A startup that is building tech to help it run more smoothly is announcing a big round of funding. Amos Haggiag, the CEO and co-founder of Optibus, said in an interview that the company has raised $100 million and will use it to expand its product set and business footprint.

The Israeli startup says it is the firstunicorn in the public transportation tech space with a value of over $1 billion.

The total raised by the startup is $260 million and comes about 14 months after it raised $107 million.

In a time where a lot of growth-stage startups have found it difficult to raise more money, Optibus stands out as an example of how the right mix of timing and traction can still close deals.

The company now has customers in over 1,000 cities, double the number of a year ago, and has grown to 300 employees, up from 120. 2.5 billion trips on buses, on-street trams, light rails and subways are tracked and powered by Optibus every year around the globe. In the public transport push for more multi-modal options for users, Optibus also incorporates data about public bike, scooter and taxi access points but doesn't provide data about their movements at the moment.

A critical moment for the world of public transportation has been underscored by the rise of Optibus.

In the last couple of years, mass transit services like buses and subways have taken a huge hit, with numbers of users declining by 80% globally in the wake of Covid-19: people stayed home more to work, and when they did go out, they generally wanted to avoid contact with

Haggiag said that the average number is now 80-90% of where they were before Covid. That is not the full story.

Mass transportation use was going down in a number of cities as people were choosing to walk, bike, and scoot, or order rides from the new wave of e-hailing taxi-type services.

He said that cities are growing with the concept of mega city becoming more common and that is playing out in a surge for needing more mass transit.

Haggiag said that the mega city will be one of the biggest demographic changes in history.

In Haggiag's estimation, everything is old tech, or just no tech at all. He said that it was working with Kampala in Uganda to build a new bus system.

The growth of the business is being played into by this.

The startup first made its name by using its artificial intelligence-based planning tools to help transportation organizations determine how best to manage mass transit resources against rush hours, slow periods, social distancing rules and more, which they in turn also used to share data with to customer.

A wider set of features is what Optibus is moving into. Ridership Insights is a new analytics engine that provides more data based on routes, including boarding and alighting, to make more informed planning decisions.

In June, it will be launching an operations stack that will give its customers an end-to-end platform for people management, and to provide real-time data and services to their drivers and other employees. This could include systems that replace the radio systems that bus drivers use to get updates on accidents on the route.

The company is building a lot from the ground up, but it has also been snapping up smaller transport startup to bolt on new tech and services. The acquisition of Portland, Oregon-based Trillium was announced last month. To complement the existing B2B platform, Trillium has built tech to provide data to passengers, used both to populate more accurate data in third-party navigation apps but also potentially for transportation operators to build and provide their own apps.

The first priority is to make sure the data is accurate for those who use apps like Google Maps, according to Amos Haggiag. Building their own apps is a great way to provide more direct information and to get more data about their customers and usage.

Haggiag said that there are a number of local players that provide services to help monitor traffic and send out messages. The customers seem to be attracted to joining all of that up together.

Optibus is the only one in the industry that combines innovation and public transportation expertise. Their software is changing the way we do business as well as the passenger experience. The UK MD of the largest public transport operator in the UK said in a statement that they celebrate this fantastic milestone with them.

Optibus has helped cities around the world bring quality and reliable transportation to their residents. Insight Partners is excited to continue their partnership with Amos and the team.

Representing everything that is great in tech and disrupting the basic functions of society in a way that serves the common good, both in quality of service and environmental impact, and also being an island of solid growth, is what Optibus represents.