It is a very competitive landscape for on-demand rides. While Uber dominates the market in the U.S., Didi Chuxing is the leader in China.
And in Europe, there is another player that is making headway. Gett, formerly known as GetTaxi, is the “number one on-demand mobility company operating in Europe,” according to CEO Shahar Waiser. TechCrunch sat down with him for a video interview in Tel Aviv, where the company got started.
Now a unicorn with a valuation exceeding $1 billion, Gett gained early traction with corporate customers who used the service for black cars. Today, Gett is especially popular in places like London where people use it for hailing cabs.
Gett is now the European leader in terms of “volume of rides, revenues, profits,” said Waiser. And “corporate is still responsible for a third of our income,” he maintained, saying that over 4,000 companies use Gett for transportation.
But while the service does well in Tel Aviv, London, and Moscow, the company’s expansion to the U.S. had a rough start. Gett faced some early challenges signing up enough drivers to meet demand in New York.
Gett does not offer surge pricing, which the company feels is a selling point for customers wanting to avoid facing unexpectedly high fares. But it also has been key to Uber’s ability to balance supply and demand.
While Uber and traditional yellow cabs still dominate the Manhattan market, “New York happens to be our fastest growing territory,” Waiser claims. Currently in over 60 cities, he says they will also be ”expanding across the rest of the countries of Europe” soon enough.
And they are getting some big help from an incumbent in the automotive space. Volkswagen recently invested in $300 million in Gett, in a move that drew comparisons to General Motors’ investment in Lyft.
Speaking about the deal, Waiser said the “exclusive partnerships with VW Group will help us get first access to autonomous cars.” He spoke of the inevitability of self-driving vehicles and predicted that they will account for half of new car purchases by 2030.
While drivers are understandably concerned that their jobs will be eliminated, Waiser was frank about what’s to come. “It’s the elephant in the room,” he said.