As cities in growing markets fight with more and more traffic-clogged and dangerous streets, Urbvan, a startup offering private, luxurious transportation shuttles in Mexico, has raised $9 million in a new series of financing.
Co-incorporated by Joao Matos Albino and Renato Picard, Urbvan is taking the reins from startups like the now-defunct Chariot and tailoring the enterprise for the needs of rising-market ecosystems.
Hailing from Portugal, Albino arrived in Mexico Metropolis as a hire for the Rocket Internet startup Linio. Though Linio didn’t survive, Albino stayed in Mexico, ultimately landing a job working for the startup Mercadoni, which is where he met Picard.
The two men noticed the initial success of Chariot as it originated from Y Combinator; however, were further tracking corporations like the Indian startup Shuttl.
Unlike the U.S. — and mainly prime cities like San Francisco and New York — where public transportation is considered as relatively secure and efficient, the city environment of Mexico is seen as not safe by the white-collar employees that comprise Urbvan’s principal clientele.
The corporate began operating back in 2016. At the time it had five vans that it hired and retrofitted to include facilities like Wi-Fi and plenty of space for a few passengers. The corporate has expanded considerably since those early days. It now claims over 15,000 month-to-month clients and a fleet of 180 vans.
Urbvan optimized for safety in addition to comfort, based on Albino. The corporate has contracts with WeWork, Walmart, and different retailers in Mexico City, so that all the stops on a route are guarded and safe. The further corporate vets its drivers and provides them with additional training due to the expanded capacity of the vans.