ZÅ«m, a startup that provides optimized transportation services for school-aged children, has announced the closing of a $ 130 million Series D fundraiser, bringing its total funding to more than $ 200 million. The company intends to use the funds to add 10,000 new electric vehicles to its platform with the ultimate goal of reaching 100% electric vehicles by 2025.
In anticipation of having a large number of batteries parked during off-peak hours, ZÅ«m recently partnered with AutoGrid, which provides power management and distribution software, to turn its fleet into a giant virtual power plant that gives back energy to the grid.
D-Series funding, led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 with participation from existing investors including Sequoia and BMW i Ventures, comes just months after ZÅ«m was awarded a $ 150 million contract to modernize the district’s transportation San Francisco Unified School (SFUSD). service. ZÅ«m also hopes to use the capital to expand further into new markets and neighborhoods, according to the company.
School transportation has not changed much over the past century, despite being often considered the largest public transportation system in the country. More … than 26 million children in the United States, take the bus every day, and it’s probably still an outdated yellow bus spitting out diesel fuel as it travels on inefficient, untracked routes. ZÅ«m’s service aims to bring this system to 2021 and beyond by distributing buses, vans and cars to school districts in a way that reduces transit time and cater for students with special needs, as well. than to use its advanced fleet management program to optimize logistics.
âWe started out as a business allowing parents to directly plan races for their children, but we knew there was an opportunity to build on our success and expand our services system-wide,â said CEO and co-founder Ritu Narayan said in a statement. . âToday, we are taking a big step forward in addressing the systemic issues plaguing school transportation. We are modernizing the whole system because we believe that schools, parents, children and drivers all deserve better.
Transportation is one of the biggest costs of a school district. By correcting inefficiencies such as alternative routes and rigid schedules, ZÅ«m was able to save school districts like SFUSD $ 3 million per year on average, according to the company. It has already worked with 4,000 schools across California, Seattle, Chicago and Dallas, and plans to expand its service to 12 states over the next several years, with an eye on Washington, DC as the next target.
âUsing data and technology, we believe ZÅ«m is modernizing school transportation by delivering better services, better efficiency and better sustainability – while increasing the safety of children,â said Andrew Straub, Director of Investments at Softbank Investment Advisers, in a press release. âWe are impressed with the immediate impact ZÅ«m has had on school districts that have rolled out its service throughout their school network over the past year, including significant cost savings. “