Ride-hailing and transit technology company Via raised another $110 million, bringing the company’s total funding to roughly $1 billion. The fresh capital raises Via’s valuation to $3.5 billion at the same price per share as the company’s previous funding in November 2021.
Via intends to use the funds to further its vision of “being able to give every city in the world access to this end-to-end digital infrastructure where they can plan, operate, analyze and continue to optimize their transit networks across all verticals. in this transit network,” said Daniel Ramot, CEO and co-founder of Via.
Via’s transportation software helps transit agencies, municipalities, and school districts optimize fixed bus routes, strategize the placement of new bike lanes, plan paratransit and school bus services, and seamlessly integrate private, on-demand ride-sharing services into the city’s entire transportation ecosystem. The company has already reached 600 communities and more than 35 countries.
As new segments of mobility continue to emerge, threatening to squeeze already congested streets and erode already tight budgets, Ramot believes the startup can do more.
Through in-house development or mergers and acquisitions, Via wants to use the funds to add more products to its suite of tools. The company is still mulling its options, but a few ideas Ramot and I discussed include expanding Via’s street-mapping software to include planning traffic lights and loitering cops; adding parking and curb management software; management of fleets of electric vehicles and their numerous charging devices; integration of micromobility planning; and bringing autonomous vehicles into the mix.
Via is currently working with AV companies Motional and May Mobility to deploy autonomous shuttles in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Grand Rapids, Minnesota, respectively.
“The idea is that you use our tools to plan your infrastructure in the most efficient, safest and most efficient way, and then you design a transit network that sits on top of that infrastructure,” Ramot told TechCrunch. “Potentially, we would also be interested in access control. For example, the right-of-way at a traffic light – if a bus with 50 people and then a car with one person comes to the traffic light, the traffic light is not smart enough to give the bus the right-of-way, but you’d probably want it to. And these are just algorithms for matching supply and demand, which our system does very well.”
Via’s fundraising comes at a time when startups are hungry for fresh cash and investors are picky. Ramot says Via was, in a sense, in the right place at the right time — transit agencies are still reeling from the impact of COVID-19 on passengers and have eased into the 21st century with digital tools.
“In the past, it was very difficult to convince cities and transportation agencies to adopt new technology, to move to more dynamic routing or data-driven services,” Ramot said. “I won’t say that it is still easy, but it has become easier.”
Via was also able to demonstrate to investors that it has a stable business. The company said it ended 2022 with annual revenue of more than $200 million, more than doubling its previous funding round of $130 million in November 2021.
Around that time, Via confidentially filed for public disclosure. The company has yet to move in that direction given the market’s volatility last year, but Ramot said Via is ready to debut when the market opens up and if it makes sense to do so. While Via didn’t need to raise additional funds to continue operating at its current size, the funds also give the startup “the discretion” to go public when the time is right, Ramot says.
$110 million came from new and existing investors. 83North led the round with participation from Exor NV, Pitango, Janus Henderson, CF Private Equity, Planven Entrepreneur Ventures, Riverpark Ventures and ION Crossover Partners.
Author: Kostyantyn Kryvopust