Hailo, a UK-based taxi application for mobile devices, has raised $30.6m from a consortium including Japan-based phone operator KDDI. KDDI signed an exclusive partnership leveraging its 35 million subscribers to support Hailo’s launches in Asia, starting with Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo has 40,000 taxis and the Japanese taxi market is estimated at $25bn, Hailo said. Venture capital firm Union Square Ventures led the investment syndicate, which also include Richard Branson, founder of local conglomerate Virgin Group. The other investors were venture capital firms Phenomen Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners and Atomico Ventures Hailo has now raised $50.6m in aggregate. The company has also hired Tom Barr, former head of coffee at café company Starbucks, as president and chief operating officer of its US subsidiary ahead of launching its service in New York City. Kiyotaka Fujii is president of Japan and Asia Pacific after previously working at luxury goods maker LVMH. Colm O’Cuilleanain is president of Europe, Middle East and Africa and will be taking Hailo to Spain, beginning with Madrid and Barcelona. Jay Bregman, chief executive and co-founder of Hailo, said: “In just over a year, we have operations in ten cities across six countries and sales in excess of $100m. We now have the senior team, resources, and the investment and corporate partners to deliver our vision of bringing Hailo to NYC, Tokyo, and every street corner in every major city in the world.”

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