Vancouver’s Spare has raised a $18 million Series A round led by Inovia Capital for its mobility software for collective transportation.
Spare will use the investment to further develop its mobility operating system, an all-in-one solution that allows transportation providers to efficiently manage their on-demand operations, including fleets, drivers and bookings.
Lead investor Inovia Capital sees Spare’s ability to create a platform that can be used by any transportation provider as a significant opportunity to bridge the private-public divide and change the landscape of mobility.
“COVID-19 really taught us that the scheduled, fixed-route transit model isn’t always the answer. At the height of the pandemic, as transit agencies cut back on fixed-routes due to declining ridership, our on-demand technology helped them maintain vital service as they rebuilt. Looking towards the future, our operating system will bring a lot of flexibility to the shared mobility landscape, which is good for riders, providers and the planet,” says Spare CEO & cofounder Kristoffer Vik Hansen.
“People shouldn’t have to choose between convenience, availability and sustainability. By allowing riders to seamlessly transition from an on-demand shuttle to a fixed-route rapid bus to a pooled ride sharing via one ecosystem that brings together multiple providers on the back-end, they can have all three. That’s our vision for creating a delightful rider experience.”
Thanks to Spare’s highly-automated platform, this vision is well on its way.
The startup has revolutionized how mobility startups and transit agencies run their businesses. Its toolkit, which includes data-driven transit planning, analytics dashboards and a purpose-built customer relationship management hub, enables anyone to operate an efficient on-demand mobility service.
By optimizing their operations — from routing and driver scheduling to fleet management and service planning — transportation providers can better focus on addressing some of the most pressing mobility challenges facing cities today such as first-and-last-mile transportation and transit deserts.
Spare, whose clients include Dallas Area Rapid Transit and ride sharing start-up Earth Rides, is at the forefront of several ideas in the industry. It invented on-demand commingling, which lets mobility providers consolidate different service categories onto the same fleet, improving passengers-per-vehicle-hour and cost per trip. For example, a transit agency can use the excess capacity on its paratransit fleet to launch a microtransit service for the general public.
It also pioneered automated trip brokering and dispatching. While historically transit agencies have used third-party operators to deliver service to riders through manual dispatching, Spare can broker those trips automatically and in real time based on supply and demand, thereby increasing availability, reducing wait times and removing the onus on transit providers to do this work themselves.
In order to make this vision come to life, Spare will be scaling up its team across all departments, with a special focus on research and development and growth.
Spare was founded by UBC alumni Josh Andrews, Alexey Indeev and Vik Hansen, who originally worked on a ride hailing app that matched commuting drivers with passengers willing to carpool.
The oversubscribed funding round also included Kensington Capital, Link VC, Ramen VC, Ridge Ventures, TransLink Capital and Japan Airlines (as JAL Innovation Fund) and Nicola Wealth.
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