Via files confidentially to go public

Livin' la Via loca

On-demand shuttle service and software company Via has confidentially filed to go public, the company said in a statement. The company has not yet determined how many shares will be offered or what the price range for the proposed offering will look like, as is typical for this sort of release.

Via follows Reddit in filing privately for a public listing before the end-of-year market freeze. Both companies should debut in early 2022

Why file now given the impending holiday period? Via has posted impressive results in recent quarters, so getting its ducks in a row – shuttles in a line? – for an early-early IPO is far from aggressive. It’s reasonable, frankly, given that tech valuations are still strong despite recent declines. And companies that can go public may want to take advantage of the IPO window while it’s open.

Per Crunchbase, Via has raised $777.1 million in known funding to date, from investors including Macquarie Capital, Mori Building, Shell, 83North, Broadscale Group, Ervington Investments, Hearst Ventures, Planven Ventures, Pitango and RiverPark Ventures.

Last month Via announced a $130 million round that pushed the on-demand shuttle and software company to a $3.3 billion valuation. We suppose that that was a pre-IPO round, in retrospect. The capital event came on the heels of TransitTech, Via’s software platform, doubling year over year to exceed an annual run rate of $100 million.

More simply, Via has reached the threshold of IPO scale in revenue terms, not taking into account other possible income streams at the company. So its IPO timing once again makes sense.

Past the software revenue result, after originally taking five years to land its first city partnership, the company today has over 500 partners, including Los Angeles Metro, Jersey City and Miami.

Life has not proved pothole free for Via. The company saw mixed demand for its business amidst the pandemic. While ridership initially dropped due to the disease, cities focused more on emergency services — helping generate demand for Via’s software platform. From a business perspective, that’s good news considering the stickiness of a city contract.

Via has beefed up its operations over the past few years, perhaps hinting at plans to make a pitch for a public debut. In March, the company bought Remix, which created software for cities to use for transportation planning and street design, for $100 million. It also acquired Fleetonomy.

Via won’t be the only mobility startup racing toward a 2022 public debut. This month, Voi Scooters raised a $115 million Series D in preparation for an IPO and Kakao Mobility picked up a $4.2 billion valuation ahead of its rumored listing.

TechCrunch has a series of questions for the filing, once we get our hands on it. For example, we’re curious whether the company is able to generate traditional SaaS gross margins while selling to governments. And how long are its sales cycles? Even more, how deeply penetrated is its core market? And where did all that capital raised get spent? Will I see it in investing cash flow or operating losses?

All told, the 2022 IPO cycle is shaping up to start off with a number of very, very interesting debuts.