Ridesharing company Via is strengthening its collaboration with Daimler, which it began in 2015, including the establishment of a joint venture, which will launch dynamic shuttle transport services throughout Europe using Via's technology. The venture will allow transport organizations and local authorities in Europe to streamline their transport systems by utilizing Via's unique operating system.
In addition to a strategic investment by Daimler in Via, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division will invest a further $50 million in the joint venture. Via has not disclosed details about the overall amount raised in its latest financing ruond but market sources believe that it is about $250 million, including the sum being invested by Daimler.
Via was established in June 2012 in Israel by CEO Daniel Ramot and VP development Oren Shoval and the company is today headquartered in New York. Both men served in the Israel Air Force. Via has 200 employees, half of them in Tel Aviv. The company has developed a ridesharing service based apps for the taxi market that matches up passengers with drivers. Via's technology incorporates "big data" machine learning and analysis of mass public transport systems. Via has reportedly raised $137 million to date (not including the latest investment) from venture capital funds in Israel and abroad including Pitango Venture Capital, Poalim Capital Markets, 83 North, Roman Abramovich, Hearst Media and others.
The company currently operates mainly in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington D.C. and provides over 1 million rides per month. Via's technology is also being used in a number of locations in Europe through partnerships and the company was recently listed by the Wall Street Journal as a startup to watch.
Via said today, "Using the funds raised, we plan investing major resources in promoting and developing Via's technology platform and to hire in the coming months leading software, big data and product developers and algorithm specialists.
According to the announcement London will be the first city in Europe in which Via and Daimler will launch their dynamic shuttle service. The service will later be expanded to other European cities. As part of their partnership, Via and Daimler will work together to adapt the dynamic shuttle transport service to Mercedes-Benz vans and they will also develop systems for managing electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle fleets.
A similar partnership operates between Israeli company Gett, a rival of Via which is significantly larger, and Volkswagen's MOIA smart transport unit. Volkswagen invested $300 million in get last year. Outside of Israel, General Motors has a similar partnership with Lyft. Estimates are that the ridesharing market will be worth $24 billion by 2024.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 4, 2017
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