Volkswagen is the latest automaker giant to dip a toe into ride-hailing.
The car maker said on Tuesday that it has invested $300 million in Israeli startup Gett, a service similar to Uber, Lyft, and Didi Chuxing that operates in 60 cities worldwide. But unlike its rivals, Gett’s drivers ferry passengers in taxis and black cars.
But it could open the door to Volkswagen and Gett eventually working together on car-sharing or providing services to businesses, though Gett declined to provide more details. But it did say that self-driving cars are not currently in the plans.
“On-demand ride booking is growing rapidly,” Gett co-founder and CEO Shahar Waiser said in a statement. “In that context, Gett provides the Volkswagen Group with the technology to expand beyond car ownership to on-demand mobility for consumers.”
He continued: “Further, both companies are equally successful with consumers and businesses; and VW will now be able to expand its leadership position by also offering on-demand rides to the B2B market,” referring to business customers.
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Volkswagen is only the latest company to take up an interest in ride-hailing and car-sharing services. In January, General Motors (GM) announced a $500 million investment in U.S.-based Lyft, as well as a partnership to eventually use GM’s self-driving cars as part of Lyft’s fleet. Since then, GM has debuted car-sharing programs in Ann Arbor, Mich. and Chicago, with more cities to come. BMW and Daimler also have their own car-sharing programs.
Meanwhile, Apple last week revealed a $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing, the leading service in China, Didi Chuxing is allied with Lyft, as well as fellow ride-hailing services Ola (India) and Grab (Southeast Asia) to let their users book rides through each other’s services when traveling.
Gett, which operates in cities like London, Tel Aviv, and New York, is far more open about its financials that its competitors. The company says it has a $500 million annualized run rate, a hypothetical annual revenue estimate based on its current monthly sales. Gett also says it’s profitable in several cities where it operates, although it provided no details or whether that excludes certain administrative costs. Gett also says that more than 4,000 companies use its service to transport employees, generating 30% of the its total revenue.
Last year, Gett started a delivery service, including food like pizza and champagne. It also has a courier service in London for customers who need to send something off to be delivered.
Taking an investment from Volkswagen allies Gett with one of the world’s biggest automakers. The Volkswagen Group (VLKAY), whose brands include Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, and others, says it has a nearly 25% share of the consumer car market in Western Europe, and 12.3% worldwide.
Volkswagen’s investment brings Gett’s total funding to $520 million. Gett declined to comment on its valuation in the deal. Previously, Gett was rumored to be seeking a $2 billion valuation, up from its previous $575 million valuation.
Waiser founded Gett, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, in 2010 with Roi More. Other investors include Access Industries, Kreos Capital, and Inventure Partners.