If at first you don't succeed, change your name and try again in a different city. When Uber was new and shiny, it briefly had the ridehailing side of the London market to itself. Not anymore. New players in the ridehailing game include Bolt, which is backed by Daimler. Previously known by the tragic name of Taxify, it's finally gained a licence after a year of negotiating with Transport for London. Its first entry into the market was through an acquired licence, but TfL's wrangles with Uber caused other firms to tread more carefully. "Bolt's run-in, and eventual cooperation, with TfL underscores the shift we have seen in the transportation market over the last few years in London, which has changed from a hacker mentality of "move fast, break things" to slow and steady wins the race," writes Techcrunch. "So far, there has been a monopoly, which leads to the same problems of higher prices and poor service," Bolt's CEO and founder Markus Villig said in an interview this week. "We are here first to fix that, but it will take two to three years to do so." Bolt's competition now extends beyond Uber. Of French-origin in the ranks is Kapten, formerly known as Chauffeur Prive, and Wheely has recently moved from Moscow to London. Meanwhile, Mytaxi — which is owned by Bolt investor Daimler — has built up a European operation with existing cab drivers. That's a lot of competing cars. Daimler, owner of Mercedes Benz, earlier this year teamed up with BMW to develop standards for self-driving cars it expects to roll out by the mid-2020s.
It's now a strong and confirmed trend that established lenders are hooking up with digital players to deliver new services that cross traditional divides. Citi will expand its Asian customer base through a new partnership with ridehailing app Grab, as it seeks to add another two million customers to its existing 16 million. Citi will partner with Grab on a co-branded credit card, Gonzalo Luchetti, Citi's head of consumer banking for Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Reuters. "We are not the only ones to see the blinding insight that customers are spending more time on their phones whether in payment, ride sharing or chat ecosystems, but it is all about how you execute a partnership," Citi's Luchetti told Reuters. "Thirty years ago, if you wanted to be relevant to clients, you needed to have as many branches as you could. Today ... people spend hours every day in these virtual cities, and the equivalent of having a branch in every corner is being able to provide your services within these digital ecosystems."
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