Timely Takeover: Flywheel Raises $12 Million to Take Back the Streets from Uber

uber taxi

For the past couple of months, Uber has lost about all of its fanfare and applause in exchange for a few million middle fingers.

As you have seen in the PRNewserverse: we had a sexist PR promo for “hot chicks,” Emil Michael’s horrific implosion, the CEO’s apology-ish, and public opinion on why a “the press sucks” strategy really doesn’t work. In short, it’s been an #UberFail.

The timing couldn’t be better for Flywheel, a taxi hailing app, which has decided to get its real estate back with a $12 million Series-C fundraising grab.

Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur is not bashful abou criticizing Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and his decision to respond to the controversy by keeping that dolt SVP of Business Emil Michael on staff. Nor is he just any slouch — he was a VP at Amazon in its early days. And now, he has Uber in his crosshairs.

It’s working — according to TechCrunch.

Mathur has brought in a new executive team and $12 million in a series C round of funding from TCW/CratonRockport Capital and Shasta Ventures. All three venture firms supported Flywheel’s last round for $14.8 million. This puts Flywheel’s total bankroll to date at nearly $35 million.

flywheel-new-interfaceObviously, with every headline pelting Uber, Mathur and the Flywheel crew are toasting and high-fiving. They are also getting nice editorial placements like this one from Mashable:

What sets Flywheel apart from competitors like Uber and Lyft, Mathur says, is its reliance on licensed taxi drivers. This creates a better experience for users, who get the advantage of reliably knowledgeable drivers who undergo strict background checks. But it’s also a win for the business side as the company doesn’t have to work to recruit and train new drivers.

Taxi companies have fragmented themselves with no marketing and relied on the hope that a different-colored minivan will do the trick at airports. Folks want convenience, which is why the app world slammed the taxi business so hard.

However, one company’s self-inflicted crisis is another company’s opportunity — or, as Homer Simpson would put it, a “crisitunity.”