Helsinki-based mobility-as-a-service operator MaaS Global has acquired Quicko, a mobility-as-a-service startup in Brazil. The Finnish company is also the developer of Whim app, which enables users to plan, book, and pay with access to various city transport services in one app. Whim and Quicko meet on the same ground considering their mission to revolutionalize the transportation industry on a global level by offering more sustainable alternatives to make their customers’ trips easier.
They hope this can be another solution to traffic problems in the cities which may also pave the way to reducing CO2 emissions. Alongside their mutual sustainability goals, the acquisition enables MaaS Global to gain a valuable footprint in Latin America since Quicko has over 500,000 users in eight Brazilian metropolitan areas and in over 100 cities.
MaaS Global enters Brazil by acquiring Quicko
MaaS Global, the world’s most mature mobility-as-a-service operator and the company behind the award-winning Whim app, has acquired Quicko, the leading MaaS player in Brazil. Whim and Quicko are both on a mission to transform the global transport sector by providing people in cities with a more sustainable alternative to a private car.
“We see a huge opportunity to make a big sustainability leap in Brazil. Historically, the number of private cars has risen together with the standard of living. We believe Brazil can make a digital leap, hop over the car ownership stage, and take Brazilians straight to the MaaS services. This would improve the well-being of the people, resolve cities’ traffic problems and provide an efficient way to cut down CO2 emissions.
As the most recent IPCC report* stated, we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, which makes the need for action even more urgent. Together with Quicko, we want to provide the people in Brazil a more equitable and sustainable freedom of mobility than car ownership can”, says Sampo Hietanen, CEO and Founder of MaaS Global.
Whim is the first full-service MaaS solution commercially available and is currently live in several European and Asian markets. Quicko provides access to a large user base that can be faster monetized with Whim technology. The acquisition enables MaaS Global to gain a valuable footprint in Latin America alongside a highly respected Brazilian partner.
With over 500,000 users, Quicko currently operates in eight Brazilian metropolitan areas and in over 100 cities. It offers AI trip planning for smarter and more optimized urban travel by combining public and private transport modes available in each city. Quicko also includes full mobility payment integration.
“We are very excited to join forces with MaaS Global in an ambitious global strategy to improve people’s mobility experience. Quicko has been successful in growing in huge Brazilian cities, impacting hundreds of thousands of people every month.
There is a massive opportunity ahead of us for MaaS in areas across the country and the continent. We are confident that together we will be able to seize it better, create more value for our customers and change travel behaviors faster”, says Pedro Somma, CEO of Quicko.
Quicko has historically been backed by CCR and J2L Partners, who will both become MaaS Global shareholders. CCR, one of the largest infrastructure companies in Brazil, is investing in urban mobility as a way to ensure the social and economic development of large cities.
“Innovation is a key element in CCR’s strategy to lead the human mobility infrastructure where we operate. For example, we were the first subway company to operate driverless trains in Latin America.
Investing in Quicko enabled us to enhance our customer’s experiences even more and be a part of the tech ecosystem in Brazil.
We are confident that this deal will expand Quicko and CCR’s impact on innovation worldwide and inspire us to keep investing in transforming people’s experience”, says New Business Development Officer, Gustavo do Canto Lopes from CCR.
“With this transaction, we reach global scale and improve our technological capacity and business model while aligning with the best strategies and practices of global urban mobility players. Since Quicko was founded, we have worked very hard to improve the offer and quality of services provided to our customers significantly and are now taking another step in this direction. Incorporating technological innovations and increasing our investment capacity favors a growth movement that can be exponential for our business”, says Líbano Barroso from J2L.
NOR Capital acted as financial advisor to MaaS Global.
About MaaS Global & Whim
MaaS Global is the world leader in the field of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and the company behind the award-winning Whim app. Users can journey where and when they want with public transport, taxis, cars, bikes, e-scooters and various other options. Whim has revolutionised users’ travel habits, promoting the use of sustainable mobility.
MaaS Global was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. The company is backed by several strategic and financial investors such as Mitsui Fudosan, Ferrovial, Tesi, NordicNinja, Vaudoise, Denso, Toyota Financial Services, Swiftcom, Karsan Otomotiv, Transdev and Aioi Nissay Dowa. The Whim app is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Quicko gathers in one app all the information for those who need to move around the city with more convenience and intelligence. Among the features of the application are: real-time information about the arrival time of buses, suggestions for the best route options and transport card recharges, in addition to the location of bike-sharing stations. Passengers can also choose their bus route and monitor their journey, reporting transport incidents, in addition to sharing their routes.
Created in September 2018, Quicko was created to develop a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform focused on the experience of public transport users. The company received initial investments from both CCR and J2L Partners. Today, Quicko has more than 60 employees, developing the app to improve the commute of people in the cities.
Founded in 1999, Grupo CCR is one of Latin America’s largest urban mobility infrastructure players. It started operating in the highway concessions segment and later diversified its portfolio. In 2018, Grupo CCR transformed its four core businesses into divisions composed of the following business units: CCR Lam Vias, CCR Infra SP, CCR Aeroportos, and CCR Mobilidade. The divisions are responsible for managing the Company’s current businesses and developing and analyzing new opportunities in the primary and secondary markets, both in Brazil and abroad. Thanks to its pioneering spirit, it was the first group in the infrastructure services industry to join the Novo Mercado listing segment of B3 (former BM&FBovespa).
Grupo CCR currently has more than 17,000 employees and is responsible for the management and maintenance of 3,391 kilometers of highways; it also manages airports and passenger transportation services in subways, VLT, and barges, transporting approximately 2 million passengers per day. With the start of operations of Lines 8 and 9, this figure may reach 3 million passengers. In the airport segment, after being awarded the contracts of the Central and South Blocks, granted by ANAC, the annual number of passengers transported may exceed the current 23 million, including Pampulha Airport/BH. The Company is recognised in the domestic and international markets for adopting the highest standards of corporate governance as the basis for its operation, which are listed in the Integrity and Compliance Program.
J2L Partners is an independent company founded in 2012, focused on private and third-party equity investments, business development, asset management and financial advisory. With the experience and background of its partners and team, J2L Partners, through market studies and strategic partnerships, develops new businesses, creating, validating and executing investment thesis and business plans for its clients and for itself. J2L Partners currently invests in renewable energy, urban mobility and dentistry sectors.
As a financial advisor, J2L Partners has worked on important M&A projects, standing out in the healthcare industry, where J2L Partners participated in transactions involving the main players in Brazil. Committed to corporate governance, sustainability, compliance, excellence of execution and strategic alignment, J2L Partners establishes long-term relationships, always aiming to generate value for society, partners and customers.
*IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.