David Beisel’s Perspective on Digital Change
The Road to Our Investment in Bridj
Mass transportation is the largest single source of travel within metropolitan areas across the globe, but our current fixed infrastructure approach hasn’t changed since the 19th century. Here in our innovation hub of Boston, the country’s oldest subway tunnel built in 1897 is still in use as part of the MBTA Green Line. Each day thousands of people commute to work on a system that is literally over a hundred years old.
This year, though, a local startup called Bridj has been making headlines by taking a fundamentally new approach to thinking about mass transportation. On the surface, the company is running mini-busses between popular commuter pickup and drop-off locations. More fundamentally, however, Bridj is leveraging layers of technology including mobile connectivity + big data coupled with flexible vehicle assets to create a dynamic transportation network. The startup utilizes machine learning algorithms to become smarter as more users enter the system, striving towards the goal of a “living, breathing, and thinking” transportation system.
Today Bridj announced that it has raised $4M from our team at NextView Ventures, alongside Atlas Ventures, Suffolk Equity, and many of the original ZipCar investors like Jill Preotle, Andy Ross, and Peter Aldrich.
Coming straight out of my first meeting with Bridj’s Founder, Matthew George, I called both of my partners to share my excitement about what I had been immediately convinced was our next investment. Not only did Matt share a crisp and articulate vision about transforming the future of transportation, he was an extremely authentic founder who had discovered the opportunity through operating his own profitable bus shuttle business which he had started literally out of his own college dorm room. And it is clear given the reception that the company has received since launching the beta service that it has struck a chord with consumers – I see it daily in the feedback tweets of riders using the service.
All investments which we make become a journey along with the Founders. I know that this one is going to be particularly special because of Matt, his vision, and the real impact he’s going have on the lives of people living in cities around the world.