British based taxi price comparison and hailing app Karhoo, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November, is back in the saddle following a deal backed by a finance branch of Renault group.
Karhoo has been picked up by a new enterprise, Flit Technologies, in which RCI Bank and Services have acquired a majority holding. Flit Technologies was headed by two previous Karhoo employees, and paid in the vicinity of $1 million with a pledge of $15 million in additional investment.
Gianluca De Ficchy, CEO of RCI Bank and Services said: “In 2016 we formed a range of partnerships to support our development strategy on auto-mobility services and solutions for our customers. The acquisition of the start-up Karhoo appeared as a sudden opportunity that we did not want to miss and the acquisition was completed rapidly.”
He added: “We have met the highly-motivated teams, and I have every confidence in Karhoo’s business model; it is innovative and underpinned by a first-class technological platform.”
Boris Pilichowski and Nicolas Andine, who were overseeing Karhoo just before it went insolvent, will be co-CEOs of the app producer after it relaunches. The firm is due to rise from the ashes later this year.
In a statement, Pilichowski and Andine said: “There is a need in ground transportation for someone to aggregate all the independents and allow them to compete, and we are determined to make sure Karhoo fills that need. Karhoo was amazingly successful in ferrying hundreds of thousands of people around the world but lacked a corporate backer, but with RCI Bank and Services, we now have that.”
Renault’s move to purchase Karhoo follows similar bids by automakers investing in taxi apps, such as Volkswagen assigning $300 million to Gett, and Daimler buying the greater part of Hailo.
While Karhoo had in the region of 200 staff, the new venture will have 35 employees, based mainly in the United Kingdom.