Hailo is hitching a ride out of North America. As reported by Financial Times, the company has found it "impossible" to become profitable in the United States as Uber and Lyft wage a cutthroat war to become the premier ride-sharing service. Hailo doesn't have its own drivers; instead, its app matches passengers with taxi drivers or licensed black car drivers with a couple quick taps. The company first launched operations in the US in 2012 and entered the battleground of New York City last year. But now it's bowing out to focus business squarely on Europe, where Hailo is based. "It’s not that we aren’t growing there," chief executive Tom Barr said of North America in an interview with the Financial Times. "But the profitability of the market and the type of environment [that other taxi-app companies] are setting up — both on the driver and passenger side — ceased to make sense to us."
Around 20 employees will be out of a job when Hailo shuts down service in Boston, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, and Washington DC. Hailo says it's got 1.4 million registered passengers, but at least in the US, the Uber / Lyft battle is keeping sustainable profits and growth out of reach. Barr is now Hailo's only boss; Jay Bregman, a co-founder and (until now) co-CEO, is leaving the company with today's news.