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November 3, 2015

Profile: Hailo, the black cab app

Company profile: A UK-based rival to Uber that only hails licensed black cabs in London.

By Alexander Sword

Founding and leadership:

Hailo was launched in 2011 by London taxi drivers Terry Runham, Russell Hall and Gary Jackson, and technology entrepreneurs Jay Bregman, Caspar Woolley and Ron Zeghibe. Bregman is CEO, while Woolley is COO.


The company links passengers with taxis by allowing them to digitally ‘hail’ a ride. Users book their ride either online on Hailo Hub or through the Hailo app, then pays through the app. Hailo takes a 10 percent fee from the driver.

Hailo was also the first taxi app available for the Apple Watch.


According to its website, Hailo has raised over $100 million from investors including Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, Atomico Ventures and Sir Richard Branson.

Seed funding of $3 million was raised in March 2011, with Series A funding taking place in early 2012 and raising $17 million. Series B investment, closing in early 2013 raised $30.6 million and from late 2013 to early 2014, Hailo raised a further $50 million.


Notable rivals have been American start-ups Uber and Lyft, which too offers taxi bookings through an app.

The key difference is that Hailo only offers licensed black cabs. By comparison, Uber drivers only require a driver’s license. This also means that Uber can offer a broader range of cars, including luxury options. However, the implicit guarantee of the black cab is likely to assuage safety concerns.

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In Europe, Hailo is available in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, as well as across Ireland and in Barcelona and Madrid. It is also available in Singapore, Tokyo and Osaka. However, the app has failed to make any headway in the US and pulled out in 2014.

Target market:

Although Hailo mostly caters to the casual city passenger, it also targets the business market with Hailo for Business. Companies can register online and then book multiple rides for employees through tablet, desktop or mobile.

Number of employees:

In London, according to Hailo the company has 14,000 drivers and 500,000 registered customers. Angel List cites a figure of over 50,000 drivers and over a million customers globally.

In total, the company directly employs around 130 people globally.

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