Karhoo

Cab aggregator and price comparison tool
Startup Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Transportation
Country:
United Kingdom
Started:
2014
BUSINESS FAILURE
Outcome:
Acquired
Cause:
Poor Product
Closed:
2016
FOUNDERS & EMPLOYEES
Number of Founders:
1
Name of Founders:
Daniel Ishag
Number of Employees:
50-100
FUNDING
Number of Funding Rounds:
2
Total Funding Amount:
$39M
Number of Investors:
3

What was Karhoo?

Karhoo was a cab aggregator and price comparison tool. Through its app, users could get a glance of all the licensed taxis, regulated and private cars for hire that were in the area. The user would be shown the pricing and location of the various cars on a map and they could then book rides with their cab of choice. Unlike other companies which have their own fleet of car, Karhoo relied on already available cabs and it took a 10% commision from the rides booked through its app.

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Why did Karhoo fail and shut down?

Karhoo was out of business after barely 6 months of operation despite having an objectively innovative and useful product.

Based on the various online reports and articles, it seems that the two main reasons for Karhoo’s failure were poor management and faulty execution of a good concept.

Since the company was looking for more investors it went on a full-blown marketing campaign to entice people to use the service and show potential investors that the app was indeed widely used. As a promotional too, they offered free rides to passengers. The problem was that app codes never seemed to expire and people would use £100 worth in free rides. There was also a bug that sometimes prevented the app from accepting credit cards payments.

The CEO of Karhoo was also reported as listing large personal bills showing his lavish lifestyle including expensive shopping sprees, hair salons, $6,000 treatment for his pet dog, 10-year lease of 3 New York apartment, luxurious parties, costly flights and stays in top hotels to mention some. On the other end, employees were asked to skip paychecks until Karhoo's finances got better. When the unexpected news that the company would shut down was announced, employees were also told the company didn't have enough money to pay them and that they wouldn't receive the payment for the previous month as well since the company was closing with $10,000 in its account.

Karhoo has been acquired by RCI Bank and Services in January 2017 and has been rebranded as Flit Technologies.

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