Waze, the crowd-sourced traffic information service, was recently acquired by Google. In a quick turnaround, Google started implementing Waze into Maps, natively, alleviating the need to have Waze on our devices as a standalone app. The comparisons to Waze are easy to make when thinking of Moovit, but could they be as good?
The recently re-designed Android app is nicely fashined, and easy to use, but does it make sense? Do we need an app to help us navigate public transportation delays? Furthermore, how often is public transportation that far off route? Currently, the service is working outside the US, and touts 3 million users across 100 metro areas, which means about 30,000 people per area.
First we have to wonder if 30,000 people in a major metropolitan area like ‘England’ or Sao Paolo is enough of a sampling. Most transit systems have their own way of tracking their various forms of transportation, and it seems unlikely that they’d let Moovit tap into their system. Crowdsourcing is great, but requires manual data entry most times, leaving connections to chance on underground public transportation.
Doubts arise with any app or service, but a recent round of funding may silence those who don’t buy in yet. Via venture capital, Moovit has raised $28 million in Series B funding, led by Sequoia Capital. “We are trying to reduce the level of uncertainty in public transportation” said Moovit CEO Nir Erez in an interview with TechCrunch, and investors seem to agree with their goal. Even Waze co-founder Uri Levine is an investor in Moovit.
Moovit is also letting developers use their data for free. “We’re not making money right now” said Erez, but went on to note that wasn’t their focus just yet. They have the backing of investors in that regard, too. Growth is important to Moovit’s future. At the time Google bought them, Waze had about 50 million users contributing data almost religiously. If the same can be done for public transportation, it seems Moovit will be the benchmark for success.