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EghtesadOnline: Deputy Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology says the Iranian ride-hailing startup, Snapp, has so far attracted more than 900 billion rials ($24 million) of foreign investments.

According to a report by Fars News Agency, Morteza Barari said “The investments have been made by companies from South Africa and Germany.”

The official did not name the companies.

Snapp (formally TaxiYaab) — Iran’s leading ride-hailing app — is co-owned by Germany’s Rocket Internet and South African telecommunication company MTN through its holding company, Iran Internet Group, according to Financial Tribune.

Earlier this year MTN made a substantial investment in the rapidly growing business but did not provide figures. MTN-Irancell is the second largest mobile operator in the country.

In recent years, the German Internet giant, which applies business formulas to new markets, came to Iran under the guise of a joint operation with MTN-Irancell a few years ago with over $320 million.

 Tap30

According to Barari another ride-hailing service, Tap30, which is believed to be partly financed by French companies, has also seen its earnings grow during the past four months.

He said, “The business currently has 95 highly educated technicians” and 15,000 drivers work for Tap30 – a major rival of Snapp.

According to Barari when the business was launched four months ago it only employed a handful of technicians.

Tap30 is Iran’s second most popular ride-hailing service and the first to expand services beyond Tehran. It is now also available in Karaj and the central tourist city of Isfahan.

According to company officials, while Isfahan was the first city outside the sprawling capital which it entered, the company is planning further expansion.

 Carpino

After trying strenuously and failing to slow down the rise of the ride-hailing services, the Tehran Taxis Union launched its own ride-hailing app it calls Carpino.

In addition to using new technology and applications for offering better service, the old taxis are being rebranded.

For years Tehran’s taxis have been associated with the colors yellow and green. Now they are flirting with pink in the form of the newly-launched app.

The owner of Carpino has launched an extensive advertisement campaign in Tehran and one can see its ads and promotional banners almost everywhere, from subway stations to bus stops.

 3 New Services

Furthermore, the same taxi union has approved three more ride-hailing apps as the market for calling taxis through smartphones continues to develop at a breakneck pace.

According to Masoud Tayebi, head of the union, the three new apps have been given the official go-ahead in the increasingly tight market.

The three new apps are ‘Hitro’, ‘Ja be Ja’ and ‘Escort’.

According to the official, any company that has obtained the permits including “license in their field of activities”, the e-commerce seal (E-Namad), and the approval of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance can enter the market.

Once the companies have all the paperwork in place, they will each receive a temporary license of three to six months and have the full support of the union.

Apart from Hitro, the other two have not yet launched online.

Hitro’s business plan seems to take a page out of Uber’s playbook by offering limousines and luxury cars as a selling point.

Up until now, all three other apps in the market, including Tap30, Snapp, and Carpino offer regular cars at discount rates.

Meanwhile, motorbikes are also getting into the ride-hailing business with a new app called Alopeyk.com, much like the cab app. The service finds the nearest motorbike rider and charges mush less than the regular apps.

Iran Ride-Hailing Snapp