Hailo, a London based taxi booking app, has just announced that it had come out of beta in Singapore, and is now actively looking to onboard more taxi drivers onto its platform.
During a press event held at The Fullerton Bay hotel yesterday, Ron Zeghibe, Hailo Chairman, stated, “Singapore, like our home city of London, is a world-class hub for business, nightlife and tourism. We’re very excited to be bringing our unique solutions and collaborative approach to this incredible city.”
A little background on the app: since its launch in 2011, the mobile app has served over 20 million customers around the world. Every two seconds, a Hailo cab is currently being accepted around the world from Hailo’s global network of over 60,000 drivers and more than 1.4 million passengers. Similar to other taxi booking apps, customers simply download the app for free from the app store, set up your pick up location, and a taxi will be on its way to pick you up.
Similar to Uber too, Hailo has mobile payments integrated in its app, which means you do not have to worry about not having enough change to pay your driver. The cab fee is automatically billed to your credit card. Trip receipts are then sent instantly by email. Of course, you could opt for cash payment as well.
Partnership With SMRT Singapore; No Stats, No Numbers, No Plans Revealed.
During the press event too, Hailo announced that it has partnered with transportation operator SMRT in Singapore. While the nature of the partnership is unclear, Hailo shared that SMRT has been supportive of Hailo and that currently some of its taxi fleet are using Hailo for taxi bookings. The partnership is however not exclusive though: taxi drivers are still free to choose whichever taxi booking apps they want to use to get more customers.
Hailo also mentioned that SMRT will be supporting Hailo not just in terms of infrastructure, but also in future “marketing efforts”, though no details were revealed. SMRT also did not reveal the number of taxis which have signed on to use Hailo.
Other than SMRT, Hailo also confirmed that Singapore’s taxi operator Prime taxi has also joined with SMRT to support Hailo, and Hailo saw a “high registration rate” from drivers of both taxi operators. Nothing was mentioned about Comfort Delgro, the largest taxi operator in the country.
When asked again about the number of taxis whom have signed up with Hailo, Hailo declined to reveal the actual number, dismissing it with “we are satisfied with the number of drivers so far”, and that the numbers are “over a thousand”. Hailo also stressed repeatedly that the press event is “not an official launch”, but an announcement that they are coming out of beta.
“We are scaling and we want to introduce Hailo to Singapore. This is not an official launch. We are now coming out of beta,” said Ron at the press event.
Driver First Approach
What was clear from the press event though, is that Hailo emphasizes a lot on its drivers. At Hailo, the team practices an open house policy, where any driver can visit the office and speak directly to the team. Hailo also hosts various “Driver Day” events around the globe and we expect the same to happen in Singapore. Hailo also pay drivers daily so they do not have to worry about any late payments.
For Singapore’s taxi drivers, the Hailo driver app enables them to complete more jobs in less time, earning up to 30% more on every shift they work. Other than active engagements, Hailo also dedicates certain budget for incentivizing (including monetery) drivers to complete more jobs requested through Hailo.
What Exactly Do We Know
Hailo also declined to comment about its competitors in Singapore, namely GrabTaxi, Easy Taxi as well as Uber. Hailo did however mention that they are confident in that drivers would make the smartest decisions themselves to choose the best app. During the press event, Ron added that while he is not the first app to reach the shores of Singapore, his philosophy is not to be the first player, but to be the smartest player. Hailo is confident that they will be the leading taxi booking app in Singapore, replicating its success from overseas here.
With no numbers nor exact plans revealed during the media event, what we know is this: Hailo is competing head on with strong players in the market, and will spend “whatever it takes” to make Hailo work in this country. For the upcoming months, we expect more marketing campaigns from the company, with the full support from SMRT.
Currently there are no plans for Hailo to enter any of the Southeast Asia market.
Founded by three taxi drivers and three internet entrepreneurs, Hailo has raised $100M from the best investors anywhere, including Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, Atomico Ventures and Sir Richard Branson.