Transportation

Daimler close to buying Taxibeat in Greece for around $43M

Comment

Image Credits:

Automakers are continuing to ramp up their holdings in the world of on-demand transportation services, and in the latest development, Germany’s Daimler is closing in on a deal to acquire Taxibeat, a profitable ride-hailing app based out of Athens, for a price of around €40 million ($43 million).

The deal — which would roll Taxibeat into the same Daimler division that includes MyTaxi and Hailo, was originally reported in the Greek-language financial publication Naftenporiki. Daimler, which also owns Mercedes Benz and a number of other brands, declined to comment for this story, but we have confirmed that the deal is progressing with sources close to the automaker. The acquisition sounds like it will close soon.

Taxibeat had raised under $7 million, according to Crunchbase, representing a good return for its investors, which include Hummingbird Ventures and Openfund.

Unlike some of the other services that connect riders with drivers in the back end before presenting you with your ride, Taxibeat’s app presents cars in a marketplace format, where you have the option to take a ride from a driver selected by Taxibeat, or select a driver based on user ratings and other factors like whether the car has WiFi.

Taxibeat is one example of a counter-theme in the world on-demand transportation.

While Uber has spent a lot of money expanding internationally and making itself nearly ubiquitous across the world’s cities (it’s now in 540 of them globally), there are a large number of competitors that have built businesses focusing on a much smaller number of markets, where they are giving Uber and other incumbents a run for their money.

Taxibeat, according to the report in the Greek newspaper, is seeing an annual growth rate of about 180%, has some 850,000 customers in Athens, and it is profitable.

That is on the back of Taxibeat being active only in two markets: its home market of Greece, where there are 7,000 drivers in Athens on its network, making it one of the leading providers in that city; and in Peru, where there are 15,000 drivers and 800,000 customers.

All the same, we’re also in a period of some consolidation in this area of tech, in part because there is an economy of scale involved in building these services out, and in order to expand a business, it’s not clear if any single pure-play ride hailing company would be able to raise anything like the multiple billions that Uber has now raised  in funding (only Didi and Lyft come close, but even they are a far cry away).

There have been a lot of recent moves by car makers to step into ride-hailing services — made popular by the rise of companies like Uber — either by taking investments in these businesses or buying them outright.

This is part of a strategy to hedge their bets in a future where people may not own cars outright, but may instead rent cars when they need them, or just ride in cars operated by others. Earlier this month, Renault acquired another car service, Karhoo in the UK. Last year, VW invested $300 million in Gett, GM put $500 million in Lyft, and Ford acquired the Chariot shuttle service.

Daimler is actually one of the earlier movers on this front. It took its first stake in MyTaxi in early 2012. It eventually acquired it, and RideScout, in 2014. Last year, Daimler also took a majority stake in UK’s Hailo.

Some of these deals are about getting into a business as it is growing and before it becomes a potential rival — GM’s $500 million investment boosted Lyft’s valuation to $5.5 billion.

And some are aimed at getting a distressed asset at a low price with the aim of recapitalising, restructuring and hopefully making it into a viable business: Renault’s acquisition of London-based Karhoo was for only $1 million, plus a $15 million commitment for investment — purchasing the startup from its administrators when it couldn’t pay the bills after it ran out of VC money (documents shared with us by sources noted it had raised around $52 million, not the $250 million that was claimed).

We have also contacted Taxibeat with a request for comment and will update this story as we learn more.

H/T to readers David de Chambrier and Victoria Stathopoulou from Reload Greece.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo