Rocket Internet-backed startup Easy Taxi announces $10m funding round

Easy Taxi, a Brazil-based taxi booking app backed by German startup incubator Rocket Internet, has announced a new $10 million (£6.55 million) round of funding, which will be used to launch the service in Africa, as well as expand further into Asia and the Middle East.

Easy Taxi uses location tracking technology to allow customers to book a taxi through the push of a button and pay online. It works in the same way as London-based app, Hailo which is now used by two-thirds of the 16,000 full-time black-cab drivers in the capital. Hailo was recently highlighted by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young as one of the most successful graduates of London's Tech City startup hub.

The latest round of funding has been provided by Rocket International and telecoms company Millicom, through their joint venture Africa Internet Holdings.

Millicom, a Europe-based organisation, was founded in 1990 to penetrate the emerging markets of Africa and South America.

The latest round of funding follows $15 million (£9.8 million) invested last month by the two firm's other joint venture, Latin America Internet Holding.

Founded in Sao Paulo in 2011, Easy Taxi has sinced raised over $60 million (£39.3 million) in funding. The app has received over 1.5 million downloads and is used by more than 45,000 taxi drivers in its current markets.

The first new market the company will now launch in is Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and one of the "Next Eleven" countries identified by Goldman Sachs as having the potential to become one of the world's biggest economies of the 21 century.

"We want to bring this success to other attractive markets and we see high potential in many Asian and African countries," said Dennis Wang, head of international expansion of Easy Taxi, in a statement.

By the end of the year, the company hopes to launch in eight more countries: Morocco, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia and Angola.