HAMBURG – Daimler has bought a 15 percent stake in MyTaxi, a provider of an application that allows people to order a taxi with a click of a button on an iPhone or Android smartphone device.
Daimler's Car2go unit and Xing AG founder Lars Hinrichs, together with previous MyTaxi stakeholders Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Venture division and Germany's KfW Group, invested a combined 10 million euros ($13 million) in the venture, Sven Kuelper, chief executive officer and MyTaxi founder, said in an interview.
"We have seen rapid growth since we started" and the company is now intent on expanding beyond Germany and Austria, Kuelper said at MyTaxi's Hamburg headquarters.
"We'll start in Spain and Switzerland in February and are looking at other markets," he added.
About 800,000 people have already downloaded the application and 7,000 taxi drivers are currently using it, the CEO said.
The product is available in 30 cities in Germany and Austria, including Hamburg and Vienna, and will start service in Zurich and Barcelona in February, Kuelper said.
The application shows available taxis on a map, allowing the customer to book the nearest one. A traveler can also determine which taxis accept credit cards or have received high ratings from clients. Distance and arrival time are shown live on the display, as are the name, telephone number, registration number and photo of the driver. There is a fare calculator and a GPS feature for customers who don't know their exact location.
MyTaxi works with Apple Inc.'s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch products, as well as on devices with Google Inc.'s Android software.
Daimler's Car2go, which offers vehicles for rent without advance booking or the need to return cars to a particular place, is a good partner for MyTaxi, Robert Henrich, the unit's chief, said in a statement.
"The services of Car2go and MyTaxi do not compete, but complement each other so that they can be combined to meet the needs of urban transportation in a practical and convenient way," he said.
The Daimler-owned car-rental business also operates in Hamburg and Vienna, as well as in Amsterdam and Austin, Texas, and San Diego in the U.S.