Volkswagen Investing $300 Million in Israeli Cab-hailing Startup Gett

German automobile maker also forming strategic partnership with goal of being major player on ‘on-demand mobility’ in next decade.

A Gett cab, formerly known as GetTaxi.
Eyal Toueg

Gett said Tuesday it was getting a giant $300 million investment from the German car maker Volkswagen Group and forming a strategic partnership, giving the Israeli cab-hailing startup a major boost in its competition with industry leader Uber.

Volkswagen said Gett, which operates in 60 cities around the world, would become a key partner as it moves toward a goal of generating a substantial share of sits revenue from “on-demand mobility” by the year 2025.

“We aim to become a world-leading mobility provider by 2025,” Matthias Müller, the chairman of Volkswagen’s the board of management, said in a statement. “Within the framework of our future Strategy 2025, the partnership with Gett marks the first milestone for the Volkswagen Group on the road to providing integrated mobility solutions.”

Many in the global automobile industry fear services like Gett and Uber will lead to a long-term decline in personal car ownership, as getting a ride from others becomes more efficient and practical. Companies are experimenting with ride-sharing schemes, and in January General Motors injected $500 million into the ride-hailing app Lyft.

“The pay-per-ride domain is growing rapidly. In that context, Gett provides VW with the technology to expand beyond car ownership to on-demand mobility for consumers and businesses,” said Gett CEO Shahar Waiser, who founded the company in 2011 with Roi More as Get Taxi.

The Gett app enables users to book on-demand rides instantly or pre-book them for later. More recently, it has developed apps that provide for deliveries and logistics. The company says the predictive algorithms and artificial intelligence platform it uses to provide the services could one day lead on-demand autonomous car service.

Already the largest taxi-hailing company in Europe, with 100,000 cars globally, Gett said it would use the capital injection to hasten its expansion in the rest of Europe and strengthen its position in New York City, as well as invest in research and development, it said.

Drivers who use Gett will be offered terms on Volkswagen vehicles that are better than market rates, Gett said.

The VW investment brings the total capital raised by Gett to $520 million, whose backers include Access Industries, a closely held industrial group controlled by Len Blavatnik, and the British investment fund Kreos Capital.

Nahshon Davidai, chief marketing officer at Gett, declined to say how much the company was now valued at. The Swedish venture capital fund Vostok New Venture, said that Gett had been valued at $575 million a year ago when Polish venture fund MCI put $20 million into the company. In November last year, TheMarker reported that Gett was looking to raise debt capital at a $2 billion valuation.

The Financial Times reported Tuesday that Gett is profitable in several cities, with annual revenues of $500 million. Get counts 700 employees, of whom 250 are in its Israeli R&D center.