Rocket Internet provides $15m to boost Easy Taxi’s global expansion

Brazilian taxi booking app Easy Taxi has secured $15m funding from Latin America Internet Holding – Rocket Internet’s holding company in the region, which is now also partially owned by telecommunications and internet giant Millicom.

Millicom offers digital lifestyle products and services to emerging markets. Late last year, Millicom and Rocket Internet signed a deal which gives Millicom shares in Rocket’s Africa Internet Holding and Latin America Internet Holding, allowing them to jointly build internet ventures in the two regions. Currently Millicom has 35 per cent of the holding company, but has the option of upping its stake to 100 per cent at fair market value by September 2016.

Founded in 2011, Easy Taxi is available for Android and iOS, plus new BlackBerry devices and works in a similar way to its German compatriot MyTaxi and London’s Hailo. Users confirm a pickup location and book a taxi within the app, which they can then track in real time as it approaches. So far, Easy Taxi is available in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and a number of other Brazilian cities, plus Botoa, Salvador, Lima and Venezuela. It’s looking to expand in Asia – it’s already live in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, with Manila, Hong Kong and Bangkok in the works. In October last year, Rocket provided Easy Taxi with €3.77m funding.

EasyTaxi’s Dennis Wang said today: “With more than 30,000 taxi drivers in our network and nearly 1,000,000 downloads and counting, we already gained a strong competitive edge in 30 cities across nine countries. With the recent round of funding, we want to reinforce our position as market leader and continue our global expansion.” The new investment will be used to add functions to Easy Taxi’s applications, develop new channels and work on customer service.

The taxi service offers a slightly more personal touch via an extra feature dubbed “Bibliotaxi” – passengers can borrow books from Easy Taxi cabs and return them when they take their next trip.

Rocket Internet’s other ventures in Brazil include Zalando clone Dafiti, Etsy-lookalike Airu, sports eCommerce site Kanui, homeware site Mobly, children’s goods site Tricae and a branch of its mobile payments company Payleven – which is being integrated as a payment system for some of the Easy Taxi operators.

This is the latest in a long list of recent funding rounds for Rocket Internet ventures, including $120m for Lamoda, $100m for Zalora and $100m for Lazada.