Founded in 2015, Juno pitched itself as a “socially responsible way to ride.” The company employed its drivers and provided them with restricted stock options in the company, versus Uber and Lyft Inc., which use independent contractors who gain no additional employee benefits.
The company launched in its one and only city, New York, last spring and was hailed at the time by many thanks to its alleged ethical stance when it came to its drivers. Publications such as Vanity Fair even went so far as asking the question, “Can this ride-sharing start-up kill Uber with kindness?” Ironically, the acquisition means that the company is terminating its restricted stock program, making the options worthless.
“We helped them build the startup and they cashed the money and ran away,” a Juno driver told Buzzfeed. “They’re all the same – Uber, Lyft, Juno, Gett. We are slaves.” Another driver told Recode, “I joined Juno because the promise of the [stock options] were very enticing. Driverless cars will be around someday; it’s good to have the future taken care of.”
While not a well-known name in the U.S., Gett, previously known as GetTaxi, is an Israeli ride-hailing startup founded in 2010. It has grown rapidly across Europe, with a presence in more than 100 cities, including London and Moscow. The company expanded into New York, its first and so far only foray into the United States market, in 2013.
The company also has strong financial backing. It has raised $513 million to date with its most prominent investor being the Volkswagen Group, which invested $300 million into the company in May. As part of that deal, the two companies formed a strategic partnership to share data and to work on future projects. VW offered on-demand ride services to business customers, while Gett drivers were offered discounts on VW cars to use as taxis.
It’s not clear how much Juno had raised, but it did raise an undisclosed Series A round from Empire Angles in 2016.