June 26--Four months after announcing its plan to enter the Israeli market and searching for a local manager, US taxi-hailing app company Uber Inc. has begun actively recruiting Israeli taxi drivers. Uber has in effect thrown down the gauntlet to Israeli rival GetTaxi Ltd., the dominant player in the taxi hailing app sector on its own turf.
Uber has been distributing flyers at Israeli gas stations, taxi stations and other places to try and persuade both independent and taxi-station linked drivers to join the new service that is starting up in Israel. Uber is operating for the time being from the SOSA start-up complex in south Tel Aviv, which was set up by venture capital funds Pitango Venture Capital and Genesis Partners. Uber's Israel activities are managed by Nimrod Barnea.
Uber's company value is an estimated $19 billion. GetTaxi has developed a similar app to Uber and entered the market about 12 months after its US rival. GetTaxi naturally launched in Israel first, followed by Russia, the UK, and then New York City where it competes against Uber.
GetTaxi is not only concerned that it may lose individual customers to Uber but also drivers and over the past few days it has contacted drivers to convince them to remain with the Israeli company.
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