Via Hails $27M Series B For Ride-Sharing Service
The makers of an app that allows users to request a ride on a shared-car service closed a $27 million Series B round today.
New York-based Via has only operated in Manhattan since September 2013, and it plans to use the funding to bring the service to new markets. The company will also make new hires and develop its product, Via said in a statement.
The app’s algorithm matches passengers who are traveling in the same direction with a ride they can share, allowing the company to charge less per person, Via says. A single ride costs $7, or $5 if it has been prepaid, and it takes 10 minutes on average to get picked up.
Via does enter a crowded market for transportation apps. There are stalwarts like Uber and Lyft, which have serious and deep financial backing and offer some ride-sharing options. Apps like Via and Leap, which charges $6 per ride for a luxury bus service in San Francisco, are a response to those entrenched companies, offering lower costs for shared service.
But the world of transportation apps extends far beyond hailing an on-demand car service. For example, New York-based Tripda is attempting to connect road-trippers with one another to save on costs.
RideScout, an Austin, TX-based business that provides real-time information on transportation including bus and rail service, taxis, and car-sharing services, was purchased last year by Car2Go North America. Car2Go, which offers small vehicles for hourly rental on one-way trips, is a subsidiary of Mercedes Benz-maker Daimler AG.
Pitango Venture Capital, which led Via’s $27 million round, sees a differentiating factor in the startup, in that it hopes the sharing service will reduce the number of cars on the road, Chemi Peres, a managing general partner and co-founder of Pitango, said in a statement. Hearst Ventures, Ervington Investments, and previous investor 83North also participated in the round. The company has raised $37 million total.