Via raises $130M to expand on-demand shuttle software business

On-demand shuttle and software company Via has raised another $130 million, capital that has pushed its valuation to about $3.3 billion as demand from cities to update its legacy transit systems rises.

The round was led by Janus Henderson with participation from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, ION Crossover Partners, Koch Disruptive Technologies and existing investor Exor. To date, the company has raised $800 million.

Via, which today employs about 950 people, has two sides to its business. The company operates consumer-facing shuttles in Washington, D.C. and New York. Its underlying software platform, which it sells to cities, transportation authorities, school districts and universities to deploy their own shuttles, is not only the core of its business; it has become the primary driver of growth.

Co-founder and CEO Daniel Ramot previously told TechCrunch that there was was little interest from cities in the software-as-a-service platform when the company first launched in 2012. Via landed its first city partnership with Austin in late 2017, after providing the platform to the transit authority for free. It was enough to allow Via to develop case studies and convince other cities to buy into the service. In 2019, the partnerships side of the business “took off,” Ramot said in an interview last year.

Today, the software side — branded internally as TransitTech — has eclipsed its consumer-facing operations. Via said TransitTech revenue more than doubled year on year to exceed an annual run rate of $100 million. The software platform is used by more than 500 partners, including Los Angeles Metro. Jersey City and Miami in the United States as well as Arriva Bus UK, a Deutsche Bahn company that uses it for a first and last-mile service connecting commuters to a high-speed train station in Kent, U.K.

Via doesn’t provide specifics on what it plans to use the funds for. The company has made two acquisitions in the past t18 months, including Fleetonomy in 2020.

Earlier this year, Via used $100 million in cash and equity to acquire Remix, a startup that developed mapping software used by cities for transportation planning and street design. Remix became a subsidiary of Via, an arrangement that will let the startup maintain its independent brand.

The acquisition has already produced one product that combines Remix’s collaborative mapping and transit-planning tools with Via’s on-demand transit data. Earlier this month, Via launched a software tool to help cities understand and plan how on-demand rides and fixed route transit like buses, can work in tangent.