Amnon Shashua: Moovit Fits in with Mobileye’s Wider Vision
On the day of Intel’s $900 million acquisition of Moovit, Mobileye’s CEO and co-founder shares with Calcalist the reasons they opted to buy the Israeli company and how it advances the future of mobility
“We’ve had our eye on Moovit for a year and a half, I asked Intel to participate in a funding round as an investor so that we could learn more about it with the intentions of moving ahead to acquire it,” Amnon Shahua, CEO and founding partner of Mobileye and senior vice president of Intel told Calcalist in an interview on Monday. “We realized that Moovit fits in well with Mobileye’s wider vision, to become not just a technology provider, but to build a mobility solution from start to finish. We are building ourselves up as a vertical company and Moovit is a part of that puzzle.”
What did the acquisition hinge on?
“Technological progress with our autonomous vehicle. We had always said that such vehicles will hit the road at the end of 2021 but we are more confident today. Since integrating two companies takes time, we decided that now was the right time to move ahead with the acquisition.”
Earlier today, Intel confirmed the acquisition of Moovit for roughly $900 million ($840 million considering Intel Capital’s existing investment in Moovit).
Amnon Shashua, Mobileye CEO. Photo: Yonatan Hefner
“We have dedicated significant efforts to study the nature of the business: the value chain formations, the societal and economical pain-points of the urban mobility systems, and the path to weave driverless capabilities into the existing urban transportation fabric,” Shashua wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. “We developed a multimodal XaaS strategy that will enable Intel through Mobileye, and now including Moovit, to create a value proposition out of every layer of the solution stack... This strategy is very nuanced and differs from every other company in this space.”
“It’s not just about data, if you look at all the layers of the autonomous vehicle, from being a mobility enabling technology to providing a service, there are a lot of stages in between,” Shashua said in the interview. “One of them, for example, is the last mile service— knowing where and when the passenger got off the bus and offering them transportation to their doorstep. Another is optimizing the way a fleet of taxis can meet demand with the smallest number of vehicles possible. That’s where Moovit plays a central role.
“The other aspect is customer service, Moovit has 40 million active users and 800 million more who are registered. There is a big customer base that uses it to plan trips from point A to point B. Moovit also recently became an aggregator of data that Uber and Lyft contribute to. The acquisition enables us to take and adapt the database for our own requirements, i.e. to provide future mobility services through Moovit, allowing us to grow in a moderate way, without having to supply the entire market demand at once.”
You mentioned Uber and Lyft who already work with Moovit, why did you choose to spend a billion dollars instead of operating in the same way they do?
“Because we want deep integration and that only happens when you own a company, otherwise you are investing immensely in a company that someone else will end up buying. When the relationship is at arm's-length things look different. When you’re counting on a company as part of your future business plan, you have to acquire it.”
Shashua noted that Moovit would continue to operate as an independent company after the acquisition.
“We are going to do with Moovit the same thing Intel did with Mobileye, which remained an independent company. The acquisition allowed Mobileye to grow more substantially.”
Intel acquired Mobileye in 2017 and since then Mobileye revenues have more than doubled on the increased adoption of ADAS based on Mobileye’s industry-leading technology, according to a statement by the company.
I appreciate you wanting to keep Moovit independent in the short term so it can go on collecting data, but in the long term, when the robot taxis go to market, why continue sharing all those advantages you mentioned with your competitors?
“We will have an interest that Moovit remain independent going forward because it will be easier for them to receive data from more sources. Secondly, autonomous vehicles will go ahead in 2022, but their growth will not be that fast. If you want your customers to stay with you, you will have to continuously provide them with solutions and Moovit’s app will be the go-to for mobility.”