Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG has acquired a 15-percent stake in smartphone application publisher MyTaxi, marking the German automaker's continued willingness to invest in transportation-related businesses that don't actually focus on selling vehicles to customers.

Bloomberg News reported that Daimler's Car2go division, along with Xing AG founder Lars Hinrichs and Deutsche Telekom AG invested about $13 million combined into the company, which makes an application that lets smartphone owners order a taxi with their iPhones or Android devices, the wire service reported, citing an interview with MyTaxi founder and CEO Sven Kuelper. The application, which has been downloaded about 800,000 times, is available for use in about 30 European cities.

With the investment, Daimler continues to take a broader view of personal vehicle demand by acquiring stakes in non-vehicle manufacturing companies. Daimler in 2008 started Car2go, which differs from other car-sharing programs because it does not require the vehicle to be returned to a defined space – i.e., where it was picked up. Instead, as long as the car ends up inside the operating area, drivers are free to leave it in any legal parking space when they are finished with it.

Car2Go operates in Amsterdam; Austin, Texas; Hamburg; Ulm, Germany; and Vancouver. Late last year, car2go added Vienna and San Diego. Washington, D.C. is coming soon.

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