Share Mobility, which provides transportation solutions for companies, today announced that it closed a $12 million Series A led by Iron Gate Capital and Renewal Funds with participation from Employment Technology Fund, JobsOhio, Seamless Capital and others. CEO Ryan McManus said that the goal with the new cash will be threefold: supporting growth, people and product.
“The funding allows us to grow into our enterprise customers’ more than 2,000 locations across the country and hire the right people to make it happen,” McManus told TechCrunch in an email interview. “We are well-positioned to expand our footprint in the areas they are asking us to expand, as well as add more features to our platform.”
Founded in 2016, Share was initially focused on autonomous vehicles. But it later pivoted to “mobility as a service”; McManus says that the company found a product-market fit during the pandemic.
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“When people started to return to work and companies were in dire need of workers, we quickly realized that if companies are able to hire people that don’t own cars, their hiring pool increases from 20% to 60%. And that was the revelation — to offer a service that helps employers get employees to work, to fill those job openings and retain them,” McManus said. “We showed enterprise companies that they can solve their workforce shortage by providing transportation as an employee benefit. Companies like Google were already providing it as a perk for employees in major hubs, but as more enterprise companies stake their claim into regions like the Midwest, the need for reliable commuter transportation was clear.”
Transportation is a common employee perk among tech giants (excepting those under pressure from activist investors, perhaps). As of 2020, there were an estimated 1,020 private commuter shuttle buses in the Bay Area — a private transportation system worth more than $250 million. Some Silicon Valley buses travel as far as 55 miles from San Francisco to pick up workers daily.
The dramatic expansion of private shuttle programs reflects the pressures that the tech industry has put on major cities. In Silicon Valley in particular, high salaries have driven up housing prices, forcing white- and blue-collar workers to move farther away from their jobs. Absent affordable public transportation or shuttles, employees are forced to pay out of pocket to get to work. This disproportionately impacts low-income workers; according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, low-income Americans spend 37% of their income on commuting — a percentage that’s likely to increase with rising gas prices.