Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Spare Labs Operations Manager Josh Andrews (left), CEO Kristoffer Vik Hansen (center) and Technology Manager Alexey Indeev | submitted

Traditional transit networks have been built on the basic assumption that most riders would leave their suburban home to the center in the morning and return in the evening after work.

“It changed quite dramatically in 2020,” said Kristoffer Vik Hansen, CEO of Spare Labs Inc., referring to the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

His Vancouver-based startup specializes in software that makes it easier for cities and transit agencies to manage transportation networks.

“There are generally fewer people commuting [and] there is a large percentage of the population who now work from home, either permanently or in a form of flexible working environment, ”said Vik Hansen. BIV.

“Our customers, they really realized that they could not just have fixed routes as their only service, because it can transport a lot of people, but at the same time it is not very dynamic. It can not easily change based on what happens in real life. “

And as the pandemic transforms the transit systems, the demand for Spare Labs’ technology has been increasing over the past year plus, and Vik Hansen said BIV the company has tripled its customers and doubled its number of employees, which now stands at 50 employees.

Changing transit trends are also attracting huge interest from investors, with Spare Labs on Tuesday unveiling the conclusion of a $ 18 million Series A funding round. The financing round was led by Montreal’s Inovia Capital with the participation of, among others, Kensington Capital in Toronto and Vancouver’s Nicola Wealth.

Spare Labs’ transport-as-a-service (TaaS) platform allows commuters to enter their location and find various travel options to get to their final destination. In some cities, buses may even be redirected in real time depending on demand instead of running on fixed routes with fixed timetables.

Vik Hansen said that the “strongly oversubscribed” financing round came together in record time, and the new capital will give Spare Labs the opportunity to increase the development of its technology and either double or triple its workforce within the next 12 months or so.

“Our ultimate goal is really to lower the cost of providing transportation services,” he said.

“If we can lower our customers’ costs of providing a journey for their passengers, it means they can serve more passengers and provide even better services.”

The story continues below the picture …

Spare parts

One of Spare Labs’ platforms for managing transport networks | Posted

Among the more than 50 cities where Spare’s manufactured BC technology is being used, Dallas Area Rapid Transit plans to at least double the number of microtransit zones Spare helps manage in the coming weeks. Microtransit zones represent the gap between a starting point or end destination (such as a home or a workplace) and a major transit node (such as a SkyTrain station or bus district).

In the case of Dallas, the doubling of microtransit zones means greatly reducing the number of fixed scheduled buses and replacing them with on-demand options that the Spare platform can help facilitate for passengers.

While Spare Labs has primarily focused on customers in the public sector, Vik Hansen said that there has also been increasing interest from the private sector.

“It can be anything from taxi companies, to airport shuttles to even independent carriers,” he said.

One such customer in the private sector is Green Coast Ventures Inc., a Tofino-based company operating under the name Whistle. Apart from the resort community on Vancouver Island, the local tour-hilling service also operates in Whistler.

“Uber [Technologies Inc. (NYSE:UBER)] and Lift [Inc. (Nasdaq:LYFT)] are global players, not true, so people are looking for more local alternatives, ”said Vik Hansen.

“One of the big reasons we raised the amount [Series A] the capital was that our basic belief is that we will see more and more independent mobility providers in the future. “

torton@biv.com

@report

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