Get Taxi, the Israeli online cab-ordering service, said yesterday it has raised $20 million to help finance the company's entry into New York and other U.S. markets.
Investors in the round, the third since the company was formed two years ago, include Access Industries, which is the investment arm of Len Blavatnik, Get Taxi's founders, as well as its joint CEOs, Shahar Waiser and Roy Mor.
Before this week's round, Get Taxi had raised another $30 million, including a $9.5 million round completed less than a year ago.
The proceeds will also be used to strengthen the company's presence in existing markets, which include Israel, London and Moscow.
Nimrod May, Get Taxi's deputy CEO for marketing, said the company doesn't see itself as another mobile application, but rather as an innovative.
"We are a company that's bringing change to an industry that hasn't witnessed much change since the days when you could first order a taxi by phone, and to offer a new experience," he said. "The idea is that we offer a significant improvement for drivers, private passengers and business passengers."
Get Taxi enables people to order a cab from their mobile phone or the company's website.
When the customer orders a taxi, they are informed of the name of the driver and other vehicle information, as well as real-time views of the taxi ordered. They can rank drivers, view previous ride details and earn points toward free rides and other benefits.
The Get Taxi application identifies the location of the customer ordering the cab through his or her smartphone's global positioning system (GPS ). It then sends the nearest available taxi registered with the network. The rider gets an update about when the vehicle will arrive.
The system operates on iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.
The Get Taxi network includes hundreds of thousands of riders and more than 2,000 drivers in 15 cities - 13 in Israel, as well as Moscow and London. May said most of the drivers enrolled in the network have left the taxi services they were previously working for in order to drive as independents receiving orders through Get Taxi.
The service was inaugurated in Moscow in March, and May said the number of users has doubled in each month since. A cab is "hailed" over the system once every 10 seconds at peak hours, he said.
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