Via: The $2.9 Billion Dollar Company Reshaping City Transportation | Forbes

While services like Uber built businesses that compete with cities’ transportation networks, Via sees a lucrative niche catering to—and working with—municipalities.

Daniel Ramot has the kind of marquee education—degrees in math, physics and electrical engineering, capped by a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Stanford—that readies people for careers in science, medicine, tech or AI.

“My mother says, ‘With all this education, you ended up a taxi dispatcher?’ And I always say, ‘No, I’m not. I’m actually a bus dispatcher,’” he jokes. A decade ago, Ramot and longtime friend Oren Shoval, who has a Ph.D. in systems biology, opted to shelve their academic specialties in favor of creating a company aimed at reinventing a deeply unsexy industry: public transportation.

So while Uber burst onto the scene just a few years earlier with the aim of disrupting city transportation, New York-based Via set out to work alongside municipalities and within existing infrastructure. The result: Via now works with cities including Miami, Jersey City, Los Angeles, Winnipeg and Arlington, Texas, providing a software platform for on-demand “microtransit” van rides, paratransit services, route-planning, driver scheduling, smartphone apps and other tools that can help beleaguered urban transit systems lure commuters back. The company’s client list includes more than 500 transportation agencies in 35 countries, and its software powers ride services for the elderly, people with limited mobility, schools and colleges and vanpools for corporate customers.

The closely held company has raised $650 million, including $60 million in March, from industrial giants like Shell and Ferrari parent Exor, along with numerous venture funds. (Porsche is also an indirect investor through Via’s acquisition of Fleetonomy.) It is now worth $2.9 billion, according to Pitchbook. Annual revenue was $225 million in 2019, the only year for which data is available, Pitchbook says. The vast majority of that is from transit agencies and municipal governments, according to Ramot.

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Comment (97)

  1. Incredible person reading this, go after what it is that you want in life! Learn the skills, do whatever it takes! You are capable of anything! I believe in you! ✨
    Love – Nat ❤️

  2. This company is worth 2.9 billion? They don't even really know what they do. So its a private company getting into a saturated market but somehow as a private company they're going to serve municipal public transportation riders as customers? Even though public transit is subsidized and has cheaper customers… So somehow they're going to corner a public market that already has to be subsidized to exist, and somehow they're going to make money on it? Doesn't add up. Something weird with this company. Seems like they're just trying to wedge their private bullshit into a public market and take govt handouts to stay afloat. SKIP this company.

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  5. Lol many countries already been on this type of transport system. In Ghana is known as tro-tro, and as Danfo in Nigeria i believe. Via is basically the digital age version of these transport system, whereby instead of one going to these pickup point/station and waiting to board these mini bus/vans and sometimes not been able to get on these buses because its full, now the person can just book a ride on an app before heading out, knowing they have a seat reserved for them. Just like ubers ride sharing concept, was similar to many of these African taxi system whereby multiple people traveling alongside the same route are able to utilize the same taxi/car. Anyways all the best to Via for seeing the opportunity and acting fast on it 👍🏽👍🏽. Maybe they can also partner with ma Jamaicans already running these dollar vans, just a suggestion.

  6. There is nothing new about this concept. Many countries (big cities) rely on this services for many decades now. For example any big city in India, Cairo, istanbul (Dolmus Bus), and more. Its like me trying to sell you the idea for a new way of food delivery via bicycles, where you can track nearby cyclists and their stock of food, so you can get your food even faster than using other delivery services.

  7. The way ppl on public transit treat bus drivers I’ll say no thank you. Via driver is just waiting to be assaulted or spit on or some other shenanigans. Nightmare. Unless they offer a barrier between driver and passenger with zero interaction this will be a huge liability waiting to happen. Especially in todays climate when most big cities are teeming with hypersensitive ppl living on the brink of being triggered by something small. Provide a solution to protect ur drivers from these animals. Then we can talk.

  8. This system is already heavily used on many college campuses…nothing new here except expanding it to the city itself. University of Florida has the free SNAP vans from 6pm-3am.

  9. If you're looking to work for Via IMHO DO NOT DO IT. They make you rent their vans at a per hour cost which is not terrible idea however they charge you BEFORE your hourly time starts. Which means you're already in the hole BEFORE you're even paid since you have to go to a terminal or get a task before your clock starts.

    Need to fill up your tank? Once again that's on YOUR TIME so your rental meter still running while they request you spend your non paid breaks on filling THEIR vans.

    Heading back at end of the day you can't stop work until there's no more tasks in your queue. If you're 15 minutes away and your shift ends yep… Your pay is stopped but your rental continues. You might spend 10 minutes cleaning and taking photos so that's even less time. They say you can call support to adjust but it's 50/50.

    Ive never seen IMHO a more dubious payment method which also IMHO seems very shady. I couldn't take the nickel and diming and the others drivers at least in my market are getting fed up with their business practices. They talk a good game but once you experience it you keep wondering how is it legal.


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