Tonight we’re painting the town green. We have a mighty good reason. We’re living in the golden age of urban transport — and our company Transit just raised $17.5M to be its platform.
First off, formalities. Our lead investor is Alliance Ventures, a joint investment arm of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. Christian Noske from Alliance will be joining our board. Christian, you’ve been following Transit since our company was an itty-bitty startup. We’re thrilled to (literally) have you on board. Joining Alliance are the folks at InMotion Ventures, along with some of our past investors: Accel and Real Ventures.
Second off, woah. $17.5M is a lot of money. It will let us double-down on all the projects we’ve been working so hard on: adding deeper integrations to make car-free transport more discoverable, expanding those integrations to more and more services, pushing for more cooperation between modes, and continuing to be the trusted rider platform for our transit agency partners. Maybe we’ll write more posts on Medium, too. Maybe we have a big announcement coming next week. Maybe it will blow your mind. Maybe…
Who are these punks?
Over the last six years Transit has built the best platform for getting from a-to-b without your own car. We started by tackling a simple problem: making it easier to check departure times for buses and trains. Since then, we’ve expanded to 175+ cities, added myriad features, and helped millions of daily users complete billions of trips.
We’ve also expanded Transit’s scope to tackle a much bigger problem:
Can we make car ownership in cities obsolete?
Bus schedules weren’t the answer. But they were a start. While better transit info is proven to boost ridership, it still doesn’t improve transit service on the ground. Which explains why you’ve seen Transit launching so many new partnerships with the people in charge of transit service. We’re now the endorsed app of some of North America’s leading agencies: from Boston to Silicon Valley, Montreal to Baltimore, and dozens of others worldwide.
Transit isn’t just an app anymore.
It’s the one that has cities behind it.
Mobility Gone Wild
It took decades for carsharing to truly catch on. Years for bikesharing. Months for ridehailing. Meanwhile, in 2018, billion dollar e-bike and scooter companies were being minted in weeks. It’s the Wild Wild West out there.
But it’s not just California this time.
It’s the world.
More mobility companies, more mobility options, more reasons to stop wasting our lives in filthy cavalcades of traffic.
We’re close to the point where alternative transport options — combined with transit — can meaningfully compete with cars. But how do we accelerate the shift? How do we pour gas on the tire fire?
The Future of Urban Transportation: monopolies vs. marketplaces
The mobility marketplace is heating up! But in a world where warring mobility companies could turn into warring Mobility Comcasts (where you sign-up to one mobility package, and can only see that company’s mobility channels: their bikes, scooters, cars, etc.) we’re positioning Transit to be your pleasant, neutral Switzerland:
- Find all the channels.
- Pick and choose between them.
- Pay for what you use.
It should be easy to find ALL the mobility services near you, sign-up for ANY of those services, and combine them in a way that results in the cheapest, fastest trip. Today’s mobility options are plentiful, but they’re far too siloed. They make it needlessly hard to combine with each other and public transit.
Hence why Transit is fighting for Open APIs. If some mobility operators want to make it painful to compare and combine different services, Transit will act as a counterweight to those monopoly-seeking (and mobility-restricting) tendencies. When other mobility apps push you towards specific operators, Transit will try to push you towards the ones that are actually best.
Often times that “operator” will be your local public transit service. Where micromobility is making fast, car-free commutes possible at short distances, buses and trains are still best for longer trips in the city. By connecting them together, we can improve every a-to-b commute regardless of distance.
One app. All the modes. Letting you combine each, painlessly. And our support for multi-modal commuting is only getting better. Today, Transit is leveling the playing field by integrating smaller, local players — not just global behemoths. For companies large and small, we’re facilitating millions of trips and millions in revenue through deeper integrations.
With more operator and agency partnerships, big things are set to come.
So yeah. We’re taking on cars. And we’re taking car-makers’ money to do it. We didn’t wear a Transformer costume when we pitched our friends at Alliance (Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi) or InMotion Ventures (Jaguar, Land Rover) prior to raising this round — but might have if our delivery man came on time.
The fact that five different car-markers are investing in a company whose explicit goal is to vaporize personal car ownership should be a strong signal a car-free future is coming — and fast. With the backing of several such companies, we can build the aggressively neutral platform that urban mobility needs. One that doesn’t just benefit individual mobility companies, but one that promotes public transit, and aligns private interests with the interests of cities and the people they serve.
The golden age of urban transport is about to reshape our cities.
Let’s ensure people — not vehicles — come first.