In the overcrowded ridesharing market, there are carpool apps for any taste: from traditional yellow cabs, to women’s-only, coworker and luxury car pickups. So how do companies stand out among the competition?
New York-born Via has a plan. The ridesharing startup says its app is perfectly positioned to power public transit in major cities.
“We think our technology is unique and we can provide it to cities and public authorities,” CEO Daniel Ramot said during the Israel Tech Meetup yesterday. “We think we can use it to power a more efficient public transit system, replacing the big buses with multiple stops. In our talks with potential partners, we start to see cities transition from ‘oh, this is a cute idea,’ to ‘oh, this is how it’s going to be.’”
The company currently provides affordable ridesharing services, similar to UberPool, in New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. As opposed to Uber, Via focuses on shared, shuttle-like services, with a $5 flat rate, excluding tax, in New York, and a $2.95 in D.C. The drivers are compensated on hourly basis.
Via completes “about a quarter of a million” rides a week, Ramot said, and is at 30% of Uber’s marketshare in Manhattan area – Via’s main market.
“We are in midst of once-in-a-generation transformation in transportation, and we believe there is a massive transition from private, human-operated vehicles to shared, on-demand electric, and, in the future, autonomous public transportation,” he said. The overall vision, he added, is for Via to be the operating system on which the driverless electric shuttles will run.
Launched in 2012, the on-demand transit company raised $100 million in Series C funding in May last year. The funding was led by Pitango Growth, and brought Via’s total funding to $137 million.
Watch CEO Daniel Ramot talk about Via’s vision.
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