Priva is a marketplace for door-to-door regional mobility
Raised to Date: Raised: $104,908
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Priva has been selected as a Deal To Watch, which is reserved for the top 10-20% of all deals we analyze in our due diligence funnel. Be sure to also check out our Founder Profile discussion with Ryan Gee, Co-Founder & COO HERE, which was conducted as part of our due diligence process.
Did you know Americans spend $319.1 billion on business travel per year. $9.6 billion of this spend goes to “regional” flights, or those under 300 miles. These short flights, say from Chicago or Detroit or from Boston to New York, are notoriously time-consuming.
While the flight time itself may only take an hour, travelling to the airport, going through security, waiting to board, deplaning, and travelling to the ultimate destination can multiply the total time spent significantly.
For business travelers, these travel logistics waste productivity: getting to the airport, waiting to board, and deplaning do not lend well to doing work, and working during the flight can be jeopardized by poor wifi or cramped space.
While other regional transit options may offer some benefit, those other options are regionally-specific or pose different challenges to business travelers. Frequent, reliable train service is simply not standard across the country, and bus travel can be cramped and offers no privacy for business calls or confidential conversation. While simply driving to one’s regional destination may often take the same or less time than flying, hours operating a vehicle are utterly unproductive and draining for the driver.
Business travelers are seeking a solution to time and productivity waste as they travel short distances. Multiplying 479.5 million business trips in 2019 by conservatively several hours of lost work time amounts to billions in annual spend on unproductive business travel.
Priva offers an innovative solution for regional business travel in its fleet of “Mobile Offices,” large vans fitted with captain’s chairs, TV screens, fast wifi and more features to maximize productivity. Priva Mobile Offices offer several key advantages over typical modes of regional transportation (flights, trains, busses, and personal car travel):
- Door-to-door. Instead of wasting time getting to the airport or train/bus station, Priva Mobile Offices pick up riders directly at their door, whether at the office or at home. Particularly in cities where transportation hubs are far from central, getting directly on the road to the destination is a significant time advantage.
- Private. For professionals seeking to take important business calls or have confidential/proprietary conversations with their travel companions, most modes of transportation do not offer quiet or privacy. Priva Mobile Offices function like a typical conference room, where business can be done privately and productively.
- Comfortable. Most modes of transportation are uncomfortable for the rider. Upgrading to business or first class provides more opportunity for relaxation, but are prohibitively expensive for most travelers. Priva Mobile Offices offer comfortable, reclining chairs with leg rests, as well as snacks and drinks reminiscent of a first class experience.
- Productive. Ultimately, Priva Mobile Offices offer an edge in productivity. From the door of the home office to the door of the client’s office, riders can connect to high-speed wifi, project onto TV screens, and generally get work done at a rate similar to working out of a typical office. Compared to the various challenges of traditional modes of transportation, from waiting in line to being cramped in a small seat, Priva Mobile Offices offer a significantly more productive regional travel experience.
Why We Like it
Attractive group travel economics. Traveling with Priva currently costs about $2 per mile, which amounts to about $400 one-way to rent a Mobile Office for a 200-mile trip. For a single traveler, this cost is likely not significantly cheaper than a flight. The economics of Priva travel are really maximized with group travel.
If a team of 4 travels on a 200-mile trip, the cost per traveler is reduced to $100 one-way, which presents significant cost savings over other modes of transportation. Therefore, the key question is how many business trips are undertaken with companions. A clean statistic on solo versus group travel does not seem to exist, but only 27.5 percent of Americans indicate that they have ever traveled alone for business.
One can thus assume that the majority of business travel is undertaken in groups (which certainly makes sense, given that a common scenario for business travel is visiting clients as a consulting team), which is a promising sign for the size of Priva’s potential market.
Potential for autonomous vehicle integration. While increased utilization and technological investment can drive down Priva’s costs, truly superior margins will be achieved when Priva can introduce autonomous vehicles into their fleet. While opinions about the timeline for commercially-available autonomous vehicles vary among experts, it may be as little as 5 years until Priva could migrate to self-operating Mobile Offices. This advancement would significantly increase Priva’s profit margins.
Strong customer focus. Product-market fit is a major hurdle for most startups, with many taking years to develop the product that consumers truly want and some failing in the process. Priva has taken significant steps toward an accelerated understanding of product-market fit through strong initial user testing and feedback.
For instance, early customer input informed the design of Priva’s Mobile Offices: beta testers informed Priva that a typical “black car” layout wasn’t particularly transformative for them, as typical vehicles can be cramped and having conversations amongst a group of colleagues isn’t easy across the front and back seats. Therefore, Priva’s Mobile Offices are designed with four spacious, comfortable seats facing each other to maximize comfort and productivity.
B2B potential. Priva will be using 2019 to focus heavily on expanding their B2B contracts. Selling Priva services directly to firms that send employees on a lot of business trips, or better to travel management companies that can direct their clients toward Priva, is a large opportunity.
In the long term, Priva intends to sell itself to companies as a productivity product rather than a travel product, promising to give precious work hours back to professionals that would otherwise burn productivity through regional commutes.
Co-Founder and CEO Dagan Mishoulam worked in management consulting at Roland Berger, advising major automakers, tech companies, and mobility service providers on the future of the automotive industry and mobility. He also spent time at Chrysler and at Rivian, an electric vehicle startup where Dagan led teams in strategy, fundraising, marketing, and product. Dagan holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Oakland University, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University.
Co-Founder and COO Ryan Gee also worked in management consulting at Roland Berger, focusing on corporate strategy projects in autonomous, electric, and shared vehicles. Ryan also joined Dagan at Rivian, where he served in a variety of capacities including talent operations (scaling the company from 75 employees to over 400). Ryan received an MBA from Harvard Business School and two Bachelors of Science degrees, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, from Kettering University.
Both founders have significant experience in the transportation industry, both as business operators and thought leaders in the future of mobility. Dagan and Ryan’s similar career backgrounds are no coincidence; the pair founded Priva out of their deep experience in the automotive industry, but also because they have worked together at two prior companies and are confident in their professional compatibility.
nyone who has ever travelled for business can understand Priva’s straightforward product offering, which is simply better for business travel than any other alternative. Many key opportunities could lead to signifi cant success for the company, including B2B sales and autonomous vehicle integration.
Co-founders Dagan and Ryan have a deep background in the transportation industry and have the skills necessary to lead a disruption in the mobility space, particularly as we enter a new frontier of automotive travel.
At the current $5M valuation, we think the upside for the business can be significant, with a player like Uber of Lyft acquiring this company in 2 to 3 years to bolster it’s B2B business. Our main concern is that niche providers of aggregated consumer rideshare programs like Bridj in the past have failed as capital requirements for these businesses to scale can be significant.
Regardless, its unique market positioning and timing to market are improved to the likes of Bridj. Overall, we think this is a Deal To Watch.
Priva is leading a regional travel revolution, and we recommend that investors get involved.