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Wheely raises $15 million for its luxury ride-hailing app

London-based startup Wheely has raised a $15 million successions B circular led by Concentric, with Oleg Tscheltzoff, Misha Sokolov and other investors also participating. The company wants to build an uber opponent focused on the luxury marketplace.

It’s a bit ironic when you think about it, as Uber started as a luxury company. But everybody knows someone with horrific Uber stories. That’s why Wheely is construction a reliable and predictable drive-hailing experience.

The company is currently live in London, Moscow and St. Petersburg — Paris is coming this summer. It works with 3,500 drivers and currently has a run rate of $80 million in gross bookings.

Wheely doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel, as the company works with third-party partners and doesn’t employ its drivers. Similarly, the company takes a 20 percent cut on each drive.

But the startup insists on its strict recruitment process. For example, you can’t become a wheely driver from day one. The company requires at least three years of previous driver driving experience. You also need to pass multiple tests, including driving tests and etiquette tests. Only one in four UberBlack drivers pass the exam.

There are currently three distinct classes — a normal one with Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars, a fancy one with Mercedes-Benz S-Class cars and a van category with Mercedes-Benz V-Class vehicles.

Minimum rides cost £12 with the entry-level class, £16 in a s-Class and at least £40 for a van. You then pay more depending on distance traveled and moment spent in the automobile.

And it’s been working well, as Wheely now represents around 11 percent of gross bookings in London. Given that each drive is more high-price than a traditional drive-hailing drive, it makes sense that Wheely already captured a good chunk of the cash pie. Now let’s see if the company can find enough cities with lavish people to scale its business.

Anton Chirkunov, founder of Wheely


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