The Coronavirus pandemic has had a crippling effect on the global economy, forcing companies around the world to grind to a halt. But even amidst the crisis, the value of some companies still manages to shine through and attract investment. Considerable investment, in this case.
Ridesharing firm Via announced this week that it has raised an impressive nine-figure funding round, crisis be damned. The Series E financing is being led by EXOR, which is pouring $200 million into the company.
The Agnelli family’s holding company, EXOR controls nearly 29 percent of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, almost 27 percent of equipment manufacturer CNH Industrial, and just shy of 23 percent of Ferrari. Exor also owns the majority of Turin soccer team Juventus FC and the Economist Group (the London-based media company behind the noted business magazine). The firm was established nearly a century ago by Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, and its representative Noam Ohana, head of the company’s early-stage investment arm EXOR Seeds, will join Via’s board.
“At this uniquely challenging moment it is more important than ever to work determinedly for the innovative and sustainable future beyond these difficult days,” commented John Elkann, chairman of EXOR, Fiat Chrysler, and Ferrari, and eldest son of Jewish writer Alain Elkann and heiress Margherita Agnelli. “Partnering with Daniel and Oren and their outstanding team to support the development of their powerful problem-solving technology confirms our strong and positive engagement with them and underlines EXOR’s continuing commitment to building great companies for a better tomorrow.”
Joining EXOR in the funding round are new investors Shell, Macquarie Capital, and Mori Building, along with recurring investors Pitango, 83North, Hearst Ventures, Ervington Investments, Planven Ventures, Broadscale Group, and RiverPark Ventures. Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler and the investment arm of Israel’s Bank HaPoalim have also previously invested in the company.
The investment values the company at an impressive $2.25 billion. The total value of the funding round was not disclosed, but has been reported at $400 million – of which EXOR has ostensibly contributed half.
“We are honored to partner with John, Noam, and the EXOR team to help cities provide accessible, affordable, and environmentally-friendly transit to their residents,” said Via co-founders Oren Shoval and Daniel Ramot. “Especially in these difficult times, we greatly value EXOR’s commitment to Via’s vision of a dynamic, data-driven public mobility system that provides more cost-effective and equitable transport to communities everywhere. During this emergency period, we are proud to apply our technology and operational expertise to assist cities with optimizing transit networks, transporting essential workers, and delivering goods and services to individuals in need.”