the company to institutional investors focused on technology companies. These introductions highlighted London as a potential flotation location and helped GetTaxi understand the local demand for tech stocks.
Remo Gerber, CEO, GetTaxi said,
… as a result of UKTI’s introductions to potential investors, we are now seriously considering London as a location for our IPO.
In February 2015, GetTaxi announced the launch of its technology in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester, with Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham soon to follow. The expansion will result in the hiring of 50 new members of staff across the UK.
The company plans to first target private passengers in these cities and then roll out its technology to business clients in the coming months.
GetTaxi is now working closely with UKTI to expand the business to new markets around the world, including New York where the local UKTI team is already in contact with the company.
Israeli entrepreneur Shahar Waiser came up with the idea for GetTaxi in the summer of 2009 as he waited 30 minutes for a taxi to the airport in Palo Alto.
Along with his business partner Roi More he developed an app that connects customers and taxi drivers. This uses a proprietary GPS system enabling users to contact a cab already in the area, either with their smartphone or through the company’s website.
The company now has over 300 employees worldwide and has raised over £131.4 million in venture funding.
The GetTaxi technology is used in:
- over 20,000 taxis around the world
- 24 cities across 4 countries, including the UK, Israel, Russia and the USA