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Free Now
IndustryTaxi management
Founded2011; 10 years ago (2011) in London, United Kingdom
FoundersRussel Hall
Gary Jackson
Terry Runham
Jay Bregman
Caspar Woolley
Ron Zeghibe
New York City
ProductsTaxi e-hailing marketplace, mobile commerce network

Hailo was a British technology platform [2] that matched taxi drivers and passengers through its mobile phone application.[3][4][5][6][7] Founded in London in 2011, the Hailo taxi service was available in 16 cities (as of December 2013).

By May 2013, Hailo had enabled more than three million rides for passengers from over 30,000 registered taxi drivers.[8]

The Hailo Passenger App was available as a free download from the App Store and Google Play for both iOS and Android devices.[3][4][8][9]

In late 2016 Hailo was absorbed by myTaxi, a German e-hailing company belonging to Daimler Financial Services, to form the largest e-hailing operator. The resulting company, branded mytaxi, is based in Hamburg.[10]

By July 1, 2019 mytaxi was rebranded to Free Now serving over 100 European cities including Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, Paris and London.[11][12] Free Now customer care and support teams operate from Dublin, Hamburg, Madrid, Warsaw among other European countries.


Hailo cab in London

Hailo began in late 2010, after a meeting between three London taxi drivers and three technology entrepreneurs, including co-founders Jay Bregman, CEO,[8][9][13][14][15][16] Ron Zeghibe, Executive Chairman, Caspar Woolley, Chief Operations Officer, and Russell Hall, Gary Jackson, and Terry Runham, Driver Community Leaders.

On November 1, 2011 Hailo officially launched to passengers in London.[3][4] By the end of 2012, Hailo had launched in Dublin, Boston, Toronto, and Chicago,[8][15][17] but by late 2014 had discontinued services in North America.[18]


To date, Hailo has raised approximately $125.1 million in funding. Hailo received $3.0 million in two tranches of Seed round funding in 2011. In March 2012, Hailo received $17m in Series A round funding led by Accel Partners.[13][19][20][21] The round also included contributions from both Atomico and Wellington Partners.[21][22] A $30.6m Series B investment round was secured in December 2012, led by Union Square Ventures.[9][23] Contributions were also made by Japanese mobile telecoms group KDDI and business magnate Sir Richard Branson.[9][19]


Location Launch Slogan Fare Fee Payment Notes Link
London November 2011 The Black Cab App £10+ None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [1]
New York City[24] 2013 The Taxi Magnet $3.00+1 $1.99 peak
$0.99 off-peak
Card (automatic) Services Discontinued6 [2]
Barcelona 2013 La app para taxis en Barcelona2 None None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [3]
Boston 2012 The Boston Taxi App $5.00+ $1.99 peak
$0.99 off-peak
Card (automatic) Services Discontinued6 [4]
Chicago 2012 The Chicago Taxi App $5.00+ $1.50 Card (automatic) Services Discontinued6 [5]
Cork 2013 The Taxi Magnet None None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [6]
Dublin 2012 The Taxi Magnet None None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [7]
Montreal3 September 2013 L'application pour taxis de Montréal
The Montreal Taxi App
None None Card (automatic) Services Discontinued6 [8]
Osaka May 2013 The Osaka Taxi App None None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [9]
Madrid May 2013 La app para taxis en Madrid4 None None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [10]
Washington, DC May 2013 The DC Taxi App $3.25+ $1.50 Card (automatic) Services Discontinued6 [11]
Toronto 2012 The Toronto Taxi App $4.25+ None Card (automatic) Services Discontinued6 [12]
Limerick 2013 The Taxi Magnet None None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [13]
Galway 2013 The Taxi Magnet None None Cash or card 5 min free waiting time [14]
Atlanta N/A6 The Atlanta Taxi App [15]
Tokyo[8][9] Coming soon5 The Tokyo Taxi App [16]
of Ireland
March 2014[25] The Taxi Magnet [17]


  1. Includes $0.50 mandatory state surcharge
  2. Translates to The App for Taxis in Barcelona
  3. Marketed in both English and French
  4. Translates to The App for Taxis in Madrid
  5. Atlanta, Tokyo, and the remainder of Ireland are currently locations that Hailo plans on serving in the future.
  6. Hailo shuttered its North American operations in late 2014 in Canada and the US citing low profits and increased competition from Uber and Lyft - http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/hailo-taxi-app-to-close-up-shop-in-toronto-and-montreal-1.2798283

Mobile application and e-hailing[edit]

A survey conducted by Hailo found that cab drivers spend an average of 40-60 percent of their time looking for fares.[8][26]

The Hailo mobile e-hail application uses mobile and GPS technology to match taxi drivers with passengers based on both availability and proximity.[4][8][27][28] Hailo passengers make two taps on the Hailo smartphone app in order to request and confirm their e-hail.[4][8] Once a driver has electronically accepted a passenger, the waiting passenger is sent an updated time of arrival based on route information and real-time traffic information.[4][27]

Customers also have the ability to specify if they require a wheelchair-accessible vehicle or a fixed price fare to designated location such as an airport terminal, where permitted.[27] The Hailo driver app includes social networking features, which allows drivers to alert each other of locations with high street fare demand, traffic conditions, speed traps and road construction obstacles.[8][22]

Both the Hailo passenger and driver apps are compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices.[8][19]

Mobile commerce[edit]

Hailo enables its registered passengers to e-hail, pay and tip for taxi journeys using the credit or debit card details they have stored within Hailo's secure cloud wallet.[3][14][27]

In some city locations, taxi drivers can also use Hailo to process credit and debit card payments for street hail fares by manually entering passenger card details when they reach their destination.

Instant trip receipts are sent to passengers by email and contain journey and payment information along with instructions to help retrieve any property lost or forgotten in the taxi.[8]

Legal proceedings[edit]

In February 2013, Black Car Assistance Corporation and Livery Roundtable filed a lawsuit against the taxi and limousine commission to prevent e-hailing companies from expanding to New York City.[7][9][21][29][30] In April 2013, a judge dismissed the lawsuit and Hailo won the right to begin an e-hail beta trial. The decision was subsequently appealed.[31][29] After a second temporary restraining order was issued against the pilot program, Hailo became the only taxi-hailing app-maker to join the lawsuit in support of the city.[21]


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  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2014-06-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c d Warman, Matt (January 26, 2012), "Hailo Android app review", The Telegraph, London, retrieved June 21, 2013
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Your friendly neighbourhood app", The Economist, October 27, 2012, retrieved June 21, 2013
  5. ^ New York May Let People Hail Cabs With Smartphones, ABC News, retrieved June 21, 2013
  6. ^ Brustein, Joshua (May 11, 2012), "The Push to Make Cab Rides Smarter", The New York Times, retrieved June 21, 2013
  7. ^ a b In New York, Taxi Apps Raise Objections From Competitors, NPR, retrieved June 21, 2013
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k A Mobile App That Makes Hailing a Taxi Easier and More Efficient, Entrepreneur, retrieved June 21, 2013
  9. ^ a b c d e f On-Demand Taxi Startup Hailo Raises $30M From USV And Others, Including Strategic Funding From KDDI To Launch In Tokyo, TechCrunch, retrieved June 21, 2013
  10. ^ mytaxi and Hailo join forces to create Europe's largest taxi e-hailing company, retrieved 2017-02-09[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Quann, Jack. "MyTaxi to rebrand as 'Free Now' on July 2nd". Newstalk. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  12. ^ staff, Digital Desk (2019-07-02). "Taxi app mytaxi rebrands to FREE NOW from today". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  13. ^ a b Startups of the week #19.1, UXB London, retrieved June 21, 2013
  14. ^ a b Hailo Taxi June 2011 (PDF), Hailo, archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2011, retrieved June 21, 2013
  15. ^ a b "Let New Yorkers hail cabs and livery cars from their smartphones", Daily News, retrieved June 21, 2013
  16. ^ "The cab conductor: reading Hailo's success story", Wired.co.uk, retrieved June 21, 2013
  17. ^ Hailo taxi app to launch e-hailing, Crain's New York Business, retrieved June 21, 2013
  18. ^ "Taxi app company Hailo to pull out of North America", Financial Times, retrieved June 7, 2017
  19. ^ a b c Hailo confirms its $30M round from Richard Branson, Union Square Ventures, VentureBeat, retrieved June 21, 2013
  20. ^ "On-Demand Car Services Driving Off With Venture Funding", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved June 21, 2013
  21. ^ a b c d "Taxi-Hailing Battle Heats Up in New York", Inc., retrieved June 21, 2013
  22. ^ a b Put your hand down! Hailo, yet another cab app, gets $17M from Accel Partners, VentureBeat, retrieved June 21, 2013
  23. ^ "Hailing Hailo", New York Post, retrieved June 21, 2013
  24. ^ WSJ"Taxi! Taxi! Oh, Never Mind. I'll Use My Smartphone.", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved June 21, 2013
  25. ^ "Hailo Nation". March 3, 2014. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014.
  26. ^ Taxi race: can Uber and Hailo deliver a real-time revolution?, The Verge, retrieved June 21, 2013
  27. ^ a b c d An entrepreneur pitches an app solutions to New York's accessible-taxi problem, TechCrunch, retrieved June 21, 2013
  28. ^ Underlying technologies of taxi apps
  29. ^ a b Here Come the Yellow Cab Apps: New York Judge Dismisses E-Hail Lawsuit, BETABEAT, retrieved June 21, 2013
  30. ^ "Race On for Taxi Apps", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved June 21, 2013
  31. ^ Hailo Launches Taxi App Beta Test; Uber Approved for TLC Pilot Program, BETABEAT, retrieved June 21, 2013