Via offers SUV rides to groups of passengers with compatible destinations in New York City. Passengers request a ride through an app, then wait less than 10 minutes to get picked up. If necessary, the Via algorithm might reroute the vehicle to a more direct path to the rider’s destination. The ride costs five bucks (if prepaid).
The service apparently works well enough. Now Via wants to expand into new markets and it’s taken in some fresh VC money to do it. The new $27 million round was led by Pitango Venture Capital, with Hearst Ventures, Ervington Investments, and 83North throwing in.
More specifically, Via will use the new financing to accelerate product development and hire new people.
The new funds bring Via’s total investment to $37 million.
“Our goal is to transform public transit from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network,” Via said in a statement. “We believe the future of urban transit systems will rely on dynamic technology like ours to make it easier and more efficient to get around town, and after operating a very successful service in New York City, we are excited to use this infusion of capital to provide new services and roll out to new markets very rapidly.”
Via says it’s now providing New Yorkers with “tens of thousands of rides per week” and has provided over 300,000 shared rides in total. The service has 40,000 members, 90 percent of whom have come through word-of-mouth referrals, the company says.
Via launched in New York City in September 2013.