Daimler has thrown its weight behind US mobility startup Via to roll out its ride-sharing service across Europe.
The venture included a $50m (£38.6m) investment from Daimler, and will see Mercedes-Benz’s van division in charge of vehicle fleets. Via will provide the software running its “on-demand shuttle service”.
The first European launch through the partnership will be in London, which it is due to do later this year, while the venture’s headquarters will be in Amsterdam. Via currently offers rides in New York, Chicago and Washington in the US.
A joint statement said: “The intelligent Via algorithm supports smart public transport,
enabling a dynamic mass transit system that reduces traffic volume in urban areas. The fusion of Via’s technology with the engineering of Mercedes-Benz Vans creates the perfect match for efficient, affordable and sustainable ride-sharing.”
Daimler’s Mobility Services arm, which will join Via as a “strategic investor”, already operates hailing app MyTaxi and car club car2go across North America and continental Europe. The partnership with Via is the group’s second attempt to a shared mobility foray in the UK, after car2go withdrew from the UK in 2014, due to operational challenges.
In the statement, Via also voiced the intention to licence its software beyond its proprietary venture to public and commercial transport companies. In Paris, a service called PLUS by Via launched earlier this year as a result of collaboration with cab company LeCab and public transit operator Keolis.
In related news, Tallin, Estonia-based ride company Taxify launched in London last Monday, after a campaign promising cheaper fares and better driver fees compared to Uber. The company has previously operated across Eastern Europe, Africa and Mexico.