After bootstrapping for years, transportation startup CharterUP just raised its Series A as it looks to change the way we all think about buses.
“When I started CharterUP in 2018, the charter bus industry had seen little innovation in over 30 years. CharterUP has been singularly focused on disrupting the charter experience by infusing technology, transparency and accountability into the marketplace,” founder and CEO Armir Harris told Hypepotamus. “Bootstrapped from day one, we were approached by some of the largest venture capital and growth equity funds in the world. Tritium Partners stood out as more than simply a capital provider. From our first meeting, it was clear they had done very thoughtful and thorough research on our business and industry. They gave very valuable feedback on operating marketplaces and came prepared with a list of experienced and accomplished marketplace operators to leverage.”
Tritium Partners led CharterUP’s $60 million Series A late in October.
As a transportation marketplace, CharterUP streamlines the charter bus reservation process for sports teams, school excursions, or other events with on-demand quotes, custom itineraries, and live trip tracking.
We last caught up with Harris and the CharterUP team in late 2020 as the transportation marketplace landscape was changing. Following the Series A, Hypepotamus asked Harris how the company has changed over the last few years.
Since then, the team has focused on how the platform collects real-time data to improve the charter reservation and trip experience, according to Harris. It also rolled out CharterUP for Operators to bring partner bus companies onto the platform.
“Accelerating learning, rapidly pivoting and moving quickly are the key themes and lessons we’ve learned over the last two years,” he said. “When the pandemic hit, we doubled down on our technology investments with goals to accelerate our product roadmap, test and iterate on new initiatives and find ways to add continual value to both the consumer and operator sides of our marketplace. It’s become clear that those investments have enabled our operating partners to thrive at new levels—our partner base more than tripled. In turn, customers saw similar benefits which has only further compounded the business acceleration our operating partners have experienced.
“With these learnings and our Series A, we will continue to do what’s working as we enter 2023—being the best platform for charter operators and the easiest way for companies to book group ground transportation.”
Operating out of its Atlanta office, Harris said the investment will impact the startup’s plans for growth in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, D.C., Miami and New York.
CharterUP’s bigger corporate clients include Microsoft, Facebook, and Delta.