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Mercedes-Benz enters European ride-sharing market with $50 million investment in Via

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Mercedes-Benz announced today that it has created a joint venture with U.S.-based Via to launch a new ride-sharing shuttle service in Europe that will debut in London later this year.

The German automotive maker’s Vans division will invest $50 million into Via, which offers a carpooling service in several U.S. cities. In addition, Mercedes’ Mobility will become a strategic investor for an undisclosed sum.

Via has developed a ride-sharing service that offers low-cost carpooling arrangements that also connect to public transportation systems. The idea is to let a passenger choose the fastest, cheapest route that may combine carpooling and local public transportation.

“On-demand ride-sharing offers many new ways of making city traffic efficient, needs-based and sustainable – especially when it involves the use of spacious, safe and comfortable vans,” says Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, in a statement. “Via is one of the most successful providers in the growing ride-sharing sector while Mercedes-Benz Vans has the perfect vehicles that are being continuously optimized for this job. By deepening our cooperation with Via, we are thus taking the next logical step in the context of our strategy for the future and are expanding our range of new mobility services.”

Via has previously raised more than $100 million in venture capital. It was co-founded by two Israeli entrepreneurs and is now based in New York City.

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