Ritu Narayan, founder and CEO of Zum, said the investment "marks a pivotal moment in our journey." - Photo: Zum

Ritu Narayan, founder and CEO of Zum, said the investment "marks a pivotal moment in our journey."

Photo: Zum

Zum, a provider of modern student transportation, announced a $140 million Series E funding round.

This new funding round was led by GIC, a leading global investment firm. Climate Investment, a decarbonization investor, and existing investors including Sequoia and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 also participated in the round, elevating the company’s valuation to $1.3 billion - a significant increase from its previous Series D raise in October 2021. This round brings Zum’s total fundraising to $350 million. 

On a Revolutionary Mission for School Transportation

Zum has sought to transform the student transportation industry through digitization and electrification. Zum has unified parents, students, school administrators and drivers on a single personalized end-to-end technology platform enabling visibility and data-backed accountability for increased safety, reliability, and sustainability for the school districts it serves across the nation in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, and Nashville.

“Zum is on a mission to revolutionize student transportation, moving beyond the status quo towards a future where innovative technologies are used to advance sustainability efforts,” said Ritu Narayan, Zum founder and CEO. “Securing this latest round of funding, especially in a challenging economic climate, is a resounding vote of confidence in our vision and ability to execute. This investment marks a pivotal moment in our journey, empowering us to turn school buses into powerful tools for environmental change.”

Acclerating Technology with Capital Investment

The new capital will be used to accelerate the expansion of Zum’s AI-driven technology platform, a key tool in Zum's effort to fully decarbonize the school bus industry and bolster the fight against climate change. When combined with the deployment of its fully EV school bus fleets, Zum aims to turn the largest battery on wheels - batteries four to six times the size of EV car batteries - into virtual power plants through its advances in Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology.

With Zum’s advanced technology platform it can know when to discharge and recharge EV school buses. School buses that otherwise would sit idle in bus depots can now be put to work during evenings and summers and send energy back to the grid.

“Our investment in Zum highlights GIC’s commitment to funding the transition to net-zero in the real economy,” said Choo Yong Cheen, GIC’s chief investment officer of private equity. “Zum is leading the industry in leveraging technology to create a more modern, sustainable, and safer experience for communities across the US. We are proud to partner with Zum’s impressive leadership team to support their work to transform student transportation, the largest source of mass transit today, into an impactful renewable energy source.”

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