Student transportation company Zum announced a hefty $130 million in Series D funding led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. Other investors included Sequoia and BMW i Ventures.
As part of the agreement, Andrew Straub of Softbank Investment Advisers will join Zum’s board of directors.
This funding brings the company to a worth of about $930 million.
Zum said it intends to use the new capital to further its mission of reimagining student transportation, expanding its service across new markets and districts, and adding new electric vehicles (EVs) to its platform. The company previously announced plans to deliver 100% EVs by 2025.
"While nearly everyone in the U.S. has an association with the iconic yellow school bus, student transportation is a problem hidden in plain sight," said Ritu Narayan, CEO and co-founder of Zum. "We have developed the technology to reimagine this industry now, to do it safely, and to do it well. We are honored to have the support to help us take this vision to the next level."
"Using data and technology, we believe Zum is modernizing school transportation by offering better services, efficiency, and sustainability — while increasing safety for children," added Andrew Straub, investment director at Softbank Investment Advisers. "We are impressed with the immediate impact that Zum has made for school districts who have deployed its service across their entire network of schools over the past year, including significant cost savings."
Zum previously launched a Net Zero initiative in an attempt to reduce the 8.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) that diesel school buses emit annually. With this initiative, the company also announced a partnership with AutoGrid to pilot a program with Zum's electric buses and AutoGrid's Virtual Power Plant technology.
The new investment by Softbank will support Zum’s plans to expand to 10,000 EVs on its platform, putting the company on track to achieve its 100% EV by 2025 goal earlier than originally anticipated.
Zum already has worked with 4,000 U.S. schools across four states, and plans to expand service to 12 states. The company signed multi-year contracts with two of the largest school districts in California, San Francisco Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District. Through these two districts alone, Zum says its has increased its total contract value by 10x.
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