MIT Spinoff The Routing Company Raises $5 Million In Seed Funding

By Amit Chowdhry ● Dec 20, 2020
  • The Routing Company announced that it raised $5 million in a seed round led by The Engine. These are the details.

The Routing Company — a company that builds dynamic routing and vehicle management solutions for transit providers — announced that it raised $5 million in a seed round led by The Engine. This round of funding — which brings The Routing Company’s total capital raised to $6.175 million will be used to accelerate commercialization of the startup’s dynamic shared rides technology, refine its product, and round out a team that combines extensive rideshare industry leadership experience with deep academic expertise.

Spun out of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL), The Routing Company partners with cities to improve the reach, efficiency, and sustainability of public transit. And its proprietary technology (born out of a 2017 MIT study hailed by CNN as a “striking example of the potential around ridesharing”) powers an easy-to-use platform that helps cities and other transit providers solve the problem of how to deliver reliable demand-responsive transit – sustainably and at scale.

By working with The Routing Company, cities and other transit providers can access a powerful technology platform that improves the rider experience by making existing fleets more responsive to fluctuating demand and traffic patterns in low- and medium-density areas.

The Routing Company Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Alex Wallar was a PhD student focused on optimizing vehicle distributions and fleet sizes for ride-sharing systems when he first collaborated with MIT CSAIL’s Director Professor Daniela Rus and then post-doc Javier Alonso Mora to uncover how real-time optimization could be used to transform public transport. And in April 2019, Wallar joined with Co-Founder Menno van der Zee to create The Routing Company’s underlying platform.

Last year, CEO James Cox joined The Routing Company (then Routable AI) from Canoo, an electric vehicle company where he served as Chief Product Officer. And prior to Canoo, Cox spent 5 years at Uber where he led key product initiatives including the company’s shared rides product Uber Pool and the launch of UberX in Sydney, Australia — which he helped grow from zero to 250,000 trips per week.

Bradford Church — who conceived and led the Uber Bus product globally — joined the company’s leadership team as head of product in the Summer of 2020. And Cox, Wallar, van der Zee, and Church oversee a high-caliber team of dedicated team members and trusted advisors that includes Professor Daniela Rus, advisor and Director of CSAIL at MIT; Thuan Pham, advisor and former CTO of Uber; and Nairi Tashjian Hourdajian, advisor, VP of Communications at Figma and member of the Biden-Harris U.S. Department of Transportation transition team.

The Routing Company’s $5 million seed round marks The Engine’s first investment from its Fund II.

KEY QUOTES:

“Until now, tight budgets and inefficient technology have led to a poorer transit experience for riders in low- and medium-density areas. Covid-19 has unfortunately made the situation worse through reduced fare revenue and service cuts. The product we’ve built gives cities and other transit providers the ability to serve their communities reliably and sustainably – at scale – through transit that moves with you.”

— James Cox, CEO of The Routing Company

“We are thrilled to support The Routing Company. They have cracked the code for dynamic shared rides at scale. Smart ride sharing solutions for cities will have a ripple effect. Innovation in transit could quickly reduce congestion, shorten commute times for those who can’t afford to live in the city where they work, and help the environment.”

— Reed Sturtevant, general partner of The Engine