Moovit raises $50M to ease the burden of public transit

Steven Loeb · January 14, 2015 · Short URL:

Moovit is an app that crowdsources information about public transit to make commuting faster

I grew up in New York City and there is one thing I can tell you: even in the best cities, public transportation is terrible. Even when I go back to visit on my one-time-a-year annual holiday visits, I remember exactly why I absolutely loathe the MTA. 

Part of the problem is that information about delays and which trains and buses are moving the best. That is where Moovit comes in. The company is basically the Waze for public transportation, using crowdsourced data to give users accurate public transit information. 

This is an idea that is pretty popular, as evidenced by the company having just raised a $50 million Series C round of funding from Bernard Arnault Group, BRM Capital, BMW i Ventures, Gemini Partners, Keolis, Nokia Growth Partners, Sequoia Capital, Vintage Investment Partners and Vaizra Investments.

Moovit has previously raised two rounds a $3.5 million Series A from BRM Capital and Gemini Partners, and a $28 million Series B from Gemini Partners and Sequoia Capital. This latest round brings its total funding to $81.5 million.

The new funding will go toward global expansion, Alex Torres, VP of Global Marketing at Moovit, told me.

'We’re ramping up our global efforts, including having recently opened a marketing headquarter in San Francisco. Key markets for us include the U.S., the U.K., South East Asia, Germany, Mexico, and Latin America," he said. The company is said to be looking to expand into the Asia Pacific region.

Here’s how Moovit works: you open the app and enter your destination to get the quickest route and an estimated time of arrival. You can also find out when your bus or train is scheduled to arrive at your stop. Next, you hop on the bus or subway or BART and leave the app open, allowing Moovit to gather data for other travelers.

The app is currently used by 15 million people, and it is growing fast, with over 2 million users in less than two months, Torres told me. It currently operates in 500 cities, in 45 countries and in 31 different languages.

The idea behind Moovit is to simplify the sometimes arduous task getting around cities on public transportation.

Moovit is used by "the average person who wants to get from point A to point B with their family and doesn't how to make Google Maps work, or thinks it’s too complicated," he said. "It is used the local who’s tired of the inaccuracies of his/her local transportation apps. Or the multi city traveler who doesn’t want to have 20 million different apps for every separate city."

The obvious comparison for Moovit is Waze, the crowdsourced traffic information app that was acquired by Google for $1.1 billion last year. Both use crowdsourced data to help commuters, with the main difference between them being, of course, Waze focuses on drivers, while Moovit puts its attention on public transit.

It should be noted that Uri Levine, the founder of Waze, is currently sitting on the board of directors at Moovit. 

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