Taxify’s battle to win the ride-hailing market in Africa and Europe has received a major shot in the arm.
The five-year old Estonian startup has raised $175 million in a funding round which values it at more than $1 billion—the coveted unicorn status. The round is led by German car giant Daimler, Europe-based Korelya Capital, and Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of fintech company TransferWise. The round also saw participation from Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing giant in China known for backing Uber’s rivals around the globe.
The investment is Daimler’s latest foray into the ride-hailing transport business after prior investments in European car transport companies, including Flinc, the German carpooling startup. As part of the deal, Daimler will join Taxify’s board and could also offer it access to Moovel, its transport-booking app, with a user base of 2.5 million.
Taxify currently operates in 40 cities—11 of which are in Africa—and is expected to use the new funding to power an expansion into more cities. Its expansion strategy will likely target only cities where the ride-hailing business has been “proven,” as CEO Markus Villing told Bloomberg last year.
Once launched, however, Taxify typically focuses on gaining ground with a simple tactic: enticing drivers by taking lower commissions compared to competitors.