The golden age of innovative auto tech that brought Uber, Tesla, and Mobileye to the world is already here for about a decade or so, but it seems that the race for the self driving car had brought the entire industry to a boil. It was in March 2016 when GM had decided to buy self-driving technology startup Cruise for $1 billion. The fact that GM paid a billion dollars for a 40 employees company (roughly $25 million per employee) put a very high price tag on automotive technology startups and showed the stress in which car manufacturers were put into. Moreover, it marked the willingness of car makers to pour big money into the risky startup arena, after years it was controlled solely by VCs.
The self-driving technology arms race reshuffled the entire automotive industry since then. In the last two years, electric car and battery manufacturers, auto-parts manufacturers, ride-hailing apps, self-driving technology vendors, semiconductor vendors, and fleet management vendors that optimize some passengers per ride re-aligned into alliances, as car manufacturers realized for the first time that inability to partner with startups will make them obsolete.
In that way, BMW partnered with Intel that bought ADAS vendor Mobileye; GM bought self-driving technology startup Cruise and made a strategic investment in ride-hailing app Lyft; Daimler invested in fast charging battery startup Storedot and ride-sharing company Via; Auto-part maker Delphi invested in Lidar vendors Innoviz and LeddarTech; Renault-Nissan acquired maps and road scanning startup Karhoo; Uber purchased self-driving truck maker Otto; Toyota backed Asian ride-hailing app Grab and V2X chipset maker Autotalks; Samsung and Audi supported TTTech, a startup that develops a platform for connected cars; and VW is invested heavily in ride-hailing and taxi app Gett, announcing only recently that Gett will manage VW’s self riding fleets starting from 2021, under the brand Cedric.
Gett is one of the biggest and the oldest transportation apps with an enormous valuation of about 2 billion dollars. Gett seems to be in the right spot at the right time. It pioneered the taxi ride-hailing business, operating in Russia in Israel since 2010, growing to be one of the ten highest valued transportation apps in the world and perhaps the biggest competitor of Uber in European territories. A giant car manufacturer backed it, VW, at about the same time Lyft was supported by GM, long before other car manufacturers such as Toyota or Daimler backed their ride-hailing apps. The recent announcement by the City of London’s transport authority that it will not renew Uber’s license presents an enormous opportunity for Gett should the decision be upheld, as London is one of the biggest markets for Gett.
Indeed, Gett had a rough year as it tried to expand more into the U.S. It caught fire over the acquisition of Juno, a New York City-based ride-hailing app that used to share equity with loyal drivers. Juno drivers filed a lawsuit after Gett canceled its equity program with drivers. Later, Gett app has been pulled from U.S app stores in favor of Juno, attracting criticism about eliminating the convenient prices initially offered by Gett in New York.
Also, Uber partnered with Yandex Taxi, Gett’s rival in Russia, its biggest market. The move resembles Uber’s withdrawal from China after partnering with former competitor Didi Chuxing, a step that marked Uber’s failure to expand globally. Uber’s partnership with Yandex will eliminate a competitor from the market, a move that would probably benefit Gett, but at the same time, will strengthen Yandex significantly.
Gett’s market share is an unknown. It is present in more than 100 cities in Russia, UK, and Israel, in addition to the activity in New York City business. Undoubtedly its biggest market is Russia. According to research by Zirra, a tech company that uses AI for company analysis, Russia is Gett’s fastest growing market regarding its app ranking and the biggest regarding web traffic and referrals. Gett is also backed by Moscow-based Baring Vostok Capital Partners and a $100 loan from Russian bank Sberbank to expand in Russia.
One could argue about Gett’s worldwide market share. Its growth plans outside Russia, the UK and Israel are unknown, but no one can argue about the software and big data assets the company brings to the table. Since 2010, Gett (formerly Get Taxi) collects and analyzes data from millions of rides and optimizes algorithms matching taxis with potential passengers. Gett also serves more than 7,000 businesses, curating valuable data on the way corporates manage their ground transportation.
Either it is VW as a partner, or any other car manufacturer as a potential acquirer, Gett is likely to be the missing link in any alliance that would like to add its software and analytics assets for any self-driving cars fleet, global ride-hailing app, an auto-parts maker, or electric car manufacturer. Gett’s software is one of the few software in the world that is experienced in managing large scale ride-hailing fleets- taxis, black cars, delivery vehicles and private vehicles- in three continents. As such, its software can help any automotive player to optimize its electric vehicles or self-driving car fleet. That is why VW announced only a few days ago that Gett will manage its self driving fleets in 2-5 communities around the world.
Gett’s stocks are now available for sale for the first time via PrivatEquity.biz, a peer-to-peer platform that directly connects shareholders in pre-IPO private tech companies with accredited investors. PrivatEquity.biz has secured total shares for sales of close to $30 million in senior employees or former employees’ stocks in 25 leading private tech companies such as Gett, Palantir, DocuSign, Outbrain, IronSource, and EZbob.
Earlier this year, PrivatEquity facilitated the selling of stocks of the taxi-hailing app Gett to a London-based investor, which was offered for sale by a senior employee in the company. No details regarding the value of the shares were disclosed, but at the time, Zirra estimated Gett’s valuation to be around $2.2 billion.
Written by Mr. Chaim Schiff, co-CEO at privatequity.biz with the assistance of Zirra Analysts