SOUTH AFRICA – Mobility startup WhereIsMyTransport, has raised a US$7.5 million funding round from investors including Google and Toyota for further global expansion.

Formed in 2016, WhereIsMyTransport is a big data platform for sustainable mobility in emerging markets, which connects and collects data and integrates this information on its open data platform.

Its products are used by cities to coordinate and monitor services, operators to integrate their systems, and passengers, who access the platform through apps and endpoints connected to the WhereIsMyTransport platform.

The startup secured two funding rounds back in 2017 and a further US$1.85 million early last year and has now raised a US$7.5 million Series A funding round.

The investment is led by Liil Ventures, and also includes existing investors Global Innovation Fund and Goodwell Investments, as well as Google, Nedbank, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC).

WhereIsMyTransport, which launched operations in Africa but has since expanded to India, Southeast Asia and Latin America, will use the funding to extend its global reach, scale its data collection practice, and develop new technology to translate complex data into useful information for commuters.

“We make the invisible visible, by collecting all kinds of data related to public transport and turning the data into information that can be shared with the people who need it most,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Devin de Vries.

“In emerging markets, the mobility ecosystem is complex; informal public transport doesn’t behave like formal public transport.

“Data and technology solutions that work well in London or San Francisco wouldn’t make anything like the same impact, if any at all, in the cities where we work. Our solutions are designed specifically to overcome these contextual challenges.”

Masato Yamanami, Automotive Division CEO at TTC, said his company was pleased to have the opportunity to invest in WhereIsMyTransport’s Series A round.

“Our division’s global network, that covers 146 countries, is primarily focused on new emerging countries where people rely on informal public transport.

“Through strategic collaboration with WhereIsMyTransport, we will establish better and more efficient mobility services that help to resolve social challenges and contribute to the overall economic development of nations, primarily emerging nations,” he said

.Alix Peterson Zwane, Chief Executive Officer of Global Innovation Fund, said: “Informal and often unreliable mass transit is a significant problem that disproportionately affects poor people.

“We are excited to continue to work with WhereIsMyTransport to make mass transportation in emerging cities more accessible and more efficient.”

With more than 750,000 km of routes in 39 cities, WhereIsMyTransport has more mobility data in emerging markets than any other organisation.

The company’s integrated mobility hub translates formal and informal public transport data into information for citizens, governments, and third parties.