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Business Comment

Toby Green: Investors hail taxi apps as it gets mean on the streets


Outlook There is certainly no let-up in the appetite among investors for taxi apps. Yesterday GetTaxi announced it was on the brink of closing a $150m (£90m) funding round, having received a single $25m injection from Swedish investment firm Vostok Nafta.

It will mean the Israeli start-up, which in London is the only cab booking app that works solely with black taxis, will have raised a total of more than $207m.

A number of its rivals have also been busy this year. Lyft – which only operates in the US, where its cars can be identified by a pink fluffy moustache on the bonnet – managed to attract $250m in April.

Then, of course, there’s the behemoth that is Uber, hated by black cabs here but loved by tech investors if June’s $1.2bn fundraising – valuing the whole company at a whopping $17bn – is anything to go by.

The so-called “taxi wars” have already turned ugly, with Uber and Lyft currently swapping claims that employees of the other has booked thousands of trips before swiftly cancelling them in an attempt at sabotage (both have denied doing this).

Given there are plenty of other apps including, in the UK, Kabbee and Hailo, vying for your custom, it’s hard to know who will still be standing when the dust settles. But one thing is for sure – it is going to be a well-funded battle.