MaaS Finland, the world’s first mobility-as-a-service company, commenced operations on 1 February raising a total of EUR 2.2 million in its first call for funding from private investors and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes.
Sampo Hietanen, MaaS Finland’s CEO and the original developer of the concept, has set a clear goal for himself: to reshape the world’s transportation markets. Globally, transportation is the largest consumer market in the world, second only to housing.
“Next, digitization will reshape the transportation industry. Our grand goal is to pull a ‘Finnish Netflix’ in transportation and change the way people use transport services. In a couple of years, MaaS will either be Finland’s new Nokia and a major employer or I’ll be out of work,” remarks Hietanen.
The Government’s ambition is to turn Finland into a pioneer of smart digitized transportation and make it a major export product.
“We need to seize this opportunity and move ahead quickly before somebody else beats us to it with a competing concept,” warns Hietanen.
Excitement among international investors
Hietanen was pleasantly surprised by the keen interest in MaaS shown by international players with the number of potential investors exceeding the stock available.
“With the funding we’ve now secured, we want to finalize the product and demonstrate in three countries that it’s possible to create personalised mobility services plans and that people are willing to buy them.”
A second investment round will be launched in late autumn this year in an attempt to raise hundreds of millions. “Global expansion calls for bigger muscles. We’ve got several shareholders who’ll be able to help us along.”
The biggest single owners in MaaS Finland with a 20 per cent interest are Transdev, a French transportation giant offering land, rail and passenger transport services and Karsan Otomotiv Sanayii and Ticaret AS, a leading car-industry family of Turkey. Sampo Hietanen holds a ten percent stake in the company. Other shareholders include InMob Holdings of Cyprus; Neocard; Korsisaari; GoSwift; MaaS Australia; Goodsign; IQ Payments; and Delta Capital Force.
Since its announcement, the MaaS concept has attracted a great deal of international attention. Originally, MaaS (Mobility as a Service) was one of the concepts to improve the traffic flow, safety and environmental performance in transportation developed by ITS Finland, a consortium of experts developing information and communications technology solutions. Previously, Sampo Hietanen served as the executive director of this non-profit organization. Now, MaaS Finland has commenced operations as a independent company focusing on the international market.
Unlimited access to transport services for one hundred euros?
MaaS Finland intends to serve as an operator between transport services providers, users and third parties. It will combine all the existing transport services into a single mobile application on the ‘single-ticket principle’ and offer personalised transport plans tailored to customer needs.
Hietanen stresses that far from trying to destroy any existing businesses, the company seeks to generate more sales for them. The service promise is to deliver better transport services for consumers in mutual collaboration. “If the MaaS ecosystem fails to contribute to the business of all the companies and parties involved, the concept won’t work,” Hietanen says.
Currently, there are three mobile service options available to consumers: one that combines several modes of transportation for a single trip; one that combines private car use with an extensive range of public transport services; and one that offers a comprehensive service for all transportation needs at a monthly rate.
“You should ask yourself: ‘What would happen if I gave up my car?’ For one hundred euros, you could have unlimited access to public transport services plus limited access to taxi rides and a rented car for a given number of kilometres. A wide range of services at different rates would be available, for example for families and businesses,” explains Hietanen.
He maintains that transportation must be an experience for people: “On average, people use 90 minutes per day to move from one place to another. We want to give this time back to them.”
ITS Finland estimates that by 2020, the new transport services could give work to 20,000 people in Finland.