Karhoo secures $250mn funding, looks to bring Uber down a peg or two

Uber is doing quite a number on the licensed taxi drivers of New York in terms of stripping away revenue, but a new startup by the name of Karhoo is hoping to turn things around for the latter.

As Business Insider UK reports, numbers of taxi and limo trips are down 10 per cent compared to last year, and yet this summer, the number of journeys recorded by Uber in New York quadrupled year-on-year.

Karhoo is set to launch an app which will help travellers book rides with licensed taxi companies, and is a serious prospect, having secured some $250 million (around £160 million) in funding.

Karhoo, whose motto is “The way you get from A to B is about to get smarter” (and the firm’s Facebook page also notes “more cars, more choice”) is thin on details right now, but the service doesn’t launch until January of next year.

The startup also plans to raise no less than a further $1 billion (£650 million), and as well as New York, it will be launching in London and Singapore.

Chief executive Daniel Ishag told the Financial Times (via Business Insider UK) that Uber can’t sustain its current strategy: “[Uber] can’t subsidise prices forever; they have to be profitable, especially if they want to IPO. We can go in and we can level the playing field.”

Uber isn't standing still, of course, and its latest initiative is the uberASSIST service, which trains drivers in assisting passengers with wheelchairs, those who are blind, and those who have to cope with other physical challenges.

The service launched back in July, and around 5 to 10 per cent of Uber drivers operating in London have now been trained up to offer it.