Student transport startup Zūm expands its platform with 10,000 electric vehicles – TechCrunch


To the, a startup that provides optimized transportation services for school-age children, has announced the completion of a Series D raise of $ 130 million, bringing total funding to more than $ 200 million. The company intends to use the funds to add 10,000 new EVs to its platform, with the ultimate goal of being 100% EV by 2025.

In anticipation of a large number of batteries being parked during off-peak hours, Zūm recently partnered with AutoGrid, a provider of energy management and distribution software, to turn its fleet into a huge virtual power plant that returns energy to the grid.

Series D funding, led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 with the participation of existing investors such as Sequoia and BMW i Ventures, comes just months after Zūm won a $ 150 million contract to modernize the San Francisco Unified School District ( SFUSD) transport has received service. According to the company, Zūm hopes to be able to use the capital for further expansion into new markets and districts.

School transport has not changed much in the last century, although it is often referred to as the largest mass transit system in the country. More than 26 million children in the US ride the bus every day, and it’s probably still an outdated yellow bus that pours out diesel fuel while traveling on inefficient, untracked routes. Zūm’s service aims to bring this system through to 2021 and beyond by distributing buses, vans and cars in school districts in a way that saves transit time and accommodates students with special needs, as well as using the advanced fleet management program for Optimizing logistics.

“We started as a company where parents could directly schedule trips for their children, but we knew there was a way to build on our success and extend our services to the whole system,” CEO and co-founder Ritu Narayan said in a statement . “Today we are taking a big step forward in solving the systemic problems that plagued school traffic. We are modernizing the entire system because we believe that schools, parents, children and drivers deserve better. “

Transportation is one of the largest costs in a school district. By correcting inefficiencies like detours and rigid schedules, Zūm has saved school districts like SF an average of $ 3 million a year, according to the company. It has worked with 4,000 schools across California, Seattle, Chicago, and Dallas, and plans to expand its service to 12 states in the coming years, with Washington, DC as its next destination.

“We believe Zūm is using data and technology to modernize school traffic by providing better services, efficiency and sustainability – while making children safer,” said Andrew Straub, investment director at Softbank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “We are impressed with the immediate impact Zūm has had on school districts that have deployed its service across their school network over the past year, including significant cost savings.”

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