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Transit tech unicorn Optibus gears up for London growth with £80m raise

Optibus

Israeli transport tech firm Optibus is gearing up for a major move into London after a fresh capital injection of $100m (£80.2m), which pushed the company into unicorn status with a $1.3bn valuation.

Founded in 2014, Optibus uses AI and automation technology to support the optimisation of transportation routes for mass city transit.

The company’s CEO said in a recent interview that London was the next key step in fuelling Optibus’s growth as the city looks at modernising its bus services.

“London currently has very few electric buses at less than 10 per cent, but it is growing fast to a hundred per cent in the next 10 years or so,” Optibus boss Amos Haggiag told City A.M.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said last year that Transport for London will be transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2034, with electric buses already starting to be deployed.

Haggiag said that with the increased use of electric vehicles in the city, efficiency among drivers will be key to preserving vehicle charging capacity.

“Electrification will become a huge issue in the next 10 years or so, and there is already an issue with charging capacity, so firms have to do it smartly and ensure drivers are charging at the right time and right place,” Haggiag said.

Haggiag believes Optibus’s automated bus scheduling tech will increase driver efficiency by indicating the ideal locations to charge vehicles at any given time.

Optibus’s Series D funding round included backing from China’s Tencent, Insight Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Verizon Ventures, Pitango First & Pitango Growth, and SOMV Momentum.

The Series D round brings the total amount of funding raised by the company up to $260m (£208m).

Since surpassing the $1bn valuation mark, Optibus now claims to be the world’s first unicorn operating within the public transportation tech space.

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