Valued at $575m, Gett Aims to Raise $2b

Israeli taxi-hailing platform seeks debt financing at unicorn valuation.

Daniel Bar-On

Gett, the taxi-hailing app formerly known as Get Taxi, has joined the hothouse for mobile app company valuations: TheMarker has learned that the company was valued at $575 million as recently as last May and is now looking to raise debt capital at a $2 billion valuation.

News of Gett’s valuation comes as Ola, India’s biggest ride-hailing service, said Tuesday it had raised $500 million from investors including Japan’s SoftBank Group, Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge, Tiger Global and DST Global.

Ola, which completes more than one million bookings a day, will use the funds to grow its existing services and to invest in new markets and products, the company said in a statement. The funding round comes just months after San Francisco-based Uber’s announcement to invest $1 billion in India as the app-based taxi-hailing market in the country heats up.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Lyft, another ride-sharing startup based in San Francisco, is seeking about $500 million in fresh capital at a valuation of about $4 billion. That’s up from Lyfts’s current valuation of about $2.5 billion, it said.

At $2 billion valuation would jettison Gett into the elite ranks of startup unicorns, or companies worth in excess of $1 billion. The list is topped by Uber itself, which raised $1 billion at a $50 billion valuation.

Launched in 2011 as GetTaxi by CEO Shahar Waiser and Roi More, the company’s smartphone app and website work similarly to those of rivals like Uber and Hailo. Some of the companies have met with opposition from drivers and governments, while suffering embarrassing security lapses.

Over the summer Get Taxi changed its name to Gett and began offering itself as a platform for other services such as home deliveries and finding tradespeople such as plumbers.

As a private company, Gett doesn’t report anything about its finances. But a glimpse into the company’s valuation, as investors see it, was disclosed Wednesday when one of them, the Swedish venture capital fund Vostok New Venture, said in its financial report that Gett was valued at $575 million in May.

That month Gett raised $20 million from Polish venture fund MCI at that valuation. That $575 million would represent a 35% increase in Gett’s valuation from a previous round of financing in August 2014 when it raised $150 million.

TheMarker has learned separately that Gett is now trying to raise an unspecified amount of bank debt and has been talking to Israeli and foreign financial institutions. Industry source say Gett is aiming for a $2 billon valuation in talks with the lenders. Gett declined to comment on the report.

The Vostok report based its valuation of Gett by estimating the market in which the company operates at $30 billion, of which Gett is directly addressing 15% to 30%. Gett is dedicated to business customers, of which it has about 2,000, and doesn’t face head-to-head competition with the much bigger and better-funded Uber, which is focused on the consumer market.

Gett operates in 30 cities, among them Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv, London and its fastest growing market, New York.