Israeli rideshare rivals Gett, Juno join forces

$200m buyout aims to position the two transportation companies to compete with better-known rivals Uber and Lyft in ultra-competitive New York market

A GetTaxi vehicle in Tel Aviv. (Courtesy)
A GetTaxi vehicle in Tel Aviv. (Courtesy)

Israeli ridesharing startups Gett and Juno announced Wednesday they were joining forces, helping them step up a challenge to larger rivals Uber and Lyft.

“Excited to share that #Gett & @juno join forces in the US bringing together two companies that treat drivers better,” said a tweet from Israel-founded but now New York-based Gett.

The companies did not immediately disclose terms, but the news site TechCrunch reported that Gett had paid $200 million for Juno, which launched in New York last year.

Gett has raised some $640 million including a $300 million investment last year from Volkswagen as part of a strategic partnership with the German automaker.

Gett, formerly called GetTaxi, defines itself as an on-demand mobility company, and offers ride-hailing services in more than 80 cities around the world, including London, Moscow and New York. The taxi app Juno is only active in New York City. Uber offers service in hundreds of cities worldwide and is reportedly worth $60 billion, while Lyft is available in dozens of US cities.

Uber has been rocked by scandals and bad press in recent months, including accusations of sexism in the workplace, mistreatment of drivers, abusive behavior by CEO Travis Kalanick and belligerent business practices, including reportedly dispatching employees to order and cancel thousands of rides from Lyft drivers.

Uber’s competitors see an opening to exploit the company’s recent problems. The acquisition of Juno by Gett could put the companies in better standing and help it compete with Uber in New York City, although Uber still controls an overwhelming majority of the international market.

Juno was founded in 2016 by CEO Talmon Marco, creator of the communication app Viber, which was sold to Japanese electronic commerce and internet company Rakuten for $900 million in 2014, at the time the biggest-ever buyout of an Israeli tech company by an Asian firm.

Juno positioned itself from the beginning as a friendlier alternative to Uber, which was already notorious for its poor treatment of drivers. Its tagline is “Juno treats drivers better, drivers treat you better.” The company, with offices in Israel, New York and Europe, provides 24/7 support for drivers and customers, takes a lower commission from drivers than its competitors, according to the company’s website, and offers its drivers shares in the company.

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