It's no secret that USV invested in Hailo at the end of last year.
What is less well known is why we would do that.
Hailo announced the financing today and also a bunch of impressive hires for their US and Asia operations and they also disclosed a bunch of numbers for the first time.
Hailo is as big in their home city (London) as Uber is in SF and across the ten markets they are in, Hailo has similar scale as Uber in total transactions per day, week, month, and year. Hailo is different than Uber though. They focus exclusively on the regulated part of the market and as a result they can offer lower prices and a higher liquidity of cars to their riders. The power of this model becomes clear if you travel to London and compare the Uber experience to the Hailo experience.
Another big factor in our investment process was the "I told you so". In late 2011 as Hailo was just launching in London, the team came to see us and told us everything they planned to do in 2012. We were impressed by the team, their backgrounds, and their attitude and energy. But we had big concerns about everything they said they were going to do in 2012. A year later, they came back to see us and not only had they done everything they said they were going to do, they actually did a few things more than that. I referenced this story in a post I wrote at the end of last year. Now the company in the story has been named. They will be added to the investments page on usv.com today.
And maybe most importantly, we believe in large networks of users that have the power to transform big markets. We've long thought that the ubiquity of the smartphone will enable transactional networks between buyers and sellers and it turns out the urban transportation market is one of the first big markets that is rapidly being transformed by large smartphone networks. We are excited to be able to invest in one of them.