Zūm Receives $140 Million in New Funding to Accelerate Sustainability Efforts and Expansion

Zūm Receives $140 Million in New Funding to Accelerate Sustainability Efforts and Expansio

Zūm, the leading provider of modern student transportation, announced today a $140 million Series E funding round to further the company’s ambitious sustainability goals and continue its national expansion.

The new capital comes from a variety of high-profile investors, including GIC, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, as well as Sequoia Capital, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and Climate Investment. This latest cash infusion values Zūm at $1.3 billion, a significant increase from its previous valuation of $550 million after a Series D raise in October 2021.

“Securing this latest round of funding, especially in a challenging economic climate, is a resounding vote of confidence in our vision and ability to execute,” said Zūm founder and CEO Ritu Narayan in an interview. “This investment marks a pivotal moment in our journey, empowering us to turn school buses into powerful tools for environmental change.”

Founded in 2015, Zūm has quickly become an industry leader by leveraging technology to modernize antiquated student transportation systems. The company’s innovative platform connects parents, students, administrators and drivers, providing unprecedented visibility through real-time tracking, analytics and personalized updates.

These digital tools have brought new levels of efficiency, accountability and transparency to school districts across the country, including major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. Zūm’s technology has also enabled significant gains in safety and reliability.

The new funding will allow Zūm to further integrate and scale this technology while accelerating the transition to electric vehicle (EV) fleets in partnership with school districts. This aligns with Zūm’s pursuit of ambitious sustainability targets.

“Our investment in Zūm highlights GIC’s commitment to funding the transition to net-zero in the real economy,” said GIC Chief Investment Officer Choo Yong Cheen. “Zūm is leading the industry in leveraging technology to create a more modern, sustainable and safer experience for communities across the US.”

With 90% of school buses in the United States still running on diesel, transforming these vehicles is critical for reducing emissions. Zūm aims to turn school buses into climate solutions by optimizing routes to reduce mileage, deploying EV buses and implementing vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems.

V2G technology allows EV batteries to discharge stored energy back to the grid when not in use. School buses are ideal for this application given their large battery capacity and downtime in evenings and summers. Zūm’s routing algorithms and real-time data will allow the company to pinpoint optimal times to charge and discharge vehicles.

“Zūm is rapidly reinventing the student transportation industry bringing great improvements in quality, efficiency and sustainability through software and electrification,” said Bryan Schreier, Partner at Sequoia Capital. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Zūm as they continue their national expansion.”

In addition to modernizing its own fleet of over 3,000 vehicles, Zūm’s technology platform and expertise is also available to optimize public school district fleets around the country. This amplifies the potential impact as Zūm works to turn school buses from major polluters into climate warriors.

The company also notes it is the only carbon neutral student transportation provider nationwide today. But Narayan emphasized the new funding will help Zūm accelerate its sustainability efforts and pursue more ambitious goals like reaching net zero emissions.

“Our dream is for the yellow school bus, a ubiquitous symbol of childhood, to transform into a powerful force for environmental progress,” said Narayan. “This funding gets us one step closer to that reality.”

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