On-demand shuttle service and transit technology company Via has raised an additional $110 million, bringing the company’s total funding to approximately $1 billion. The new capital raises Via’s valuation to $3.5 billion at the same price per share as the company’s previous financing in November 2021.
Via plans to use the funds to advance its vision to “provide every city in the world with access to this end-to-end digital infrastructure where they can plan, operate, analyze and continue to optimize their transit networks in every vertical direction .” in that transit network,” Daniel Ramot, CEO and co-founder of Via told businessroundups.org.
Via’s transit technology software helps transit companies, municipalities, and school districts optimize scheduled bus routes, strategize the placement of new bike lanes, plan paratransit and school bus services, and holistically incorporate private on-demand ride-sharing services across the entire transportation ecosystem of a city. The company has already scaled to 600 communities and more than 35 countries.
As more and more new mobility segments emerge, threatening to cramp up already crowded streets and decimate already tight budgets, Ramot thinks the startup can do more.
Via internal development or M&A, Via wants to use the money to add more products to its suite of tools. The company is still considering its options, but a few ideas that Ramot and I had floating around include extending Via’s road map-making software to include traffic light and speed bump scheduling; adding parking and curbside management software; fleet management of electric vehicles and their many chargers; integration of micromobility planning; and incorporating autonomous vehicles into the mix.
Via is currently working with AV companies Motional and May Mobility to deploy autonomous ride-sharing shuttles in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Grand Rapids, Minnesota, respectively.
“The idea would be that you would use our tools to plan the infrastructure in the most effective, safest, most efficient way and then design the transit network that sits on top of that infrastructure,” Ramot told businessroundups.org. ‘Perhaps we are also interested in access control. Traffic light priority, for example – if you show a bus at a traffic light with 50 people on it, then a car with one person on it, the traffic light isn’t smart enough to give the bus right of way, but you probably wish it did did. And those are just algorithms for matching supply and demand, which our system is very good at.”
Via’s fundraising comes at a time when startups are hungry for new money and investors are picky. Ramot says Via is in some ways in the right place at the right time – carriers are still reeling from the effects of COVID-19 on passenger patterns, and they are more amenable to ushering in the 21st century with digital tools and data sets.
“In the past it was very difficult to convince cities and transport companies to use new technology, to move to more dynamically routed or data-driven services,” says Ramot. “I won’t say it’s easy, but it has gotten easier.”
Via has also been able to show investors that it is a sustainable company. The company said it closed 2022 with annualized revenue of more than $200 million, which is more than double since its previous $130 million funding round in November 2021.
That’s around the time Via Confidential filed to go public. Given the market volatility over the past year, the company has yet to make progress on that, but Ramot said Via is very willing to make its debut as soon as the market opens up and if it makes sense to do so. While Via didn’t need to raise more money to continue operating at its current level, the money also gives the startup the “option” to go public at the right time, Ramot says.
The $110 million came from a combination of 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.