Rocket Internet's mobile taxi app raises $7M from iMena Holdings

23 Oct, 2013

Easy-TaxiRocket Internet's mobile taxi app 'Easy Taxi' has raised $7 million from iMena Holdings, an online consumer business group operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Following the investment, the German investor will be launching the app in the middle-east starting with Saudi Arabia. This is claimed to be the largest investment so far in a mobile application.

The app has seen a global rollout prior to this fundraise and is already available in Latin America, Africa and Asia. It was launched by Rocket Internet in 2011. The app, available for iOS, Android and new Blackberry devices, confirms the customer's pickup point and orders the closest cab in the vicinity, with the press of a button. Post that, a confirmation of the driver's name, photo and car model, and plate number are sent to the phone. After that, customers can follow the vehicle's location in real-time as it approaches. In addition, all drivers are checked for compliance, before joining the network, for safety reasons.

Globally, Easy Taxi app claims to have seen over two million downloads and has over 60,000 taxi drivers in its network. Earlier this year, Easy Taxi received fresh capital from Rocket Internet, Latin America Internet Holding (LIH) and African Internet Holding (AIH).

In September this year, Foodpanda, another portfolio firm of Rocket Internet, raised $8 million in funding from iMena Holdings. iMena invests in leading consumer internet companies in categories poised for growth in the MENA region. It also builds online businesses based on successful and proven business models in the developed and emerging markets. iMena partners with global and regional market leaders across diversified sectors, including telecom, traditional retailers, and media organisations.

For Rocket Internet, this is the sixth funding in a row in the last few months. Before Foodpanda, its Australian online fashion retailer The Iconic has raised $25 million. Prior to that, South-east Asia-focused horizontal e-tailer Lazada raised $100 million in funding led by Verlinvest and existing investors Holtzbrinck Ventures, Kinnevik, Summit Partners and Tengelmann Group. Prior to that Southeast Asia-focused fashion and lifestyle e-tailer Zalora raised $100 million from Summit Partners, Investment AB Kinnevik, Verlinvest and Tengelmann Group. Before that, Foodpanda raised $20 million from a group of investors, including Investment AB Kinnevik and Phenomen Ventures.

In India, Rocket Internet backs a string of e-commerce players, including Jabong.com. However, earlier this year, it pulled the plug on one of its ventures 21Diamonds.in, an online jewellery and fashion accessories retailer in India.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)