Moovit, the Waze of public transit, rakes in another $50M

The meteoric rise of Waze was a huge success story for the Israeli tech scene, and the country is now aiming to repeat that success with another crowdsourced transportation company – this one focused on public transit rather than individual drivers. Moovit has raised a $50 million Series C round, bringing its total funding to $82 million.

Nokia Growth Partners, BMW i Ventures, Keolis, Bernard Arnault Group, and Vaizra Investments all participated in the round along with existing investors BRM Group, Gemini Partners and Sequoia Capital.

Moovit

Like Waze, Moovit relies on its community of commuters to report on the state of a city’s bus, train, metro and trams systems in real-time. Its iOS, iPhone and Windows apps track users as they navigate the transit system and queries them on specific conditions; for example, how crowded a train car or bus stop is. The techniques it uses are very similar to accident and traffic reporting features on Waze. That not only gives Moovit commuters an idea about delays and possible alternatives to their regular routes, it lets Moovit finely tune its mapping and navigation services for people trying to get where they’re going by public transit.

When we last checked in with Moovit a year ago, it had 3 million members in its crowdsourcing community but in 13 months its grown to 15 million in 500 cities spread through 45 countries.

Uber’s latest experiment is an on-demand moving service

In the ongoing march to its outsized IPO, Uber is trying out yet another delivery product. But this time, instead of bringing you packages or food, the company wants to help you move.

UberCargo, which is being tested in Hong Kong right now, connects people with cargo vans that can help move bigger items, like mattresses and “large pets.” It can also be used like a taxi service for people traveling with big gear, such as surfers or bands. It’s not clear from Uber’s post why it picked Hong Kong as its testing ground, or when the option might roll out to other locations (I’ve reached out to the company for clarification and will update this when I hear back).

The fee will depend on both time and distance and loading time will be included. In Hong Kong, the base fare will be US$2.58 ($20 Hong Kong dollars), with additional per minute and per mile costs. Check out the breakdown here. You can ask the driver for help with that part, although their assistance doesn’t sound guaranteed from Uber’s blog post.

This isn’t the first of Uber’s delivery experiments. Part of the reason it has a $40 billion valuation is because it plans to transform urban logistics; it won’t be content with just changing the nature of the taxi industry. It’s testing couriers in New York City for letters and smaller packages, drivers in Los Angeles for food delivery, and corner store delivery in Washington D.C.

But Uber-for-moving may be the most helpful product yet. It opens up a ton of opportunities for the carless: Lugging stuff home from Ikea, purchasing items off Craigslist, traveling with hefty equipment. Farewell, expensive moving services and unwieldy U-hauls — you can stick with the family with far more stuff than the average single city-dweller. And good luck to the many on-demand moving apps that have formed in recent months. With Uber as a competitor, it will be a tough fight.

UberCargo could be the most useful thing for the carless urban dweller since … well … Uber itself.

Assuming its vans aren’t too creepy, of course. Twitter, for its part, has wasted no time in imagining the dystopian future of UberCargo:

Uber hit with French “deceptive practices” fine and UK tax complaint

Uber keeps getting disrupted by European laws. On top of those recent Dutch driver arrests, the U.S. quasi-taxi outfit has now been fined €100,000 ($128,000) in France for falsely marketing its paid-for UberPop (a.k.a. UberX) offering as a carpooling service, and told by the Parisian court to warn its drivers that they face “criminal conviction.” Meanwhile, in the U.K. transport authorities have referred Uber to the tax authorities for, unlike other taxi firms, not paying any tax in the U.K. (Revenues go to a Dutch subsidiary that’s owned by a Bermuda subsidiary.) Indian authorities are also on the firm’s case over tax, so at least it’s not just Europe.

SFMTA approves new shuttle rules for Google and Apple buses

Months of tension around the use of  San Francisco’s public bus stops by Silicon Valley companies to transport workers finally led to action on Tuesday night, as the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority (SFMTA) moved forward with its previously outlined plans to charge each bus $1 per stop, according to The Verge.

Reactions to the new rule are mixed at best: many opponents to the shuttles’ presence said that the $1 per stop charge is not enough to offset the delays private companies cause public busses, while Silicon Valley employees suggested that other conditions could push them to drive cars. Something tells me that this is far from over.

Coworking Roundup…

Coworking is a workplace trend that Web Worker Daily has been following closely of late and one which seems to be experiencing an emerging global acceptance – indeed, myself and Aliza Sherman here at WWD have directly (though separately) been involved in developing coworking spaces and communities.
A confluence of technology, culture, a faltering global economy and fuel costs are helping this fringe working pattern move closer to the mainstream. So here’s a roundup of recent developments in coworking… Read More about Coworking Roundup…

Dr. Horrible’s Opening Day Ups and Downs

Despite tentative assurances at last Thursday’s Q&A that the web hosts streaming Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog would be up to the challenge today, drhorrible.com has been crashing all morning, and server traffic has been slow at best. Per the Twitter of star Felicia Day: “Wow, Horrible is breaking all the internet. Their site, my site, their fan site, whedonesque…”

If you want to keep posted on the site’s ups and downs, downforjustmeoreveryone.com is a good place to start, but right now the only certain way to watch the musical spectacular is via a $3.99 iTunes season pass. Of course, this could change at any moment, so feel free to comment with updates if you catch them before we do. The one thing we know for sure at this point — any concerns we might have had about a web series of this nature building an audience seem pretty moot.

Meeting Hugo Ortega in Seattle

Yesterday was registration day in Seattle at the MVP Summit followed by an expo where MVPs could meet face to face, many for the first time.  It was great to meet Hugo Ortega in the flesh and it didn’t take him long to pull out his video camera and go around the table.  It’s a quick look at some of the Tablet PC MVPs and find out what tablet they carried to the Summit.  Well done, Hugo.

Hugo does Seattle