Uber rival Taxify gets unicorn status with investment led by Daimler

Taxify, a European competitor to Uber, has raised $175 million in a funding round led by German automaker Daimler.

The Tallinn, Estonia-based start-up secured a $1 billion valuation after the investment, helping it enter the ranks of Europe’s unicorn companies.

Korelya Capital, a French venture capital fund, Taavet Hinrikus, the co-founder of U.K.-based money transfer start-up TransferWise, and existing investor Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing firm, all participated in the round.

Daimler, which owns Uber competitor MyTaxi, will join Taxify’s board following the investment.

“Taxify is an ideal addition to our existing and extensive mobility services portfolio,” Joerg Lamparter, head of mobility services at Daimler Financial Services, said in a statement Wednesday.

Taxify currently has 10 million customers signed up to its platform and is present in 25 countries. The company entered London, a key battleground for Uber, last year.

Taxify said it would use the latest investment to develop its technology and further expand in home markets like Europe and Africa.

The investment comes as Uber, the world’s best known ride-hailing start-up, tries to reshape its public image under new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi. Under former boss Travis Kalanick, Uber was hit with a series of scandals, from sexual harassment complaints against the company, to allegations that it tried to evade regulation in various cities.

In London, the company is fighting to keep its license to operate after a ban by the city’s transport regulator last year. Also in 2017, a British judge ruled that Uber drivers should be classified as formal workers rather than as self-employed, presenting a challenge for both Uber and the so-called “gig economy.” Uber has long maintained that its drivers are self-employed rather than employees, and are therefore not entitled to rights including holiday pay and a minimum wage.

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