Waze, deja vu? Moovit Israel raises $28M
Having launched successfully in Israel and other countries, Israeli startup Moovit, developer of crowdsourcing public transport apps is expected to use the enormous budget to reach out to more markets around the world
Israeli startup Moovit, developer of an app for public transit information, announced today the completion of a huge funding round totaling $28M. The round was led by Sequoia Capital with participation by previous investors Gemini Israel and BRM Group. This is the second financing round of the company after a $3.5M seed round was raised in April of 2012. The current financing round brings the total funds raised by the company to $31.5M.
Moovit was founded in 2012 by Nir Erez, Yaron Evron and Roy Bick. The company’s offices are located in Nes Ziona, Israel where they employ approximately 30 people. Moovit is expected to invest much of the capital in expanding to other markets such as Asia, where public transportation is far more prevalent and where Moovit can be for the public transit system what Waze is for private drivers in the US and other western countries.
The Waze of public transport
Moovit (formerly TranzMate) is perhaps the most prominent application to have access to government databases in the country. The location-based crowdsourcing public transit app helps users navigate themselves on public transport. Similar to a variety of sites (such as Otobusim.com), which operated before the advent of the app market and which were based on the information provided by the various transportation agencies., Moovit is also a kind of aggregator of all the websites from the public transport companies of its host countries.
Simply by searching based on current location or through a manual input of a desired location, users can see the relevant bus stops in their area and the expected arrival times of various bus lines in real-time. Users can also set up a ‘private tour’ and get around on buses and trains, taking into account the schedules of the various transit sources. The added value that comes with the app stems from the combination of transport schedules with crowdsourced geo-location based information of other users currently on or waiting for public transport. The result is the ability to offer Moovit users actual arrival times based on real-time monitoring of other uses on the same route, rather than simply reading off a scheduled arrival time that might be far from accurate depending on traffic or other delays.
The biggest challenge faced by Moovit stems from the enormous diversity of informational sources that the company needs to deal with and present to users via the medium of a simple, user friendly app interface. Moovit has to collate information from users as well as from e-Government sites and a large number of transit agencies around the world. CEO of Moovit, Nir Erez, said in an interview to The Next Web that the company has developed an automated system for processing data into a format that the app is able to understand. The company says that as of today, the number of the Moovit app users exceeds 3 million, and that the app currently works across 100 major metropolitan areas and 2,000 public transit agencies around the world.
Moovit recently released a revamped user interface design for the iPhone and Android.