Earlier this week, Estonian ride-hailing app Taxify achieved the status of unicorn startup following the completion of a $175 million funding round led by German automotive giant Daimler AG. According to Taxify co-founder and CEO Markus Villig, the response over the days to follow has been extremely positive.
"The increased attention has been extremely positive, both from the tech community in the Baltics and our customers across the world," Villig told ERR News on Saturday. "We've also received tens of candidates, as we're looking to hire 300 people this year."
Taxify announced on Tuesday that Daimler, one of the world's largest automotive manufacturers, acquired a ten-percent stake in the company after leading a $175 million funding round which put the total value of the Estonian startup at $1 billion, granting it unicorn status. In connection with the stake, a Daimler representative will also join Taxify's board.
The round also involved European venture capital fund Korelya Capital, TMT Investments, Estonian venture capital fund United Angels, TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus as well as China's Didi Chuxing, which bought a minority holding in Taxify last August.
Currently the only one based in Estonia, Taxify, which is Estonia's fourth startup to achieve unicorn status — following Skype, Playtech and TransferWise — is unlikely to remain the country's last to do so, however, as according to the CEO, there is plenty of potential to be found in Estonia.
"The Estonian tech scene is evolving very rapidly, and we have great companies from many industries, all the way from engineering tools to financial services to transport," Villig said.
Ten million and counting
Launched in Estonia by brothers Markus and Martin Villig in August 2013, when Markus was just 19 years old, the ride-hailing platform Taxify has since expanded its operations to include 26 countries around the world.
A total of 10 million users have used the Taxify app since its launch, including 5 million in Africa, and according to Villig, the company is planning on expanding in the U.K. next.
Taxify shareholders include 19 companies, among them Mobi Solutions (including owners Rain Rannu, Linnar Viik, Veiko Raime), China's Didi Chuxing, AdCash, Chilli Invest OÜ (Märt Kelder), and Fischermay OÜ (Andrus Purde and Aare Jaanus), reported weekly Eesti Ekspress.
The Villig brothers were named EY's 2018 Estonian Entrepreneurs of the Year in March.
Editor: Aili Vahtla