Free Now (service)

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FREE NOW
IndustryVehicle for hire
PredecessorsmyTaxi, Hailo, Clever Taxi
Headquarters,
Area served
Germany, UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Austria
Key people
Eckart Diepenhorst, European CEO of FREE NOW
Mark Berg, CEO of FREE NOW [1]
ProductsVehicle for hire, mobile commerce network
ServicesMobility as a service
OwnerBMW Group and Daimler AG
Number of employees
Over 700 (2019)
Websitefree-now.com

FREE NOW is a mobility as a service provider headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. FREE NOW was formed in February 2019 from a joint venture between BMW and Daimler Mobility. Marc Berg is CEO of the FREE NOW Group.[2]

The FREE NOW Group is the vehicle for hire vertical of this joint venture; other services within the vertical include Beat and formerly Clever, Hive and Kapten, which rebranded to FREE NOW.[2] FREE NOW is one of the largest vehicle for hire companies in Europe.[3]

The service was founded in 2009 and previously known as Hailo and myTaxi.[4]

On 1 July 2019 myTaxi was rebranded to FREE NOW serving over 100 European cities including Madrid, Berlin, Dublin, Paris, Milan and London. FREE NOW customer care and support teams operate from Dublin, Hamburg, Madrid, and Warsaw among other European cities. The UK General Manager is Mariusz Zabrocki, and the Country Manager in Ireland is Niall Carson.[5][6]

History[edit]

Mytaxi logo

mytaxi was founded by German entrepreneurs Niclaus Mewes and Sven Külper. Later that year, the pair founded the legal entity behind mytaxi, Intelligent Apps. In September 2014, Daimler acquired mytaxi's parent company, Intelligent Apps, entering the vehicle for hire market.[7]

MyTaxi in Berlin

In 2016, the German e-hailing app mytaxi merged with Hailo. Founded in London in 2011, Hailo was a British technology platform that matched taxi drivers and passengers through its mobile phone application. The merger between mytaxi and Hailo made mytaxi the largest licensed taxi e-hailing operator.[8]

Following regulatory approval in February 2019, Daimler and BMW announced the €1bn mobility joint-venture; the parent company is known as Your Now which also operates Share Now, Reach Now, Park Now and Charge Now.[9]

In January 2021, FREE NOW announced a €6 million investment to fund its 14,000 drivers in Ireland with home charging kits to encourage them to switch to electric vehicles.[10] Overall, FREE NOW wants to allocate more than EUR 100 million of resources in the coming five years to push the electrification of its rides across Europe.[11]

Mobile app[edit]

The FREE NOW app uses mobile and GPS technology to match taxi drivers with passengers based on availability and proximity, and requires a valid phone number and valid form of payment (debit or credit card, Apple Pay, Google Wallet or PayPal) to operate.[12][13][14][15] The FREE NOW app is compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices, and works with licensed taxis, including black cabs in the UK.[16]

Depending on location, customers can order a taxi, motorized scooter or car through the app.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About the Joint Venture | Our Story". your-now.com. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Daimler and BMW invest $1.1 billion in urban mobility services". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  3. ^ Gorey, Colm (2019-02-22). "Mytaxi to change name to FREE NOW following €1bn BMW and Daimler deal". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  4. ^ "mytaxi rebrands as FREE NOW". rte.ie. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  5. ^ Richardson, Perry (3 April 2021). "TaxiPoint Taxi News | Single Post". TaxiPoint Taxi News | UK | Black cabs. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  6. ^ Taylor, Charly (December 24, 2020). "Free Now looks to go beyond taxis with new services". Irish Examiner.
  7. ^ Weis, Christian. "Bonner Investor lag mit myTaxi goldrichtig". www.business-on.de (in German). Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  8. ^ "Confirmed: Hailo sells 60% of company to Daimler as it merges with MyTaxi". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  9. ^ "BMW and Daimler to invest €1bn in mobility joint-venture". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  10. ^ Taylor, Charlie. "Free Now to invest €6m to encourage taxi drivers to go electric". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  11. ^ "FREE NOW Press release" (PDF).
  12. ^ Duncan, Katherine (2013-05-22). "A Mobile App That Makes Hailing a Taxi Easier and More Efficient". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  13. ^ "Your friendly neighbourhood app". The Economist. 2012-10-27. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  14. ^ Rubinstein, Dana. "An entrepreneur pitches an app solution to New York's accessible-taxi problem". Politico PRO. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  15. ^ "What Technology Do You Need to Build a Taxi Booking App?". yalantis.com. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  16. ^ Dec 2018, S. C. Stuart 11; P.m, 4:42 (2018-12-11). "How Mytaxi Is Helping London Cabbies Battle Uber, Lyft". PCMag UK. Retrieved 2019-07-05.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]