Moovit closes $28 million funding round to boost public transportation data

Moovit, the public transportation app that uses Waze-like crowdsourced data to give users accurate readings on their morning commute, has closed a $28 million funding round, led by Sequoia Capital, to make better use of the data it has collected on public transportation systems across more than 100 cities.

Moovit_New“If you think about what we’re doing today, we’re generating a huge amount of crowd data, up to half a billion reports per month,” Nir Erez, Co-founder and CEO of Moovit, told Gigaom. “This data is only partially used, and we want to provide as much comprehensive data as we can.”

The round also received participation from existing investors BRM Group and Gemini Israel Ventures. Erez says that Moovit, available for both iPhone(s aapl) and Android(s goog), currently has 3 million users, and has gained significant traction in both Latin America (Brazil, in particular) and Europe. Moovit’s core goal is to enable users to find real-time data about their public transit, finding quicker routes and sussing out the peculiarities of cities’ transport routes. Erex says that the company is not only looking forward to using the data it receives in more meaningful ways, but it also wants to find better ways to help communicate and track data from underground, where real-time isn’t a possibility.

“We’re working now to try and advance our ability to locate the exact location of users while they are using the subway, especially because of the fact that subways are so important,” Erez says. “Moovit provides directions, but there’s a lot of work that we’re doing on different kinds of sensors even if it isn’t an accurate GPS location.”

Since Moovit began its slow roll-out in January 2012, the company has garnered enough of a user base in areas like Rio De Janiero and Sao Paolo for the company to actually work with municipalities, providing user data for public transportation. Erez says that he’s looking to help cities provide more significant data — especially in Brazil, where both the World Cup and the Olympics will occur. With better data and better relationships with local government, Erez adds that it will lead to a better experience for the commuter.

“It should be something that our users should be proud of — it’s a cycle of giving back,” Erez said. “For us, the number one priority is to make our users happy by providing them the most accurate information.”