Optibus offices. Photo: Facebook.

INTERNATIONAL – US-Israeli mobility technology company Optibus said on Wednesday it raised $40 million (R572mn) in a private funding round led by Insight Venture Partners and with a strategic investment from the Alibaba Group.

Existing investors, including Verizon Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, New Era Capital and Sir Ronald Cohen, also participated in the round.

Details of Alibaba’s stake were not disclosed.

Recently, Alibaba increased its stake in Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures to 51 percent, taking control of the film unit’s board.

Alibaba Pictures will issue one billion new shares to Alibaba at HK$1.25, valuing the exchange at roughly HK$1.25 billion ($159.9 million), the e-commerce firm said.

Optibus develops software to modernize mass transit systems and get them ready for smart city integration.

The company said its technology is being used by more than 300 cities to improve the quality of service, reduce costs, streamline operations and reduce congestion and emissions.

Since its previous funding of $12 million in 2017, Optibus has expanded its presence in North America and Europe and seen its sales grow by 400 percent, it said.