Carpooling startup gets major backing

Via, a startup focused on carpooling, has raised a reported $250m during its latest round of funding to expand outside of the US according to www.techcrunch.com.

Via – which offers a shuttle-based carpooling service directly in the US for a flat-rate starting at $5, as well as through platform partnerships with other transportation providers – has raised what it is describing as a ‘strategic investment’ led by German automaker Daimler to expand into Europe. Alongside this, Daimler’s Mercedes Benz division is investing $50m into a joint venture with the start-up. The full amount of funding has not been disclosed, but is believed it to worth $250 million.

The sizeable funding underscores ongoing momentum in the transportation industry to build more tech-based solutions, updating outmoded legacy infrastructure with more efficient services that can meet the new demand for on-demand.

‘On-demand ride-sharing offers many new ways of making city traffic efficient, needs-based and sustainable – especially when it involves the use of spacious, safe and comfortable vans,’ said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans in a statement. ‘Via is one of the most successful providers in the growing ride-sharing sector while Mercedes-Benz Vans has the perfect vehicles that are being continuously optimised for this job. By deepening our cooperation with Via, we are thus taking the next logical step in the context of our strategy for the future and are expanding our range of new mobility services.’