collaborative consumption

Paris sues Airbnb for illegal listings and seeks $14.2 million

The City of Paris first warned Airbnb, and it is now taking action. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, told the JDD that the city is suing the company for 1,010 illegal listings. The fine could be worth as much as $14.2 million (€12.625 million).

Based on current legislation, you can’t rent an apartment more than 120 days a year. If you want to rent an apartment on Airbnb in Paris, you first must register your apartment with the city. The city then gives you an ID number so they can track how many nights you’re listing your apartment on Airbnb.

And yet, many listings still don’t have that ID number. The mayor’s office flagged around 1,000 apartments back in December 2017 and said Airbnb was dragging its feet. The company had little incentive to comply, as hosts were responsible for their own listings.

Thanks to a new law, the responsibility is now shared between the hosts and the platform. The City of Paris can now fine Airbnb for all those illegal listings, up to €12,500 per listing.

According to Hidalgo, Airbnb has been putting too much pressure on the housing market. She thinks that 65,000 apartments are now reserved for Airbnb in Paris alone. In some areas, it has become quite hard to find an apartment because of that. Local shops also suffer because tourists have different needs. In addition to better monitoring, Hidalgo is also in favor of restricting listings to 30 nights per year.

Airbnb told the JDD that it has complied with regulations and informed all Airbnb hosts about the new rules. The company also says that regulation in Paris doesn’t comply with European regulation. It’s clear that this fight is not over.

Uber competitor Chauffeur-Privé rebrands to Kapten

French company Chauffeur-Privé is going to expand aggressively over the next couple of years. That’s why the company is changing its name to Kapten — a name that sounds less French.

“We wanted to share with you a very important piece of news,” Kapten co-founder and CEO Yan Hascoet said in a press conference. “We changed our name while keeping the same positioning.”

Kapten is one of the leading ride-sharing players in France and recently launched in Lisbon (2 million users in France, 80,000 users in Lisbon). The company is going to launch in Geneva next week and London in the coming weeks. By 2020, Kapten should be in 15 major cities.

Kapten within Intelligent Apps

As a reminder, Daimler AG acquired a majority stake in Chauffeur-Privé/Kapten back in December 2017. Daimler AG and BMW Group later merged their mobility service businesses into a single entity called Intelligent Apps.

Kapten confirmed that Intelligent Apps will become Jurbey. Intelligent Apps’ free-floating services, parking services, charging services and itinerary apps will merge to simplify the product offering.

But Intelligent Apps’ ride-sharing services (Chauffeur-Privé, mytaxi, Clever Taxi and Beat) won’t merge for now.

“It seems obvious that there will be some consolidation in five years in one way or another,” Hascoet said. “But this is not on today’s agenda.”

Hascoet thinks that the ride-sharing space is still extremely competitive and there’s room for growth. It seems smarter to keep multiple services for now to see how it plays out in the coming years. Kapten is thinking about integrating Intelligent Apps’ scooter service Hive in its app though.

Update: Kapten co-founder and CEO Yan Hascoet sent us the following statement:

  • Daimler AG and BMW Group are merging their mobility service businesses into a single entity. After completion of the complex transaction on January 31, 2019, the new mobility services company, Daimler AG and the BMW Group, will present the next steps to be taken in the first quarter of 2019.
  • The goal is to jointly create a major player for seamless and intelligently connected mobility services. The 50-50 joint venture will bring together the following five services: a multimodal mobility platform, car sharing, ride hailing, parking, and charging. Ride hailing will be based on mytaxi, Kapten (Chauffeur Privé), Clever Taxi and Beat.
  • As a matter of principle, future brand names are neither confirmed nor commented on.

A new name and some new features

Kapten is also using today’s rebranding to launch an aggressive advertising campaign. The company will spend “millions of euros.”

There will be some tweaks to the service as well. The minimum price is now €6 instead of €8 just like on Uber. Kapten will compensate that change by paying drivers the equivalent of an €8 ride for the time being. Eventually, Kapten wants drivers to generate as much revenue with €6 rides. In all cases, Kapten takes a 20 percent cut on each ride.

Drivers are also getting new features starting today. Free waiting time has been lowered from 5 minutes to 3 minutes, which should help drivers waste less time. There’s also a new feature to go back home and accept rides on the way.

The company also used this opportunity to share some numbers. Over the past 7 years, the company managed to attract 2 million clients and 200 companies who generated 20 million rides in total. In 2018 alone, Kapten handled 7.5 million rides with an average price of €17 to €18. It currently works with 22,000 drivers and 250 employees. Kapten will hire around 100 employees in 2019.

Kapten has generated $54.9 million in revenue in 2016, $113 million in 2017 and $180.8 million in 2018 (€48.6 million, €100 million, €160 million respectively). Kapten wants to multiply its revenue by 5 by 2020.

In its announcement video, Kapten also differentiated its service from Uber by saying that they’ll keep paying taxes in local markets where they operate. The company wants to be the good guy, let’s see if that’s enough to capture some market share.

Go-Jek makes first close of Series F round at $9.5B valuation

Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company that is challenging Grab in Southeast Asia, has announced the first close of its Series F round, as TechCrunch reported last week. The company isn’t revealing numbers. Sources told us last week that it has closed around $920 million, but we understand that today that the round is at over $1 billion. Go-Jek is planning to raise $2 billion for the round, as reported last year.

Go-Jek said that the first close is led by existing backers Google,, and Tencent, with participation from Mitsubishi Corporation and Provident Capital. It didn’t provide a valuation but sources told us that week that it is around $9.5 billion.

Starting out with motorbike taxis in 2015, Go-Jek has since expanded to taxis, private car and more. The company said it plans to spend the money deepening its business in Indonesia, its home market, and growing its presence in new market expansions Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. It is also working to enter the Philippines, where it had a request for an operating license rejected although it did complete a local acquisition after buying fintech startup

The Go-Jek business in Indonesia includes transportation, food delivery, services on demand, payments and financial services. That’s very much the blueprint for its expansion markets, all of which are in different stages. Go-Viet, its Vietnamese service, offers food delivery and motorbike taxis, Get in Thailand operates motorbike taxis and in Singapore Go-Jek provides four-wheeled car options.

Combined those efforts cover 204 cities, two million drivers and 400,000 merchants, the company said, but the majority of that is in Indonesia.

Grab, meanwhile, became the top dog after buying Uber’s local business, and it operates in eight countries. It recently crossed three billion rides to date and claims 130 million downloads. Grab said revenue for 2018 was $1 billion, it expects that to double this year. It has raised $6.8 billion from investors, according to Crunchbase, and its current Series H round could reach $5 billion.

Go-Jek claims it has 130 million downloads — despite just being in three markets — while it said it reached an annualized transaction volume of two billion in 2018 and $6.7 billion in annualized GMV. Those figures require some explaining as Go-Jek is being a little creative with its efforts to compete with Grab on paper.

Transactions don’t mean revenue — a transaction could be a $1 motorbike ride or a payment via QR code — and GMV is not revenue either, while both are ‘annualized’ which means they are scaled up after measuring a short period. In other words, don’t take these figures too literally, they aren’t comparable to Grab.