Minicab-booking app secures investment as it battles Uber

Minicabit, which compares rival minicab companies, receives £1.4m investment

A minicab-booking service that aims to enable the UK’s private car hire companies to fight back against the rise of Uber has raised funds from a group of high-profile investors.

Minicabit, whose smartphone app and website can compare prices from hundreds of operators to find passengers the cheapest price, has secured £1.4m from financiers including Oakley Capital and Hambro Perks.

Its expansion comes as both the private hire and black taxi industries in London attempt to deal with the meteoric rise of Uber, the American minicab-hailing app which has grown phenomenally since launching in London in 2012.

Minicabit says it saves passengers the hassle of ringing around minicab apps by allowing them to enter a route and compare prices from 700 operators. Users can then select a ride, which can be booked and paid for via the app.

As well as Oakley Capital – a major investor in Time Out, and Hambro Perks – which recently led an investment in door-to-door laundry service Laundrapp, minicabit was previously backed by O2’s start-up fund Wayra, and received offers on Dragons’ Den before negotiations fell through.

Founder Amer Hasan, the former head of apps at Vodafone Global, said he planned to use the money to expand minicabit beyond the 40 cities it operates in, and is targeting £100m in annual revenues by 2020.

It has already signed deals with venues including Heathrow Airport, whose website integrates the technology to help visitors find drivers.

Mr Hasan has been pitching minicabit to minicab firms as a way to adapt to the rise of smartphone apps, which have replaced phone calls as the way for many passengers to book journeys.

Apps such as Uber, which link freelance drivers with passengers, have shaken up the industry, letting riders hail a minicab within minutes.

Though Uber has surged in popularity in recent years, Transport for Londonhas proposed new regulations that would threaten the company’s ability to operate in the capital.

“Cab bookings are now shifting online at a tremendous pace, driven by customer demand and technology advances,” Mr Hasan said. “This latest investment can enable us to empower Cab Operators UK-wide to take full advantage of the digital revolution.”

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