China’s Didi beefs up its newly-independent car services business with an acquisition

A week after spinning out its driver services business and giving it $1 billion in investment capital, Didi Chuxing has added to it through an acquisition.

Xiaoju Automobile Solutions (XAS), which the Didi spinout is called, announced today it has bought Hiservice, a three-year-old company that provides after-service care for car owners using a digital platform.

The deal was undisclosed, but XAS said that Hiservice will be combined with its maintenance and repair division to form a new unit that’s focused on car-owner services such as maintenance, parts and components. That’ll be called Xiaoju Auto Care (小桔养车) for those of you who are keeping up with the names of these Didi subsidiaries.

That auto care business will be jointly run by Yinbo Yi, who had run Didi’s auto care business, and Hiservice founder Cheng Qian, Didi confirmed. The new business claims 28 physical maintenance centers across seven cities in Asia.

Didi’s move to create XAS, which removes an asset-heavy business from the core Didi books, is seen by many as a sign that the company plans to go public soon. Unsurprisingly, Didi isn’t commenting on that at this point. The company was last valued at $56 billion when it raised a $4 billion round late last year — it has since added a $500 million strategic investment from travel company Booking Holdings.

While it is organizing its China-based business, Didi has also spent this year expanding into new markets. It has launched in Mexico, Australia and Taiwan while it acquired Uber rival 99 in Brazil. It is also edging close to launching a taxi-booking service in Japan via a joint venture with SoftBank.

India’s Uber rival Ola is headed to Europe with ride-hailing launch in the UK

The UK is getting a new alternative to Uber after India-based ride-hailing company Ola announced plans to expand to the country, which will become its first market in Europe.

Ola was founded in 2010 and it covers over 110 cities in India where it offers licensed taxis, private hire cars and rickshaws through a network of over one million drivers. The company has raised around $3 billion from investors that include SoftBank, Chinese duo Tencent and Didi Chuxing and DST Global . It was last valued at $7 billion. Ola ventured overseas for the first time when it launched in Australia earlier this year — it is now in seven cities there — and its move into the UK signals a further expansion into Europe.

Ola’s UK service isn’t live right now, but the company said it will begin offering licensed taxi and private hire bookings initially in South Wales and Greater Manchester “soon.” Ola plans to expand that coverage nationwide before the end of this year. That will eventually mean taking on Uber and potentially Taxify another unicorn startup backed by Didi which is looking to relaunch in the UK — in London and other major cities.

So, why the UK?

Ola CEO and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal called the country “a fantastic place to do business” and added that he “look[s] forward to providing a responsible, compelling, new service that can help the country meet its ever demanding mobility needs.”

It’s no secret that Uber has struggled in London, where its gung-ho attitude to business — ‘launch first, apologize later’ — has seen it run into issues with regulators. Uber (just about) won a provisional 15-month transport license earlier this year following an appeal against the city’s transportation regulator, Transport for London (TfL) earlier rejected its application.

The’ New Uber’ — under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi — is trying to right the wrongs of the past, but compliance with regulators takes time and requires wholesale changes to business, operations and company culture.

Ola isn’t commenting directly on its rivalry with Uber — we did ask, but got a predictable “no comment” — but the tone of its announcement today shows it is focused on being a more collaborative player than Uber.

Indeed, there’s been much groundwork. Aggarwal met with regulators in London last year and he said in a statement released today that he plans “continued engagement with policymakers and regulators” as the Ola service expands across the UK.

International expansion is very much part of Ola’s ambition to go public, which Aggarwal recently said could happen in the next three to four years. But Ola isn’t alone in looking overseas. Didi, the firm that defeated Uber in China and has backed Ola, Taxify and many others, has also been busy moving into new markets.

Last year, the firm raised $4 billion to double down on technology, AI and go overseas and it has come good on that promise by entering MexicoAustralia and Taiwan. It also landed Brazil through the acquisition of local player and Uber rival 99 and it is preparing to go live in Japan, where it will operate a taxi-booking service through a joint venture with SoftBank.

Grab picks up $2 billion more to fuel growth in post-Uber Southeast Asia

Grab, the ride-hailing service that struck a deal to take Uber out of Southeast Asia, has announced that it has pulled in $2 billion in new capital as it seeks to go beyond ride-hailing to offer more on-demand services.

The $2 billion figure includes a $1 billion investment from Toyota which was announced in June, and it sees a whole host of institutional investors join the Grab party. Some of those names include OppenheimerFunds, Ping An Capital, Mirae Asset — Naver Asia Growth Fund, Cinda Sino-Rock Investment Management Company, All-Stars Investment, Vulcan Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Macquarie Capital.

Grab confirmed that the round is still open, so we can expect that it’ll add more investors and figures to this deal.

The deal values Grab at $11 billion post-money, which is the same as the $10 billion valuation it earned following the Toyota deal. The caliber of investors certainly suggests an IPO is on the cards soon — not that it ever hasn’t been — although the company didn’t comment directly on that when we asked.

This new financing takes Grab to $6 billion from investors. Some of its other notable backers include SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing, which both led a $2 billion round last year which gave Grab the gas to negotiate a deal with Uber that saw the U.S. ride-hailing giant exit Southeast Asia in exchange for a 27.5 percent stake in Grab. From that perspective, the deal was a win-win for both sides.

In this post-Uber world, Grab is transitioning to offer more services beyond just rides. It has long done so, with its own payment service and food deliveries, but it is rolling out a revamped “super app” design that no longer opens to a ride request page and that reflects the changing strategy of the Singapore-based company.

10 July 2018; Tan Hooi Ling, co-Founder, Grab, at a press conference during day one of RISE 2018 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong. Photo by Stephen McCarthy / RISE via Sportsfile

Grab said in a statement today that this new money will go towards that “O2O” [offline-to-online] strategy that turns Grab’s app into a platform that allows traditional, offline services to tap the internet to reach new customers. The trend started out in China, with Alibaba and Tencent among those pushing O2O services, and Grab is determined to be that solution for Southeast Asia’s 650 million consumers.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy with a population of over 260 million, is a key focus for Grab, the company said. The company has been pushed out new financial services in the country, fueled by an acquisition last year, and it claims it is winning “significant market share” with GMV quadrupled in the first half of this year.

With Uber out of the picture, the company’s main rival for the ‘Southeast Asia Super App Crown’ is Go-Jek, the Indonesian on-demand service valued at $5 billion.

Go-Jek has long focused on its home market but this year it unveiled an ambitious plan to expand to three new markets. That kicked off yesterday with a launch in Vietnam, and the company has plans to arrive in Thailand and the Philippines before the end of the year.

Go-Jek has raised over $2 billion and it counts KKR, Warburg Pincus, Google and Chinese duo Tencent and Meituan among its backers.

Go-Jek kicks off Southeast Asia expansion with Vietnam launch

Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-sharing company valued at $5 billion, has begun its ambitious plan to increase its rivalry with Grab by expanding into three new markets after it opened shop in Vietnam.

The service — which is known as Go-Viet — covers an initial 12 districts in Ho Chi Minh City with a motorbike on-demand service. Rival Grab is in five cities in Vietnam and its services include motorbikes, taxis, private cars and food delivery.

The August 1 Vietnam launch as TechCrunch reported in June. The plan is to then expand into Thailand in September, and the Philippines before the end of this year. Singapore remains a market that Go-Jek would like to enter — it has held partnership talks with taxi operator ComfortDelGro — but it remains unclear whether, and when, that might happen.

Go-Jek expansion plan will put some heat on Grab, which has occupied a near-dominant position across Southeast Asia since it acquired Uber’s local business back in March.

Unlike Grab, though, Go-Jek is taking a very local approach to each market. Not only will it use a local name in each country — in Thailand it will be called “Get” — it has hired local ‘founder’ teams who will be responsible for service offerings and other local business aspects. It isn’t clear how closely they will work with the core Go-Jek team in Indonesia.

That may mean anyone traveling between countries will need to download local Go-Jek apps, which is in contrast to Grab, which offers a single app for eight countries in Southeast Asia.

Valued at $10 billion, Grab has raised over $5 billion from investors, including its most recent $1 billion investment from Toyota. Go-Jek has pulled in just over $2 billion. Tencent, Google, Meituan and others participated in its most recent (estimated) $1.4 billion raise which closed earlier this year.

Southeast Asia’s Grab hit by backlash over changes to customer loyal program

Life without Uber should be simple for Grab, but a battle with regulators in Singapore could see the company’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business unwound while some consumers have voiced concern around a lack of competition.

Grab co-founder Hooi Ling Tan recently claimed competition remains in the market, but that hasn’t stopped another consumer backlash after the ride-hailing firm altered its loyalty program without warning.

To be fair to Grab, earning loyalty points for taxi rides is something unique — Uber doesn’t offer any kind of program, for example — and the changes initiated last week seem aimed at spreading the benefit beyond taxis and into Grab’s newer ventures, which include its GrabPay payment service and food deliveries.

However, in doing so, the company made two cardinal sins. The changes included the lowering of benefits for Grab’s highest tier (read: most loyal) customers — with rebates dropping from a range of 3.5-4.5 percent to 0.7-1.7 percent, as MileLion explains in thorough detail. Worse than that, it initiated the new terms, which include these drastic drops, on a Friday and with immediate effect.

That meant points earned over the past year were suddenly devalued with no apparent recourse.

10 July 2018; Tan Hooi Ling, Co-Founder, Grab, speaks at a pressconferencee during day one of RISE 2018 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong. Photo by Stephen McCarthy / RISE via Sportsfile

Unsurprisingly that sparked a backlash, with many consumers accusing Grab of making the changes to save on money. (Grab has said it hasn’t increased prices after Uber’s exit despite some consumers claiming to the contrary.)

That led to a second announcement, made late on Monday, that postponed the introduction of the new loyalty program terms until September 30. However, it hasn’t scrapped the new changes themselves. That’s the right move, and it gives customers the chance to spend the credit they earned in the way they believed it would be redeemed before the change kicks in.

“We acknowledge that customers would appreciate time to adjust to the changes. Effective tomorrow (24 July) at 8am until 30 September, GrabRewards members can claim ride reward points at the previous rates. Customers who have purchased Grab ride rewards based on the new rates will have the difference in points refunded,” the company said in a statement.

It added that it plans to introduce “more exclusive perks” for its higher-tier ‘platinum” and ‘gold’ customers before the end of the year. TechCrunch understands that will relate to partnerships with third-parties, enabling users to spend points accumulated with Grab in more places although details aren’t finalized.

In the past, competition with Uber might have given Grab some leeway for messing up communication with users. But, as this latest saga shows, the removal of that competition has dented consumer confidence in Grab, and that means every misstep has the potential to alienate or upset users more than it did in the past. That’s part and parcel of adjusting from being the underdog fighting a global giant to being the biggest fish in the pond.

China’s Didi Chuxing is close to launching a taxi-booking service in Japan

Days after raising $500 million via a strategic investment from travel giant Booking Holdings, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has continued its international push with the launch of a local business in Japan.

Its new Japan-based unit is a joint venture with SoftBank, a longtime Didi investor, which has been in the works since an announcement back in February. Today’s news isn’t that the service is live yet — it isn’t — but rather than the JV has been formally launched.

Didi did say, however, that it plans to launch services for passengers, drivers and taxi operators in Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Tokyo and other major cities from autumn this year. Didi said that its users in China and Hong Kong will be able to use the soon-to-launch Japan service through their regular Didi app — that’s interesting since a ‘roaming’ strategy involving Lyft and others arranged years ago never came to fruition.

And yes, you did read correctly that taxi operators are part of the target audience. That’s because Japan doesn’t allow unlicensed private cars to operate as taxis.

That’s made the country a real challenge for Uber, which has held talks with taxi operators, and it also explains why one of the leading ride-hailing service in Japan — JapanTaxi — is backed by the taxi industry. JapanTaxi is even owned by an insider, Ichiro Kawanabe, who runs Japan’s largest taxi operator Nihon Kotsu and heads up the country’s taxi federation.

Working with taxi operators means Didi has a fleet management platform, as above, as part of its Japan-based service.

That concession on working with taxis doesn’t necessarily mean that Didi isn’t focused on widening the market by enabling “ride-sharing” with non-taxi drivers in the future.

Reuters reports that SoftBank supremo Masayoshi Son — one half of the Didi Japan joint venture — made some family scathing comments at an annual event.

“Ride-sharing is prohibited by law in Japan. I can’t believe there is still such a stupid country,” Son is said to have remarked.

Didi, of course, is playing things more cautious as it rides into Japan.

The company said that the country, which is the world’s third-largest market based on taxi ride revenue, “holds great potential as a market for online taxi-hailing.”

“There is earnest demand for more convenient urban and regional transportation services, especially in light of the growing population of senior citizens,” Didi added via a statement.

The Japanese expansion is another example of Didi’s push to internationalize its service beyond China in 2018. Last year, it raised $4 billion to double down on technology, AI and move into new markets, and this year it has come good on that promise by entering Mexico, Australia and Taiwan. While over in Brazil, it leaped into the market through the acquisition of local player and Uber rival 99.

The 99 deal was a particularly interesting one since Didi had previously backed the company via an investment. Didi didn’t say much about the mechanics of that strategy, but it has investments in ride-sharing companies worldwide, including Lyft, Grab, Ola, Careem and Taxify, which you’d imagine, like 99, could be converted into full-on acquisitions at some point in moves that would speed up that international expansion.

“Everyone is talking to everyone” — rideshare investor bypasses Uber-Careem rumor

Ride-hailing giant Uber is in talks over a possible merger with Middle East rival Careem, according to Bloomberg — citing three people familiar with the matter.

The report suggests various deal structures have been discussed, although it also says that no deal has been reached — nor may ever be reached, as discussions are ongoing and may not come to anything.

Bloomberg’s sources told it that Uber has said it would need to own more than half of the combined company, if not buy Careem outright.

Among the possible arrangements that have been discussed are for Careem’s current leaders to manage a new combined business, day to day, with potentially both brands being retained in local markets.

Another proposal would have Uber outright acquire Careem.

Bloomberg also reports that Dubai-based Careem is in talks with investors to raise $500 million, which it says could value the ride-hailing company at about $1.5BN. Careem is said to have held early talks with banks about a potential IPO in January.

Neither company has publicly confirmed any talks.

An Uber spokesman declined to comment when asked to confirm or deny talks with Careem.

While a Careem spokeswoman, Maha Abouelenein, told us: “We do not comment on rumors. Our focus remains to build the leading internet platform for the region, from the region. That means expanding to new markets and doubling down on our existing markets by adding new products and services to the platform. We are only getting started.”

Uber has been reconfiguring its global business for several years now, pulling out of South East Asia earlier this year after agreeing to sell its business to local rival Grab — while also taking a minority stake in the competitor.

And Uber did a similar exit deal with another rival — Didi — in China back in 2016.

Last year it also threw its lot in with Yandex.Taxi in Russia, with the pair combining efforts via a joint venture — albeit one which gave Yandex the majority share.

But Uber has been talking up its position and potential in the Middle East — with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi telling a conference in May that he believes it can be the “winning player” in the market, as well as in India and Africa, and vowing it would “control our own destiny” in those markets.

That does not necessary take a Careem-Uber deal off the table, of course, though the (public) claim from Uber is that it’s not willing to settle for a minority stake in the region, as it has elsewhere.

Responding in April to a question from CNBC about whether it might acquire Careem, Uber’s COO Barney Harford ruled out doing any more transactions for minority stakes, saying: “It would be crazy for us as a hypergrowth company to not engage in conversations about potential partnerships. But we’ve been very clear, the markets that we remain in today are core markets for us.”

Harford also claimed Uber was positioned to be able to invest in its chosen growth markets on “an indefinite basis”, thanks to having reached profitability in other markets. It’s also targeting 2019 for an IPO.

In March the Financial Times reported that Uber was in talks with Indian rival Ola over another possible merger — and the newspaper’s sources poured cold water on the notion of Uber taking a minority stake there too.

Of course Uber may not want to have to shrink its already retrenched global ambitions. But it may have to if it gets out-competed in its chosen plum markets.

Hence Careem’s chest-puffing talk about just getting started — provided it can convince its investors to screw their courage to the sticking place and stay on board for the ride.

Investors in Careem, which closed a $500M Series E round a year ago at a $1BN+ valuation, include Saudi-based VC Kingdom Holding, German automaker Daimler, and Japanese tech giant Rakuten — which reportedly led the Series E.

Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, a managing partner at Rakuten Capital who leads on its mobility investments and is also a Careem board member, declined to comment on the rumors of Uber-Careem merger talks when we asked to chat.

But he was happy to talk up the broader opportunity that investors seen coming down the road for ridesharing, telling us: “If you look at the industry everyone is talking to everyone, and while consolidation is an obvious trend, it won’t be limited to the ridesharing players but draw other tech companies, OEMs and payment companies, to name a few.”

According to Careem’s website, the ride-hailing firm operates in 15 countries, mostly (but not only) across the Middle East, offering its services in around 80 cities in all.

While Uber’s website lists it being active in 15 cities in the Middle East and 15 in Africa.

Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 accepted into YC, raises $1.2 million

When Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 interviewed for Y-Combinator’s 2018 cohort a question stood out to founder Obi Ozor. “‘What’s holding you back from becoming a Unicorn?’ they asked. My answer was simple: ‘working capital,’” said Ozor.

Kobo360 was accepted into YC’s 2018 class and gained some working capital in the form of $1.2M in pre-seed funding round led by Western Technology Investment announced this week. Lagos based Verod Capital Management also joined to support Kobo360.

The startup — with an Uber -like app that connects Nigerian truckers to companies with freight needs — will use the funds to pay drivers online immediately after successful hauls.

Kobo360 is also launching the Kobo Wealth Investment Network, or KoboWIN—a crowd-invest, vehicle financing program. Through it Kobo drivers can finance new trucks through citizen investors and pay them back directly (with interest) over a 60 month period.

Ozor said Kobo360 created the platform because of limited vehicle finance options for truckers in Nigeria.  “We hope KoboWIN…will inject 20,000…[additional] trucks on the Kobo platform,” he told TechCrunch.

On Kobo360’s utility, “We give drivers the demand and technology to power their businesses,” said Ozor. “An average trucker will make $3,500 a month with our app. That’s middle class territory in Nigeria.”

Kobo360 has served 324 businesses, aggregated a fleet of 5480 drivers, and moved 37.6M kilograms of cargo since 2017, per company stats. Top clients include Honeywell, Olam, Unilever, and DHL.

Ozor previously headed Uber Nigeria, before teaming up with Ife Oyodeli to co-found Kobo360. They initially targeted 3PL for Nigeria’s e-commerce boom — namely Jumia (now Africa’s first unicorn) and Konga (recently purchased in a distressed acquisition).

“We started doing last mile delivery…but the volume just wasn’t there for us, so we decided to pivot…to an asset free model around long-haul trucking,” said Ozor.

Kobo360 was accepted into YC’s Summer ’18 batch—receiving $120K for 7 percent equity—and will present at an August Demo Day in front of YC Investors. “We were impressed by both Obi and Ife as founders.  They were growing quickly and had a strong vision for the company,” YC partner Tim Brady told TechCrunch.

Kobo360’s app currently coordinates 5000 trips a month, according to Ozor. He thinks the startup’s asset free, digital platform and business model can outpace traditional long-haul 3PL providers in Nigeria by handling more volume at cheaper prices.

“Owning trucks is just too difficult to manage. The best scalable model is to aggregate trucks,” he said. “We now have more trucks than providers like TSL and they’ve been here….years. By the end of this year we plan to have 20,000 trucks on our app—probably more than anyone on this continent.”

On price, Ozor named the ability of the Kobo360 app to more accurately and consistently coordinate return freight trips once truckers have dropped off first loads.

“Logistics in Nigeria have been priced based on the assumption drivers are going to run empty on the way back…When we now match freight with return trips, prices crash.”

Kobo360 is profitable, according to Ozor. Though he wouldn’t provide exact figures, he said reviewing the company’s financial performance was part of YC’s vetting process.

Logistics has become an active space in Africa’s tech sector with startup entrepreneurs connecting digital to delivery models. In Nigeria, Jumia founder Tunde Kehinde departed and founded Africa Courier Express. Startup Max.ng is wrapping an app around motorcycles as an e-delivery platform. Nairobi based Lori Systems has moved into digital coordination of trucking in East Africa. And U.S. based Zipline is working with the government of Rwanda and partner UPS to master commercial drone delivery of medical supplies on the continent.

Kobo360 will expand in Togo, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, and Senegal. “We’ll be in Ghana this year and next year the other countries,” said Ozor.

In addition to KoboWIN, it will also add more driver training and safety programs.

“We are driver focused. Drivers are the key to our success. Even our app is driver focused,” said Ozor. Kobo360 will launch a new version of its app in Hausa and Pidgin this August, both local languages common to drivers.

“Execution is the key thing in logistics. It has to be reliable, affordable, and it has to be execution focused,” said Ozor. “If drivers are treated well, they are going to deliver things on time.”

In London, Uber has won the battle but risks losing the war

The sighs of relief are palpable. Uber can keep operating in London. With 3.6 million customers, 45,000 drivers, and a slew of reforms, changes and concessions already made to Transport for London (TfL), most observers expected Uber to win a reprieve – and they did. Uber passed the first of two tests.

The second test is a little less obvious – and a lot harder. Being able to navigate the political climate in Europe demands that Uber not only demonstrate contrition, but implement real change too. But if Uber loses sight of who the end user is, winning the battle in London doesn’t eliminate the risk of losing the entire war everywhere.

Here’s the thing: regulation is neither inherently good nor bad. Taxi regulation wasn’t all fundamentally evil and corrupt when Travis Kalanick ran Uber and it’s not all fundamentally necessary and appropriate under Dara Khosrowshahi’s reign either. That’s because there are no laws of nature on how ridesharing – or even transit in any form – should operate. It’s all a series of choices, priorities, and trade-offs between competing public and private needs and capabilities. It’s just a question of getting people from point A to point B in the most efficient, cost effective way possible. That’s it.

Uber has seen so much success so quickly because the previous system simply didn’t work. More than 75 million people wouldn’t have downloaded and regularly use Uber if they were happy with their current options. If transit regulation were functioning effectively, traditional taxis would have evolved to meet the needs of its customers and the market wouldn’t have been so fast and so easy for the taking. Like any successful entrepreneur, Travis saw an opening in the market and took it.  Just because Uber then committed a series of very public missteps and public relations gaffes doesn’t make any specific regulation more or less necessary, thoughtful or intelligent.

When Uber started collecting signatures from its customers in London to support its right to operate, 850,000 people signed. They’re the ones who ultimately matter. The customer is far too often ignored in highly regulated industries, which, sadly, are frequently dominated by special interest, pay to play politics (balancing the relative power and needs of insiders typically becomes paramount to actually creating logical public policy).

That’s why Dara has to be careful. Contrite? Yes. Calm. Absolutely. Losing London wasn’t an option. But if the game changes just to appease and placate the critics at every turn in hopes that the people who help shape public opinion stop complaining, it’s a losing battle. Appeasement is not a strategy in and of itself. Meeting the demands of the market is.

Many of the changes Uber agreed to in London are worthwhile: 24-hour telephone support hotlines, better contact with the police, better reporting of incidents, imposing limits on hours worked before taking a break, hiring independent directors. But if they’re all just coming from a place of trying to get people to stop criticizing you, you’re worrying about the wrong people in the first place.

Uber’s greatest asset is its customer base. Uber’s greatest reason to exist is customer demand. The people’s needs were being unmet by taxi and ignored by the regulators. That’s why Uber had an opening. That’s why customers flocked to the platform. Yes, Uber has a ton of work to do – both as a business itself and as a culture still very much in flux. But that doesn’t mean losing sight of who you are. Just being the anti-Travis isn’t enough. Taxi already was the original anti-Travis. That didn’t work.

In this current political climate, it makes sense for Dara to speak softly. But if he wants more than just pats on the back and positive comments on Twitter, he’d better carry a big stick too.

Pick up some moving insights into the future of mobility with Gett chief executive Dave Waiser in Tel Aviv

Dave Waiser has been at the forefront of the mobility technology revolution in Israel for the past eight years, ever since he launched Gett in 2010.

One of the last companies standing in the ultra-competitive global ride-sharing market, Gett has withstood competition from Didi Chuxing, Grab, Ola, Lyft and Uber and kept pace with those rivals as it claims a share of a worldwide market worth billions.

Through direct operations and partnerships with companies like the chauffeur and logistics business Carey International, Gett has managed to achieve a footprint of 1,000 cities that span the globe. It operates directly in 100 cities in four countries (including a competitive position in New York) and has raised some $640 million in venture funding — including a $300 million investment from the Volkswagen Group.

For Waiser, Gett’s success is only the latest in a string of endeavors which the enterprising entrepreneur has undertaken since the early days of the new millennium. One of Waiser’s first jobs, back in 2000, was to launch the Russian entity of the publicly traded early telecommunications software vendor, Comverse.

In Tel Aviv, Waiser will share his thoughts with us on the future of mobility, the peaks and valleys of the entrepreneur’s journey, and what’s next for Gett as it continues to drive forward in a highly competitive market.

It’s a perspective that no one would want to miss, and one that’ll be exclusively available to our audience in Tel Aviv. Tickets are on sale now.