Richard Branson invests in taxi app Hailo

Virgin boss Richard Branson has become the latest bigwig investor to ride with London-based taxi app Hailo.

The company has raised a $30.6m Series B funding led by Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare backers Union Square Ventures with Branson and Japanese telco KDDI also taking part.

With the newest investment the total capital invested in Hailo has totalled more than $50m. Hailo plans to use the funding to launch in New York, Tokyo, Washington DC, Madrid and Barcelona this year.

Speaking about the investment, Branson said, “Everyone knows I love a good ride. But when the ride is made possible by a smart and simple app that cuts into the 60% of wasteful time drivers spend looking for passengers, then it becomes a great ride for millions of people.

“Hailo is a business that improves the experience for customers and employees and fits all the things I look for in an investment. I have just become an investor and look forward to seeing Hailo enter great big taxi towns such as New York and Tokyo and spread across Europe over the next few months.”

Hailo co-founder and chairman Ron Zeghibe said, “The calibre of investors that we have attracted in this fundraise speaks volumes about what we have achieved and what we, and they, believe is possible. Each has a proven track record of identifying and investing in successful, high growth tech businesses and we are thrilled and proud to have their confidence and know that, with their backing, Hailo is well placed to meet its ambitious global objectives.”

To date, Hailo has made $100m in annual sales and has carried more than 2.5m passengers to date. It has ten offices in six countries, including London, Dublin, Toronto, Chicago and Boston.

Speaking about the USP about the business, co-founder Jay Bregman told LondonlovesBusiness.com back in September, “We build better networks that mean cabbies are closer to more hails and availability is higher for customers without paying a fortune. What also gives us an edge is that the taxi community trusts us because former taxi drivers themselves are behind the business.”

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