Zum raises $140 million for school bus batteries on wheels

ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, February 1 — School buses are the largest source of mass transit in the US, transporting over 20 million students to and from school daily. Most run on diesel fuel, which spew toxic fumes that are harmful to human health and the environment.

Zum’s electric school buses have provided more than a million rides to 4,000 schools in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Nashville and other US cities. With AutoGrid’s software for virtual power plants, or VPPs, Zum plans to equip 10,000 electric buses over four years with more than one gigawatt of flexible capacity to help utilities match supply and demand.

The company has raised $140 million in a new round of funding “to turn school buses into powerful tools for environmental change,” said CEO Ritu Narayan.

Green mobility

The Series E round was led by Singapore’s GIC, with participation from Climate Investment, Sequoia Capital, SoftBank Vision Fund and other investors, bringing Zum’s valuation to $1.3 billion.

“Zum is rapidly reinventing the student transportation industry, bringing great improvements in quality, efficiency, and sustainability through software and electrification,” said Sequoia’s Bryan Schreier. The women-led company’s mobile app allows parents and teachers to track the buses – and students – in real time.

Zum has raised $350 million since 2015.