Hailo bows out of North America while its rivals duke it out

When you think of hailing cars from your smartphone, you probably envision Uber's fleet of black cars or Lyft's festive pink mustaches. Competitors like mobile cab-hailing startup Hailo never reached critical mass outside Europe the same way its two biggest rivals did -- that's why it revealed today that it's bailing out of North America entirely. According to the Financial Times, Hailo isn't retreating from the US because it wasn't up for a fight; it's more that the ongoing price war between Uber and Lyft meant there was no real way Hailo could stick around and turn a profit. How quickly things change.

After all, it was just two years ago (almost to the day) that a bright-eyed Hailo first launched in the United States -- now the company's outposts in Boston, Chicago and Washington DC are on the verge of being shuttered. Hailo's been a pretty prominent player in Canada too, though its not completely done for up there: Toronto's city lead told TechCrunch that a licensing deal is on the table, and that customers can continue to cruise down Bloor St. in cabs they've e-hailed. Now that Hailo's ridding itself of a major burden, it'll continue its quest to snap up users where the on-demand car war doesn't already have a clear winner. In this case, we're talking about the rest of Europe and parts of Asia (like Singapore, where the startup is gearing to up to launch someday soon).