Ashton Kutcher invests in Israeli transit app

November 3, 2015  

Moovit, an Israel-based public transit app serving over 700 cities worldwide, on Tuesday secured a new investment from Sound Ventures, a VC firm founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary, the Globes financial newspaper reported.

Moovit offers real-time public transit information and GPS navigation for buses, trolleybuses, trams and trains, rapid transit and ferries.

Users of the app can access a live map and view nearby stops and stations based on their current GPS location, as well as plan trips across transportation modes based on real-time data.

Moovit, which is free on iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone, is available across more than 500 cities around the world including New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Toronto, and Tel Aviv.

The app is edited by Tranzmate Ltd., a company founded in 2012 in Israel by Nir Erez, Roy Bick, and Yaron Evron.

According to the Globes report, Moovit will use the funding from the new investors to accelerate its growth in developing markets like India and China. The transit app uses crowdsourced data to fill in the gaps from the static information provided by local authorities, which is especially beneficial in cities that do not have “readily available public transit data” like Bangalore, noted the newspapers.

The company hopes to launch its services in three more Indian cities and four Chinese cities: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing.

“We’re extremely proud to have Sound Ventures behind us as we continue to grow rapidly,” Erez said Tuesday.

“Investments like these help us to bring more public transit options to markets in need, like India and China, as well as to continue to strengthen our active community of editors around the world,” he added.

Sound Ventures, launched in March 2015 at South by Southwest in Austin, is the successor to Kutcher and Oseary’s previous venture, A-Grade Investments. The American actor and the Israeli-American talent manager — notably representing Madonna and U2 – have invested in a series of successful startups, including Airbnb, Uber, Spotify, and Fundbox.

“At Sound Ventures we’re on the hunt for hyper growth companies that are not only heading for greatness in size but that are also tackling real world issues,” Kutcher was quoted by Globes as having said.

“Moovit’s mission to make public transport a first choice for people across the globe, cutting back on individual car usage and making cities smarter, sits well with our vision to invest in game changers. We’re very excited to help Moovit on its journey to build a more eco friendly way to navigate our cities worldwide,” he added.

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