German auto giant Volkswagen has made a $300 million investment in Israeli rideshare start-up Gett, which has a presence in more than 60 countries worldwide including London, Moscow and New York.
The deal will see the two companies form a “strategic partnership,” which will allow them to share data and explore collaboration for future projects. Volkswagen will offer Gett’s services to business customers, while Gett drivers will be able to buy discounted VW cars to use as taxis.
Volkswagen said the deal was part of a move towards modernizing the company’s technological and business platforms.
“The ride-hailing market represents the greatest market potential in on-demand mobility, while creating the technological platform for developing tomorrow’s mobility business models,” the company said in a statement.
Matthias Muller, Volkswagen’s board of management said the deal would help them become the world’s leading mobility providers by 2025.
“Within the framework of our future Strategy 2025, the partnership with Gett marks the first milestone for the Volkswagen Group on the road to providing integrated mobility solutions that spotlight our customers and their mobility needs,” he said in a statement.
Shahar Waiser, Gett’s chief executive and founder, said the company “provides VW with the technology to expand beyond car ownership to on-demand mobility for consumers and businesses.”
The investment, signed Tuesday, came on the same day that Japan’s Toyota announced a partnership with Gett’s biggest rival, Uber.
That deal includes a strategic investment by the Toyota Financial Services Corporation and its Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership, although no figure was disclosed. Similarly to the VW-Gett deal, the partnership will create new leasing options enabling car buyers to lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services and cover their payments with what they make as Uber drivers.
Gett, formerly GetTaxi, was developed by Israelis Waiser and Roi More – without inspiration by Uber. The Tel Aviv and San Francisco teams both hit upon the idea independently during 2009. Uber got to market first, premiering in June 2010, while GetTaxi was released in Tel Aviv, its first market, in mid-2010.
Toyota and Volkswagen are not the first car makers to link up with rideshare apps.
In March, General Motors and Lyft unveiled a joint car rental service for drivers, a move aimed at boosting the number of vehicles available for the Uber rival.