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Exor to Invest $200 million for a 9% Stake in Ride-Hailing Company Via Transportation

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【Summary】New York City-based on-demand and shared transportation provider Via announced it received a $200 million investment from Exor, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family, the business dynasty founded by Giovanni Agnelli, one of the original founders of Italian automaker Fiat.

Eric Walz    Mar 30, 2020 10:40 AM PT
Exor to Invest $200 million for a 9% Stake in Ride-Hailing Company Via Transportation
Via's on-demand and shared ride-hailing service uses an app like Uber.

On demand and shared transportation provider Via announced it received a significant investment from Exor, the holding company of Italy's Agnelli family, the business dynasty founded by Giovanni Agnelli, one of the original founders of Italian automaker Fiat

Exor invested $200 million in New York-based Via for a 9% stake in the growing ride-hailing company.

As part of the investment, Noam Ohana, the head of EXOR Seeds, the investment arm of EXOR, will join Via's Board of Directors. New investors Shell, Macquarie Capital, and Japan's Mori Building also participated in the round.

The investment in Via is the Agnelli familiy's first investment in the tech industry, which is slowly merging with the automotive industry with breakthrough technologies poised to reshape mobility in the future.

The Series E financing round values Via at $2.25 billion.

"We are honored to partner with John, Noam, and the EXOR team to help cities provide accessible, affordable, and environmentally-friendly transit to their residents," said Via co-founders Oren Shoval and Daniel Ramot in a statement. "We greatly value EXOR's commitment to Via's vision of a dynamic, data-driven public mobility system that provides more cost-effective and equitable transport to communities everywhere." 

New York-based Via was founded in 2013. The company bills itself as an alternative to city mass transit, which is often not as convenient for riders. Via offers a dynamic, on-demand network similar to how people hail a ride with Uber. Via allows riders to hail a shared ride with other passengers headed in the same direction directly from the Via smartphone app.

Unlike Uber, where passengers are instructed to wait at a specific pickup spot, Via's platform directs passengers to a nearby corner or "virtual bus stop" within a short walking distance of their location for easier pick up and drop off. 

Via's aim is to reduce urban congestion and emissions while providing a more convenient and lower cost option to city mass transit services.

Via's platform uses advanced algorithms to enable multiple riders to share the same vehicle. Once a customer requests a ride through the Via app, the algorithm finds a nearby vehicle that best matches their route and sends the vehicle to their pickup location. 

The goal of Via's service is to make public transportation in cities more convenient and affordable, similar to how Uber disrupted the aging taxi industry with its ride-hailing model. Via is a close competitor to Uber in some cities where it operates.

Via's ride-hailing service is available in more than 45 major U.S. cities and 20 countries. To date, the Via platform has provided over 70 million rides around the world, including in Europe as ViaVan. 

Via and ViaVan partner with over 100 public transportation agencies, private transit operators, taxi fleets, private companies, school districts, and universities to provide on-demand shared transportation.

The city of Cupertino, California, which is the home of tech giant Apple, launched an on-demand public transit service with Via in October 2019 in an 18-month pilot.

In January this year, Via announced another new ride-hailing deployment in Sacramento, California in partnership with the Sacramento California Regional Transit District. Via says its the largest "micro-transit" service operating in California.

"At this uniquely challenging moment, it is more important than ever to work creatively for a more sustainable future beyond these difficult days," Exor Chairman and Chief Executive John Elkann said in a statement.

Exor's investment in Via is subject to customary antitrust approval. Once approved by regulators, the deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

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