Via Valued At $2.3 Billion With New Funding
|Via CEO Daniel Ramot.
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On-demand transportation startup Via has been valued at more than $2 billion after an investment from Exor, a Netherlands holdings company controlled by the Agnelli family, a famed Italian business dynasty. Exor has announced an agreement to invest $200 million in Via in exchange for an 8.87% stake on a fully-diluted basis. This implies a valuation of around $2.3 billion, a laudable feat for Via, whose last known funding came in 2017. Under the terms of Exor’s investment, the holdings company is getting a board seat at Via which will be occupied by one of its executives, Noam Ohana. Ohana leads Exor Seeds, the early-stage investment arm of Exor.
The new investment included, Via has now raised around $600 million in total funding. The company’s last known funding was a $250 million investment led by automaker Daimler in late 2017. Via has also raised funding from the likes of Hearst Ventures, 83North, RiverPark Ventures, and Millhouse LLC, an investment firm controlled by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich.
Via as a company was incorporated in 2012 but launched its ride-sharing service a year after. The company was founded by Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, two Israeli entrepreneurs who previously led engineering projects for the Israeli Air Force and both completed PhDs in neuroscience and systems biology from Stanford University. Word has it Via’s inspiration came from Israel, where many people make use of shared vehicles called ‘sheruts’ to cater to fast and cheap transit between places. Via’s business model builds on a similar concept, allowing persons to share rides in their vehicles to earn money and, on the other hand, letting people get rides at cheaper costs compared to fully booking a vehicle.
Via’s services are currently available at more than 70 cities across 20 countries. The company says more than 70 million rides have been facilitated through its platform since its inception. Although Via’s rides are primarily targeted at individual customers, the company is also eyeing a business service that’ll facilitate shared rides primarily for businesses. This isn’t surprising as the likes of Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing apps have such services already. Exor says it’ll share its expertise to help Via expand, particularly with a business service.
Via is headquartered in New York but also maintains offices in Chicago and Tel Aviv, Israel. Its new funding notably comes amid the coronavirus outbreak which has led to enacted movement restrictions and as a result affected the business of on-demand transportation companies of its kind. With the new funding however, Via seems like it’s gained enough strength to weather through the current slowdown.