Just as Uber faces down the end of its tenure in one European nation, another ride-hailing service is looking at a renaissance. If you’re one of the few people who remembers Heetch, you may be wondering where it’s been for the last several months. And if you’ve never heard of the company at all, it’s just as well. The company is effectively starting over. Originally founded in 2014, the startup was all but shut down in March of this year when it “failed to convince [the court] of the legality of its business.” After a fine and being charged with illegally operating a taxi business, Heetch is back at it again.
The company’s previous legal troubles are seemingly of no concern to investors, who just pledged $12 million to the French firm to start anew. So now, six months after its initial skirmish with the law, Heetch is back with the exact same proposition (but hopefully, more careful legal terms). Heetch differentiated itself from the plethora of other ride hailing services by offering rides in the latter part of the day, specifically after 8 pm. The target demographic is younger riders who are looking to get from Paris to the suburbs (or vice versa), and may not have a car themselves.
Previously, the issue was that Heetch used non-professional drivers, which is a big no-no in Europe. In fact, it’s such a big no-no that it’s the same reason Uber Pop was suspended in Paris a few years back. But now, it’s employing properly licensed and professional drivers — 5,000 of them, in fact — which means that it’s in the same ballgame as Uber and similar services.
Heetch still focuses on being cheaper than the competition, and has a carpooling service, which anyone (yes, even amateur drivers) can take part in. However, you can only go to two destinations in an evening, which means that while you can’t make money off the trip, you could get someone to help you break even on your way home.
The company claims to be giving around 70,000 rides per week, and currently is taking a smaller percentage from drivers than other companies at 15 percent. Heetch is currently live in France, Belgium, Sweden, and Italy, and hopes that its new influx of cash could help it reach new markets as well.
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