German AI-driven mobility startup FlixMobility has raised $531 million in a new funding round, and is now valued at more than $2 billion, according to reports.
The funding amount is the largest for any German outfit so far this year. The company is perhaps best known for its FlixBus network, with its lime green vehicles that offer cost-effective traveling options. The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) and data to figure out the fastest, most economical routes.
The company recently expanded its services to trains, and it brought its bus business to the United States as well. The company is planning to next debut a carpooling service called FlixCars.mm.
“What began in 2013 as a German startup has become a powerful mobility platform that continues to change the way millions of people travel across Europe and the United States,” FlixMobillity CEO and Founder Jochen Engert said.
The company is an example of how startups are taking advantages of data, automation and AI to create new opportunities in the transportation field. FlixMobility is taking advantage of laws that free up bus and tram markets and giving the space competition in a new way.
It does have rivals, however. The company has to go up against state-run services and another startup from France called BlaBlaCar, a carpooling outfit that recently started its own cost-effective bus service.
The two companies rely heavily on data from their user base to help with the planning of routes, matching of drivers and cars and ways to optimize peoples’ plans to get around.
Flixmobility plans to use the carpooling service to help people to get between cities or from one bus route to another. The company is going to launch its services in South America by 2020, and it’s going to broaden its FlixTrain service in the EU.
The funding round was led by equity firms TCV and Permira as well as from legacy investor HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. The European Investment Bank also participated.