An oversubscribed $ 18 million Series A will help Spare further develop its mobility software platform for transit, ridesharing and other shared transportation.
The Vancouver-based software startup hopes its platform will encourage better cooperation between different transportation providers, increased access to cost-effective shared rides, and see more people opting for public transit.
“Spare is building the operating system for the future of mobility.”
Inovia Capital led the funding round with participation from Kensington Capital, Link VC, Ramen VC, Ridge Ventures, TransLink Capital and Japan Airlines (as JAL Innovation
Fund) and Nicola Wealth, among others.
The round ended on November 3, and with the current round Spare has raised $ 25 million to date. Spare is also supported by Mitsubishi Corporation.
“Spare is building the operating system for the future of mobility,” said Todd Simpson, partner at Inovia. “His vision of how public and private transportation providers should be able to work together without technological barriers to deliver a more positive and equitable shared transportation experience to people around the world has truly touched us and we’re excited to see them grow. “
Simpson is joining Share’s board of directors, which Spare CEO Kristoffer Vik Hansen welcomes. Vik Hansen said Simpson brings a lot of experience to help businesses grow, which the start is definitely considering as their plans to grow from just over 50 to double or triple that size by the end. from 2022.
Spare’s platform includes data-driven transit planning, analytical dashboards and a customer relationship management center to help activate on-demand mobility services.
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Spare’s hope is that by making transit operations more efficient, transportation providers can address mobility challenges in today’s cities, such as first and last mile transportation and transit deserts.
Vik Hansen noted that Inovia has been “quite enthusiastic” about how to improve transport efficiency for some time. Inovia has funded travel app startup Hopper, for example, as well as bus ticket retailer Busbud. One of the things Inovia wanted to add to its portfolio was a company with a strong thesis around a mobility operating system, which Spare offers, according to Vik Hansen.
Vik Hansen said the pandemic has shown that the fixed, scheduled route transit model is not always the answer. He claimed that at the height of the pandemic, Spare’s on-demand technology helped transport authorities maintain service as they rebuilt themselves amid cuts to fixed routes due to declining l ‘traffic.
“People shouldn’t have to choose between convenience, availability and durability,” said Vik Hansen. “By allowing riders to seamlessly switch from an on-demand shuttle to a fixed-route fast bus to pooled carpooling through an ecosystem that brings together multiple providers on the back-end, they can have all three. “
Spare’s customers number 80 in Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan. In fact, in 2019 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quoted Spare and his Japanese investor Mitsubishi Corporation in a speech he delivered on Canada’s closer collaboration with the Asia-Pacific country.
Trudeau noted Mitsubishi’s C $ 5.8 million investment in Spare and that the two companies, along with a third partner, are testing an on-demand, controlled bus transit service by AI in Fukuoka.
“Through this collaboration, Spare and Mitsubishi Corporation will be well positioned for significant growth in the multi-billion dollar market for next-generation shared mobility services in Japan,” Trudeau said at the time.
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Spare offers different approaches to public transport. For example, she uses a concept she dubbed “commingling”, which allows a public transit company to use the excess capacity of its paratransit fleet to launch a microtransit service for the general public.
The Cheyenne Transit Program in Wyoming, the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority near Boston, and Citibus in Lubbock, TX currently use Spare’s blending service.
In Canada and the United States, a few transportation authorities use Spare’s automated travel brokerage and dispatch.
Historically, transit agencies have used third-party operators to provide transit service through manual dispatch. Spare automates the process in real time based on supply and demand. The startup says the approach increases the availability of public transport and reduces waiting times for passengers.
When it comes to improving public transport, Spare is not alone. In fact, one of his rivals – although Vik Hansen has said they’re actually good friends – is a Montreal-based startup called Transit. In 2018, Transit raised $ 17.5 million in Series B funding.
Transit’s solution enables users to navigate public transport with accurate real-time forecasts, trip planning and step-by-step navigation. The application also integrates other modes of transport such as bike sharing, scooters, carsharing and carpooling. Transit users can request and pay for an Uber ride directly in the app, book carsharing vehicles from multiple providers, purchase bike-sharing passes, and unlock bikes in car-sharing systems. bikes in North America.
Spare started in 2015, originally with the idea of operating their own transportation system. He started a volunteer rideshare platform in 2016, but Vik Hansen said the startup needed to focus on one thing, and Space focused on technology. It coincided with people taking notice of the company’s technology and wondering how they could harness it for their transport agencies.
The next step is to ‘really double down on what we’re good at and keep going.[ing] to really build this operating system, ”Vik Hansen said.
Featured Image by Emile Seguin of Unsplash