The German giant Mercedes-Benz expanding its cooperation with Israeli startup Via Transportation. The two companies working together since 2015, will launch a new carpooling service in London later this year.
Via was founded in 2012 by Dr. Daniel Ramot, who holds a PhD in neuroscience from Stanford University, and Dr. Oren Shoval, who holds a doctorate in biology from the Weizmann Institute. Both are graduates of the Israeli Air Force Talpiot program.
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Daimler and Via are setting up a jointly owned company that will operate dynamic transportation services across Europe using Via’s technology. In addition, the new company will offer transportation to local authorities in Europe to streamline their transport systems through Via’s operating system. The new service will receive a $50 million investment from the Daimler Mercedes. Via plans to raise a total of $200 million for the expansion.
Also participating in the round were Hearst Media, Pitango Growth, 83North, Poalim Capital Markets and Roman Abramovich.
In the first city, London, the Israeli transportation company expects fierce competition from both Uber and the Israeli Gett, of which London is one of their main center of activity. In a conversation with Calcalist, one of VIA’s founders and development manager, Oren Shoval, said that the company is not ruling out raising additional investors for its European venture. “We want to operate in two models: the first is to operate shuttle services like ourselves in New York and the second model is similar to what is currently operating in England and France, where we cooperate with companies or cities that operate our technology,” Shoval explained.
In a conversation with Calcalist, ViaIA’s co-founder and development manager, Oren Shoval, said that the company is not ruling out raising additional investors for its European venture. “We want to operate in two models: the first is to operate shuttle services like we already have in New York and the second model is similar to what is currently operating in England and France, where we cooperate with companies or cities that operate our technology,” Shoval explained.
“Our solution works in very large cities like New York and smaller cities like Chicago and even very small places. It works everywhere. Daimler understands that this is the direction of future transportation, and I think Germany will have many opportunities to operate our transportation systems,” Shoval added. “In the future, we will be able to see cars mainly from Mercedes commercial which will integrate our technology into their cars.” In addition, Shoval predicted that Via technologies will be integrated into electric and autonomous vehicles.
According to Shoval, the fundraising will enable the company to invest considerable resources in promoting and developing its technology platform and recruiting dozens of developers in the fields of software, big data, product and Algorithmics in the coming months.
The company has about 200 employees, half of them in Israel and the rest of Europe and the US.
“There is a very big competition between Israeli and international companies on the point-to-point transportation market,” says Shoval, referring to the competition against the Israeli Gett and the rest of the transport companies in Europe. “We are the first to recognize the competition a few years ago and we have more surprises in the sleeve.”
“We are pleased that Daimler and Mercedes-Benz and Vance join us as investors and strategic partners. The combination of VIA’s unique technology with the exceptional design and engineering expertise of the Mercedes-Benz Vance is ideal for realizing our vision of providing efficient, affordable, ecological and convenient collaborative travel anywhere, “said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via.