Hailo, goodbye! Taxi app quits North America


Taxi hailing app Hailo has decided to shut down its operations in North America in the face of "astronomical" marketing costs and intense competition from rival firms such as Uber.

Co-chief executive and co-founder Jay Bregman, who was based in New York and started up the company's North American market, will also leave the firm.

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Source: HailO

Bregman "by his own admissions has taken the business to the level he can," Hailo CEO and president Tom Barr said in a statement.

Unlike competitors Uber and ridesharing app Lyft, the London based start-up partners with existing taxi services.

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"We have … decided to end our operations in North America, where the astronomical marketing spend required to compete is making profitability for any one player almost impossible," Barr said.

Former co-CEO Barr will take over as sole chief executive of Hailo's remaining business and employees based in North America are set to lose their jobs.

The group said it intends to have a "sharpened focus" on its business in Europe and Asia, where it is currently available in over 20 cities and plans to put energy into its "Hailo for Business" and concierge service.

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Uber has led an aggressive pricing campaign wherever it has set up operations. It aggressively slashed prices in New York by 20 percent in the summer, which made it cheaper for passengers to use than the city's iconic yellow cabs. Last week, the company cut its fares in two German cities after regulatory challenges.

The group also faced legal obstacles in London, where taxi drivers protested the app, which they said was the same as their taxi meters. Nonetheless Uber quickly established itself in the city, and currently has around 7,000 drivers on the roads in London.