startup transforming public transport with smart digital solutions

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 16/05/2023 | 13:54

Romanian startup launched during the pandemic with a platform that digitalizes public transport operators that’s already in use in four cities, with plans to expand across Romania. Doru Chirica and Stefan Holicov, the co-founders of, talked to BR about the startup’s preparations for a funding round and their long-term vision of expanding in the region.

By Ovidiu Posirca


What is the founding story of and how are positioning the startup on the local market?

The story of began somewhere in 2011, driven by the desire to focus more on urban travellers, which were already our core target. At that time, the business was part of the media and advertising industry, operating as a digital signage network for public transport.

This network of screens was essentially an information system for passengers; its primary role was to inform bus passengers about their current routes and, secondarily, to display commercial content. It didn’t seem like an extreme challenge for us, as we had developed our own content software (CMS) in 2007, which could display multiple types of content from various sources, and the embedded computers on which it was installed were also equipped with GPS modules. Therefore, the only thing left to do was to obtain the route information from the fleet management provider of the public transport operator. The attempt failed, however, because the provider had only provisioned their technical resources to provide information at a frequency of over 30 seconds, which was much too slow for the purpose, since the distance between two stations could sometimes be covered in just one minute.

So we were faced with a decision: we would have to either give up this type of content or solve the technical problem by building a small software solution that would give us the information we needed. We chose the second option, and 2020 was the year in which was actually born, bringing together all the assets and expertise we had accumulated until that moment, based on the same system of values, but with a different vision and a much higher goal. Unexpectedly, the break we were forced into by the pandemic helped us bring some clarity into our vision. is currently a fully functional platform in Cluj, Iasi, and Botosani, as well as in Chisinau. Brasov and Timisoara are next, along with many other cities in Romania, regardless of their size but strictly dependent on their openness and desire for change.


Which areas of the public transportation system are ripe for disruption?

The public transportation system is prepared for a change in perspective and mindset in terms of acquisition methods: shifting from buying physical products (hardware) with pre-installed software with specific functionalities to buying services with functionalities that are dependent on the existence of software and being delivered through hardware (as-a-Service).

Getting the actual users of public transport involved is another important aspect, with operators choosing to make their operational processes transparent by exposing open data through our Open Data Portal and communicating bi-directionally with citizens using the tools we provide directly or those from different suppliers indirectly, using the same Open Data portal for their apps and products, with different specific features.


How is your solution helping public transportation companies? What has been the feedback from these firms? provides transportation companies with a platform that automates much of their daily planning and operational activities for thousands of vehicles and resources involved in passenger transportation. The platform is free to use and offers a suite of solutions that are designed for public transport activities, such as: fleet management/AVL software, a mobile app for dispatchers, route-related alert generation, the application that turns the digitalized processes and operations of public transport operators into benefits, and the open data portal (Public Open Data). acts as a collaborative platform in the urban mobility digitalization process, fostering an equitable environment where all stakeholders involved in building smart cities and transport development can cooperate and compete under a fair and unified set of rules. At the same time, develops right-on-point mobility solutions that are ready to be purchased, like transport-related applications and functionalities, facilitating a better allocation of resources (vehicles, drivers, stations, garages, etc.) and digitalizing the activities of public transportation companies.

Some of these types of solutions have already been implemented in cities where the platform is being used. This includes a passenger information solution in bus stops (digital information panels), with a soon-to-be-launched audio accessibility feature for the visually impaired, and a live map of routes and real-time positions of vehicles.

Doru Chirica (right) and Stefan Holicov (left), the co-founders of

The mobile app for travellers——is an example of functionality that the platform provides for free, by processing data from its own solutions, third-party solutions, and the real-time operations of public transportation companies and authorities. is being used by over 150,000 daily travellers in Iasi, Cluj-Napoca and, as of March, Botosani and Chisinau.

There’s a positive attitude towards innovation among public transport operators, who are showing openness and willingness to embrace new ideas, technologies, and ways of doing things in order to improve the quality and efficiency of their services. Their feedback is essential, and that’s how took shape: by involving public transport operators in the process, but especially by recognising the need for the solutions that provides, thereby facilitating the development of more effective and user-friendly transport services. We build all our products and services by actively collaborating with public transport companies, collecting constructive feedback from transport service users, and conducting rigorous research on smart mobility and intelligent transport systems.


Are you currently looking to finance your startup?

In order to keep up with the excellent traction it has achieved so far and to increase the velocity of new product creation, the company is preparing for a funding round with several sources, including investors, VCs, and government agencies. They all recognise and acknowledge the value and potential of’s contributions to the field of smart mobility, intelligent transport systems, mobility-as-a-service, and artificial intelligence.


How aware of urban mobility trends are representatives of the public sector?

Public sector representatives and public transport companies are generally aware of urban mobility trends. However, despite their awareness of these trends, there is still no comprehensive solution that can reconcile all of them effectively. This includes dedicated lanes for public transport, smart city policies, cloud-based solutions, as-a-service acquisitions, and micro-mobility options. Currently, there is growing awareness among public sector representatives regarding the critical importance of making mobility data available to the public to facilitate informed decision-making and planning. While some progress has been made, like the Bucharest Municipality’s efforts to make public transport data available through Google, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that such data is made widely available and accessible to all stakeholders in the field of urban mobility.


What are your plans for the startup on a longer term?

We aim to reach as many cities in Romania as possible, regardless of their size; the only condition is for public transport operators and local authorities to be willing to adopt’s platform. We also envision a further expansion of our operations beyond the country’s borders, especially in other countries in the region. And speaking of expansion, in the medium term, we also want to expand our capabilities and expertise to other verticals of mobility where similar principles apply.

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