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Startup Optibus Raises $40M for Mass Transit Planning SaaS

Optibus’ Series B financing, led by Insight Venture Partners, will allow the company to expand into new markets, hone its AI tools for planning mass transit schedules and develop a new product.

A little more than a year after closing a $12 million Series A, transportation optimization software company Optibus announced this week that its Series B financing round finished at $40 million, which will afford product improvements and market expansion.

The lead investor was Insight Venture Partners, with a strategic investment by Alibaba Group. Other investors included Verizon Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, New Era Capital and Sir Ronald Cohen.

Launched in 2015, the Israeli company’s software-as-a-service platform uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to schedule or anticipate the movements of every vehicle and driver in a transportation network, providing detailed information on operations, timeliness and costs. A news release said more than 300 cities worldwide have adopted the platform, including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.

According to Optibus’ website, sales after last year’s Series A grew by 400 percent as the company expanded in North America and Europe. With the latest influx of cash, Optibus said it will improve its platform to suit more cities and broaden its use of AI. Specifically, while Optibus’ current AI has made surveys and data collection obsolete for some clients, the company intends to refine its technology to improve planning and scheduling decisions and generally make government customers more agile and data-driven.

The Series B windfall will also go toward a new product to help public transportation “adapt to passenger demand.”

“Every city on the globe runs a multi-million to multi-billion dollar mass transit service, yet the operations rely on outdated software and manual practices to plan, optimize and run transportation,” said Optibus co-founder and CEO Amos Haggiag in the statement. “This wastes resources and delivers poor passenger service. On the other hand, rapid innovations in urban mobility are pushing transportation providers to modernize, and Optibus creates the technology infrastructure that can ensure better performance from the passenger's point of view.”