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Wheely, a Russian upscale minicab service reveals the plans to launch in Istanbul and St. Petersuburg. If you are wondering why GoalEurope is covering a mini-cab company, well – it is all about the mobile app that allows Wheely compete with the likes of Uber and Hailoin London. Unlike Uber and Hailo, the company operates its own fleet of cars and it actually employs the drivers to deliver consistent premium service that includes attired drivers, airconditioned cars and complimentary mineral water.
Co-founded in 2011 by Anton Chirkunov, the company has attracted 17,000 customers (7K with Russian phone numbers, 7K with English phone numbers, and 3K from other international numbers). The service currently operates solely in London and Moscow, but they are planning expansion to Perm (Russia) and we are told by the company that it intends to open additional offices in St. Petersburg and Istanbul.
In terms of the cars themselves, the company offers users a choice of taking a Toyota Prius or a Mercedes E or S-Class. In Moscow, the service costs approximately 15 Euro for 20 minutes and then 0.70 Euro per minute after that. It’s a bit pricier for transfers to the airport (57 Euro) and from the airport (66 Euro), but still not terribly expensive in terms of having a personal chauffeur. In Perm, the rates are 5,5 Euro per 20 minutes (0.30 Euro every minute after that) and 25 Euro to and from the airport. Finally, in London, they take a different approach and charge by distance, with the service costing 10,5 Euro for the first 3,2km (approximately), 3,32 Euro for the next 12,9km, and 3 Euro after that (original figures were quoted in miles). The average check comes out to about 40 Euro, which may not seem cheap, but is likely pretty reasonable for a luxury-car service.
Those interested in using the service can book a car through the web or by using one of their mobile apps. Through the apps, which are available for free for iPhone, Android, and Windows 8, users can enter their credit-card details and attach it to an account. From there, payments are automatically deducted. The app hase been downloaded 40,000 times and has 17,000 active users. With the recent release of iOS 7 from Apple, I’m told that Wheely is currently working to upgrade their iPhone offering.
The company has generous FFF (friends, family and fools) who have invested 1,73 million Euro. Additionally the startup received $25K (roughly 18,800 Euro) as part of the Start Fellows program, which is an initiative from Yuri Milner and Vkontakte founder Pavel Durov.
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vita at goaleurope dot com