Car manufacturing giant Volkswagen is investing $300 million in Israeli on-demand taxicab provider Gett, it has just been announced.
Operating in 60 cities worldwide, Gett is one of the fastest-growing mobile ride-hailing providers in the world, rivaling $60 billion company Uber. The strategic investment – which will allow Volkswagen to expand on-demand mobility services in Europe – comes on the same day as Toyota’s undisclosed investment in Uber, and several months after General Motors invested $500 million in ride-sharing app Lyft.
The plan is for VW to offer on-demand ride services to its business customers, while Gett drivers will be offered discounted VW cars for their taxis.
“Alongside our pioneering role in the automotive business, we aim to become a world leading mobility provider by 2025,” VW chairman Matthias Müller said in a statement.
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The Volkswagen Group is hoping that by partnering with Gett, it will be able to keep up with other automotive giants which have already jumped on the on-demand mobility bandwagon. Automakers fear that the rise of ride-sharing apps and on-demand transportation services such as Gett, Uber, Lyft and Via (another Israeli startup) could lead to a decline in car ownership. That’s why they’re either investing in such startups or starting their own mobility divisions.
While Gett still trails far behind Uber, it is already available in dozens of cities worldwide, including Moscow, New York and London, where half of all the black cabs use Gett. VW says Gett has a “convenient and highly efficient mobility solution” that is “already trusted by more than 4,000 leading corporations worldwide,” and stresses that its business model is based exclusively on licensed drivers who have a permit to carry passengers.
Founded in 2010 by Shahar Waiser and Roi More, Gett has so far raised a total of $520 million. Through the Gett app, consumers can, at the touch of a button, book on-demand rides instantly or pre-book rides for later. Besides transportation, Gett covers innovative delivery and logistics solutions.
“Constantly evolving, Gett’s technology leverages big data, cutting-edge predictive algorithms, and artificial intelligence,” according to VW. “It therefore serves as the foundation for a viable on-demand autonomous car operation.”
Gett was recently selected by Forbes magazine as one of the “top 15 explosively growing companies.”