Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has backed Israeli public transportation startup Optibus Ltd., the company announced Wednesday. Optibus has completed a $40 million funding round led by Insight Venture Partners, the company said. Alibaba participated in the round as a strategic investor. Prior to this round, the company raised $14.5 million, according to pitchbook data.
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Founded in 2014 in Tel Aviv by CEO Amos Haggiag and CTO Eitan Yanovsky, Optibus develops a fleet management and optimization software that supplies public transit operators with recommendations based on real-time data. The company offers its services in more than 200 cities worldwide. The company employs a team of 75 people in offices in Israel, the U.S., U.K., and Germany, and is looking to hire some 50 additional employees before the year’s end, Optibus said.
Alibaba has backed several Israeli startups in recent years. In January, the Chinese multinational took part in a $30 million round of funding for auto computer vision startup Nexar Ltd. In May, Alibaba led a $26.4 million funding round in Israel-based data analytics startup SQream Technologies. In January 2017, Alibaba invested in augmented reality hardware company Lumus Ltd. In 2016, the company invested in Israeli augmented reality software startup Infinity Augmented Reality Israel Ltd. and in Twiggle Ltd. a startup offering a specialized ecommerce search engine.