Report: Intel to buy routing data startup Moovit for $1 billion

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According to TechCrunch, reports are that Intel is in the process of acquiring Israeli navigation service Moovit for around $1 billion. The startup uses artificial intelligence (AI) tools and extensive traffic data to provide 800 million customers with routing data. The chipmaker intends to fold the firm into its Mobileye self-driving vehicle segment once the deal completes.

As of this writing, neither Intel nor Moovit have publically confirmed a tie-up is in progress.

What Moovit Brings to the Table

Before its reported acquisition, Moovit gathered, analyzed, and acted upon vast arrays of transportation data to optimize urban mobility.

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The startup’s consumer-facing services made it invaluable to city dwellers looking to save time on their daily commutes. Two years ago, the company’s mobile app told 120 million global users if a bus, electric scooter, or Uber ride best fit their transportation needs. This year, more than 800 million people in 102 countries depend on the startup’s platform to get from point A to point B.

The company also used its tech stack to give public transit agencies real-time fleet management tools to enhance their efficiency. The startup’s tools allowed drivers to avoid time-consuming traffic snarls while giving riders up to the minute ETAs. The firm positioned its corporate routing product as something that could improve consumers’ trust in a provider’s logistical capabilities.

Most impressively, the startup offered municipalities the opportunity to reduce congestion and pollution by introducing on-demand functionality to their mass transit systems. But once its acquisition is complete, the firm’s resources will probably be directed to developing a new type of personal transportation.

Why Intel is Buying Moovit

Although Intel derives the bulk of its revenue from selling computer and data center processors, the corporation has recently looked to expand into new areas like transit. As such, the firm’s $1 billion purchase of Moovit makes sense as part of its diversification initiative.

At CES 2020, Intel’s Mobileye showed that its self-driving car solution is capable of navigating the busy streets of Jerusalem. By integrating the startup’s routing platform into its existing system, the subsidiary could develop a high functioning robotaxi program. In the future, the corporation’s self-driving cars could deliver passengers to their destinations safely and with maximum efficiency.

Also, Moovit’s technology could save Mobileye millions in application development costs for its ride-hailing service. The startup’s platform already allows clients to set up fleets, receive pickup requests, and take payments. Once Intel’s autonomous taxi offering is ready, it can immediately go in front of nearly 1 billion potential customers.

Intel has understood the promise of the startup’s multifaceted big data-enabled navigation services for a while now. In 2018, the chipmaker participated in a Series D round that netted Moovit $50 million in outside capital. As part of the transaction, Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua joined the company’s board of directors as an observer.

Since Intel is reportedly paying a 100 percent premium to acquire Moovit based on its last valuation, the semiconductor manufacturer must believe its potential is nearing realization.

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