Free Now set for restructuring as it plans to merge with Kapten

17 Apr 20201k Views

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Finding itself in a difficult spot financially, ride-hailing service Free Now is headed for restructuring.

French ride-hailing app Kapten – rebranded from Chauffeur-Privé last year – is set to merge with Free Now, according to TechCrunch.

Both companies fall under the same corporate structure as members of the BMW and Daimler consortium announced in February of last year. Free Now, previously known as MyTaxi, entered the Irish market in 2016 after merging with the Hailo taxi app.

Now, Kapten is being merged with Free Now to create a single app. However, Free Now is also expected to face restructuring across its entire European team as it struggles financially, according to Reuters. While local teams will continue, its tech teams will be centralised in Hamburg, Berlin and Barcelona.

In a statement seen by Reuters, the company said that the restructuring was needed to reduce costs to offset the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Scuppered growth

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Kapten’s plans for growth in 2020 have been scuppered by the outbreak, having said last year it was aiming to be operational in 15 cities by now. This included launching in the Swiss city of Geneva, but it had to shut operations there after only a few months. In September, Kapten cited local regulations as one of the main reasons for its closure in the city.

Now falling under the single Free Now brand, both services will be managed by a single team led by Free Now’s CEO, Marc Berg.

Earlier this month, Free Now launched a campaign in Ireland offering those working in the healthcare sector a 50pc reduction on taxi fares. The passenger would need to show their medical ID to drivers to avail of the offer, and the company stressed that it wasn’t taking commission on trips.

It is offering a similar service in Spain, Poland, Romania and the UK and is looking at how this can be rolled out to the 10 countries it operates in across Europe.

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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