MaaS Global transforms global mobility one journey at a time
MaaS Global is a pioneer of the transport sector transformation underway in Finland and around the world.
The company’s mobile app Whim, launched in November 2017, has already been used for more than 10 million trips in Finland, Belgium, England and Austria.
Conveniently combining public and private transport options, the Whim app can be used to plan a route, buy tickets for the train, tram and bus, to order a taxi and rent a city bike, electric scooter or a car. Whim offers single ticket purchases and a subscription plan that covers all forms of transport, providing the user with a comprehensive and flexible alternative to owning a car – while also reducing traffic emissions.
Founded in Helsinki in 2015, MaaS Global has attracted substantial international media coverage and received many awards in Finland and abroad. In February 2019, MaaS Global received the Future Unicorn Award for companies with the potential to become the future European Tech giants and to reach a turnover of more than one billion euros. The Whim app has also received recognition for good user experience and design. The company’s CEO Sampo Hietanen is one of the best-known Mobility as a Service (MaaS) influencers in the world.
MaaS attracts international investors
– The MaaS concept had already been discussed in the Finnish transport sector for a long time. In 2014 Sampo Hietanen, the director of Intelligent Transportation Society of Finland at that time, decided to gather different actors to create a business plan and turn the talk into action. Altogether 24 different organizations from both public and private sectors, including the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL, telecom operators, the Finnish Taxi Association and Uber got involved, says Jonna Pöllänen, Head of Early Markets at MaaS Global.
The company born from the initiative was originally called MaaS Finland. The name was changed at the end of 2016 to align with the goal of being a global player. The ambitious startup sparked international interest right from the first funding rounds. In addition to the Finnish company Veho, its investors included French company Transdev, Karsan and Swiftcom from Turkey, and the Japanese giants DENSO, Toyota Financial Services and Aioi Nissay Dowa.
MaaS Global is the first company to start building a new mobility ecosystem globally, working with a range of different service providers. Alongside Helsinki, Whim is currently available in Birmingham, Antwerp and Vienna. In 2020, Whim will also be piloted in Tokyo and Singapore.
– The City of Antwerp, for example, is very much involved in supporting the development of MaaS and promoting the birth of a genuine MaaS market. The latest location where Whim was launched is Vienna which currently has five transport services live, whereas Helsinki already has about ten. The market is still in its early stages in Vienna, but the growth curve is going up. The package of transport services enables serving the consumer as well as possible, says Pöllänen.
More resources to drive growth and user experience
On top of entering new markets, MaaS Global seeks to grow in its existing markets, add new services to the Whim app, and to provide a better a user experience for the end user.
– We are also planning to test the Whim roaming model, which combines different countries and cities. The idea is to bring the transport services of the new market to the consumer’s fingertips, ideally in their own currency and without any need for additional registrations or forms of payment. What matters most is that the consumers and users genuinely enjoy the service and see the added value it brings, says Pöllänen.
The investors have strong faith in MaaS Global’s ability to conquer the world. Completed in November 2019, the company’s fourth funding round was worth EUR 29.5 million, bringing the total investment to EUR 53.7 million. BP Ventures, Mitsui Fudosan, Mitsubishi Corporation and NordicNinja joined in as new investors.
The global MaaS industry is expected to reach USD 500 billion in revenue by 2030, playing a major role in reducing private car use and cutting emissions in cities. MaaS has already been mentioned as part of the European Commission’s Green Deal program which aims to reduce transport emissions by 90% by 2050.
Interested in developing or using smart mobility solutions in global business operations? Read more about the Smart Mobility Finland program’s innovation funding and internationalization services.
Photo: MaaS Global
Read the original article on Business Finland’s web page.