Whill, Inc., a Yokohama, Japan-based company behind Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs), raised $45m in funding.
The round, which brought total funding to around $80m, was led by investors SBI Investment Co., Ltd., Daiwa PI Partners Co. Ltd. and Daiwa Corporate Investment Co. Ltd (affiliates of Daiwa Securities Group Inc.), and WHIZ Partners, Inc., as well as Endeavor Catalyst and previous investors INCJ (Innovation Network Corporation of Japan), Eight Road Ventures, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, Nippon Venture Capital, DG Incubation, and Mizuho Capital.
The company intends to use the funds to broaden its geographic presence across other European countries through new partnerships, branches and hiring employees, to expand its innovative consumer product offerings while developing and expanding its MaaS (Mobility as a Service) side of the business.
Led by Satoshi Sugie, Co-Founder and CEO, Whill is advancing an intelligent personal electric vehicle (EV), focused on “enabling everyone to explore the world in comfort and style“. In addition, its MaaS business is building the technology and infrastructure to move people through large and crowded venues such as airports, sports venues, shopping centers, and public sidewalks.
To start, Whill will be addressing a major issue in the current PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) service within airports. Currently, in collaboration with strategic partners, it is developing self-driving and self-stopping technologies, which provides more independence to passengers and reduces the workload of PRM service agents. In the near future, the company is looking to further expand their MaaS business into device-sharing and last-mile transport solution.
The company, which also has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taiwan and Europe, launched the Model Ci in the US in January 2018 at the Consumer Electronics Show. In April, it expanded sales into Canada, then into UK and Italy in July.