Taxi e-hail startup Hailo is looking to expand the number of cities that it serves, and could soon add San Francisco and Washington, D.C., to that list. Based on a couple of job postings on the company’s website, the company is looking to hire city general managers for those two cities, signaling its plans to launch its app in even more new markets.
The listings were posted as the company looks to take advantage of new funding and introduce its service in new cities. A few months ago, Hailo raised $30 million from Union Square Ventures, KDDI, Richard Branson, and other investors. With that cash, the company is looking to expand across a number of new cities. As CEO Jay Bregman wrote to me when I asked about the San Francisco job posting, Hailo wants to be wherever there are licensed cab drivers:
“Hailo wants to be in New York. Hailo wants to be in San Francisco. Hailo wants to be in Breckinridge, CO. Hailo uses existing infrastructure and works anywhere there are licensed cabs.
Setting up a local infrastructure and recruiting driver-partners and local drivers are key pieces of our operating philosophy. We understand that more medallions are slated to be on the streets of SF and drivers are worried about making ends meet. Help is on the way.”
Hailo’s app is currently available in London, Dublin, Toronto, Boston and Chicago. The company is also working to bring its e-hail app to New York, Tokyo, Madrid, and Barcelona soon.
In New York City, Hailo — and all the other taxi apps, for that matter — are still in a holding pattern while waiting for litigation to clear up between the Taxi & Limousine Commission and a bunch of livery car drivers. (That’s something we’ll be talking about at Disrupt NY 2013 in a few weeks, by the way.) The Tokyo launch comes in part thanks to that investment from Japanese telco KDDI.
The San Francisco market is already pretty well acquainted with on-demand ride services. Local residents have been using their mobile phones to hail rides from services like Uber for a while. There’s also Lyft and SideCar for those who don’t mind riding in some regular dude’s car. Flywheel, another taxi hail app, has been in the Bay Area for a while, also. (You might have known it as Cabulous.) Oh, and then there’s InstantCab, which offers some kind of a hybrid cab and community driver ride-share thing. So there’s plenty of Hailo competitors already there.
In Washington, D.C., the competition isn’t quite as fierce, but Hailo won’t be alone in the e-hail market. Uber has been operating in the capital for a while, and has even launched its UberTAXI service there, thanks to a deal it struck with the local city council. SideCar is also in D.C. now, thanks to a big national rollout that it’s been embarking on after raising $10 million of its own. And Taxi Magic is also in D.C., doing the taxi e-hail thing Hailo wants to be doing already.
But hey, competition is good, right? It makes everyone better, gives consumers choice, gives me something to write about.
UPDATE: Oh hey, just so you don’t get your panties in a wad. Apparently these job postings are really old so Hailo might not be moving as quickly as I thought. Sorry guys, I am so ashamed.