After raising $100 million last year, the second largest 2016 financing round by an Israeli company, it was only a matter of time before transportation-on-demand company Via set up shop overseas outside the US.
Via, which provides shared transportation services, has launched its services in Paris, after succeeding in New York, Chicago, and Washington. The Israeli company will offer its services in the French capital in cooperation with Keolis, a global public transportation operator, under the Plus brand. Keolis's LeCab arm will operate the services starting tomorrow.
Via's technology will enable passengers to use the LeCab app to share cars driven by a professional driver. According to its announcement, Via is providing the technological infrastructure, connected to the systems of Keolis, which is operating the service. Keolis, incidentally, was one of the investors in Via's most recent financing round.
Via's technology enables passengers to travel daily on city streets in comfort and at an affordable price. Its app is based on algorithms that connect passengers with seats available in vehicles traveling in the same general direction, instead of traveling in private cars. The algorithms solve complicated computational and operational problems in real time in the process of optimally adjusting the vehicles' routes to the passengers' needs, while taking traffic conditions into account. This technology enables the company to transport a large volume of passengers using a significantly smaller number of vehicles than other transportation services. In short, it is a more convenient form of shuttle taxi.
Via cofounders Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval said, "Strategic partnership like this one with Keolis are a basic element in realizing our global vision of transportation sharing for the purpose of leading a rapid worldwide change in municipal transportation."
In its announcement, the company claims that by efficient sharing of a single vehicle by a number of passengers, Plus can alleviate Paris traffic jams and carbon emissions. The launching of the current service is the first of a number of planned cooperative ventures involving Via and Keolis.
As part of its broader strategy of installing its shared transportation technology all over the world, Via is planning to launch strategic partnerships in the coming months in various vertical transportation markets, including taxi fleets, public transportation agencies, and other companies operating transportation networks.
Chemi Peres, founder and managing partner in Pitango Venture Capital, which has invested in Via, said, "Via's talented team is proving that special cooperative ventures with leading transportation companies around the world are making possible general use of and access to its revolutionary solution."
Arnon Dinur, a partner in83North Venture Capital, another investor in Via, said, "Via's technologies and service, which facilitate transportation of large numbers of people in shuttle taxi style, are the best transportation solution and a look at how things will be in the future. The company built itself from the beginning as a system that enables not only itself to launch such a service, but also others. Its list of partnerships with Tier-1 companies is extremely impressive, highlighting the market's acute need for advanced transportation solutions.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 31, 2017
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