The CEO of fast-growing German taxi app Blacklane was in London this week to talk to Uber about how the pair can work together to take on the regulators.
Blacklane cofounder and CEO Jens Wohltorf told Business Insider at the Noah tech conference on Thursday that he was planning to meet Andrew Byrne, Uber policy manager for UKI & the Nordics, and talk about how the two taxi companies can lobby governments worldwide so both of their businesses can thrive.
“We were planning to meet because we wanted to discuss how we can improve regulation,” said Wohltorf, whose company is headquartered in Berlin. “How can we push this in a more innovative direction together.”
Ahead of the meeting, held at Uber’s London office on Thursday, Wohltorf said many of the laws that today’s new taxi companies have to abide by are “decades old.”
He added: “Some of the regulation does make sense from a customer perspective for safety and security but some others are protecting monopolies around, which also touches our business.”
Wohltorf was keen to stress that Uber isn’t the only new transportation company he wants to meet with, mentioning other firms like BlaBlaCar and Kabbee.
He thinks policymakers and regulators will be forced to listen if the latest taxi companies join forces and lobby together.
Blacklane is inherently different to Uber and other on-demand taxi apps because it allows customers to schedule a ride.
“We are only professional drivers with all the licenses and insurances and everything in place,” said Wohltorf. “We aggregate small fragmented providers that have been in this business for decades. You schedule Blacklane to your flight, to your hotel, to your normal travel schedule. It’s guaranteed. When you book with us you can be sure there’s a car around — you’re not opening up an app and hope for a car around.”
Blacklane operates in 200 cities across 50 countries, and the US is its largest market. Wohltorf said the company has tens of thousands of drivers but could not be more specific than that.
So far the company has raised €25 million (£18 million) but Wohltorf said he is looking to raise more.
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