May Mobility topples milestones with newly announced Grand Rapids, Minn. deployment

We’re excited to announce our next deployment in Grand Rapids, Minn. to launch this fall!

The Grand Rapids deployment marks several firsts for our company and the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry. Grand Rapids will receive the first commercial launch of the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS (S-AM) and will also host our largest on-demand area yet. May Mobility’s first rural AV route also puts accessibility and equity at the forefront with the inclusion of three first-ever ADA-compliant S-AM vehicles to better serve the Grand Rapids community. 

“This first-of-its-kind deployment is a pivotal next step for May Mobility, demonstrating our commitment to transportation accessibility and equity,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the city and our partners to meet the community needs and highlight the enormous opportunity for AVs to solve gaps in existing infrastructure.”

 

The pilot, called goMARTI, will offer free, on-demand rides to Grand Rapids visitors, employees and residents. The area will encompass more than 70 pickup and dropoff points spanning nearly 17 square miles, including restaurants, stores, fitness centers, pharmacies, churches, schools, entertainment and more. The deployment will offer locals daytime and evening services. 

“This project was developed with the collective voices of the Grand Rapids community,” said Praveena Ramaswami, community engagement manager for May Mobility. “We worked closely with the residents, businesses, and area organizations to understand how best to meet their needs, to help improve mobility and create greater access to their thriving city.”

Key project partners include the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the City of Grand Rapids, Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, Itasca County, The PLUM Catalyst, Via, University of Minnesota, Arrowhead Transit and Mobility Mania among others.

During the deployment, we hope to: 

  • Advance and inform the operation of automated vehicle technology in rural, winter conditions
  • Engage and educate the local community by providing real-world AV experiences 
  • Provide safe, accessible mobility for residents, especially those with transportation challenges
  • Understand what economic development this innovative pilot brings while attracting future talent and technology to the Iron Range

For more information and updates about goMARTI, visit gomarti.com.

Get to know May: Sheryl Seitz, VP of Marketing & Communications

We’re thrilled to introduce our new VP of Marketing & Communications Sheryl Seitz. Her strong background working across B2G, B2B and B2C makes her the perfect addition to drive our mission of transforming cities through autonomous vehicle (AV) technology. Read on to learn about her background and her plans for May Mobility.

What were your roles prior to May?

I’ve always been fascinated with emerging technologies and how they shape the world we live in. I worked for several market leaders including Apple and Samsung before leaving the corporate world for startups. The beauty of working in startups is that you can see your imprint on the business every day, which is enormously gratifying.

The common theme throughout my career is taking complex technologies, new concepts and ideas, and making them understandable on a global stage to the target audience. Helping customers understand the transformational value that technology can have excites me daily. I’ve led campaigns targeting a variety of stakeholder audiences from media and analysts to customers, investors, partners and shareholders.

What brought you to May?

I’m attracted to startups that are on a mission to make a real impact on the world and the customers they serve. May Mobility is solving the growing issue of transportation inequity and changing the way people move around cities. May’s vision for cities with reduced congestion, more green spaces and better land use instead of traffic jams and concrete parking blocks resonates with me, and that’s why I’m excited about the road ahead. I’ve worked in the geospatial and robotics industries serving transportation, logistics and automotive customers, and bring that experience to May.

Having worked at another Y Combinator startup, I was happy to learn that May Mobility has its origins in Paul Graham’s bootcamp for startups. His process for founding companies is second to none. The company is on a strong trajectory, and I’m excited to build brand awareness and a bold market position for the service that we bring to cities and riders.

What will you be doing as vice president of marketing and communications?

I’ll create and implement a go-to-market strategy to grow our brand globally and develop our growth strategy. Building a strong foundation in any market where we expand is key to May’s continued success. We work in tandem with our partners continually to bring the best riding experience wherever you see a May AV—which includes future sites in the U.S. and Japan.

My team covers GTM, brand, growth, community, PR, social, content and events. There’s a talented, smart team in place that I’m expanding with new roles. I will be hiring – spread the word!

What are you most excited about for May’s future?

I’m excited about helping governments, business and communities understand May Mobility’s offerings and the benefits that the service brings to the cities and communities it serves. We need to educate and inform the market more broadly so that cities and towns automatically think of May first.  Bringing better mobility to cities while also solving problems of traffic, congestion and emissions is a huge opportunity. Smart cities means greener environments and that is meaningful for the planet. Sustainability is a key to building cities of the future, and this is important to me personally. I look forward to the deep dive!

Which core value resonates the most with you?

Sweat the detailsTake the time to do it right, with safety being of paramount importance and a point of pride.

This resonates because it touches many aspects of May Mobility’s business. AVs must establish trust with customers and riders as vehicle safety and rider safety is of paramount importance and is the foundation for success.  Demonstrating this through real-world deployments will bring a greater understanding of the paradigm shift happening in the automotive industry.

Value personal relationshipsStart by listening with empathy. Get to know your colleagues and our customers’ needs.

I like this one too, because marketing is a team sport, and the marketing team must build strong relationships cross-functionally as well as with customers, partners and media. This is key to success. You get there by listening with empathy to understand a variety of opinions and perspectives. Good ideas can come from anywhere.

May Mobility closes $111 million Series C funding, begins preliminary development on Toyota’s next generation mobility platform

  • May Mobility garners commercial traction with partners leading the adoption of AV technology in the business-to-government and business-to-business sectors, including a project with MONET Technologies Inc. and SoftBank Corp. for an international route in Tokyo
  • May Mobility will continue collaborating with Toyota, with more deployments coming in late 2022 with the Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicle platform and preliminary development on Toyota’s e-Palette mobility platform
  • Insurance conglomerate backs AV technology, stating potential reduction in accidents.

May Mobility, a leader in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, today closed a $111 million Series C round of funding. Additionally, the company plans to continue to pursue its deployment programs using the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicle platform while beginning development on another vehicle design centered around mobility, Toyota’s e-Palette, signaling the next potential milestone as it seeks new ways to bring equitable mobility solutions to the masses.

A concept rendering of a Toyota e-Palette prototype, a next generation mobility platform on which May Mobility is starting preliminary development to integrate the company’s autonomous driving kit.

“With the close of this latest investment round, May Mobility will continue to accelerate growth in our technology, business development and platforms, all with a global reach,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “Our additional investors, as well as our continued strategic collaboration with Toyota and others, will enable us to march toward driver-out commercial operations in 2023 and enable our expansion into new markets as we roll out more Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicles now and look to next generation platforms, such as the e-Palette.”

Insurance Industry Supports AV Future

Joining Tokio Marine, State Farm Ventures® participated in the round, supporting May Mobility’s growth and becoming one of the first U.S.-based insurers to invest in AVs. With improving road safety as a key goal for May Mobility, the investment indicates the insurance industry’s growing support for AV operations to reduce road accidents.

“The insurance industry sees the future of mobility and is recognizing the importance of helping to design the way insurance will support autonomous vehicles in the future,” said Ryan Green, CFO of May Mobility. “Having partners like Tokio Marine and State Farm Ventures helps expedite that vision for the future of mobility.”

State Farm Ventures focuses on investing in start-ups developing technologies and products to fulfill customer needs in ways they may not expect from their insurance company. As the leading U.S. automobile insurer, they look to invest in technologies, services and capabilities that improve vehicle and pedestrian safety.

“May Mobility’s technology is a potential compelling advancement in the evolution of autonomous driving and may help to reduce accidents and improve road safety.” said Michael Remmes, Vice President, State Farm Ventures.  

Continuing collaboration with Toyota

In addition to the new round of funding, May Mobility is also continuing its collaboration with Toyota. Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicle platforms modified by May Mobility have already been launched for testing and demonstrations in Ann Arbor, with other public deployment locations anticipated in late 2022. The program also features an ADA-compliant up-fit through the company’s partnership with Braunability.

A Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS equipped with May Mobility’s autonomous driving kit will launch this fall as part of a new public on-demand AV deployment.

Furthermore, May Mobility has begun initial development work on incorporating the company’s ADK onto the Toyota e-Palette, a battery-electric vehicle platform that is positioned to further transform the future of mobility. With greater rider capacity and the expansion of more efficient transit services made possible from a platform like e-Palette, May Mobility will continue its mission to ultimately reduce traffic and the need for parking lots and garages, creating more livable green space.

“We are already seeing the benefits of using Toyota’s Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicle platform as it was designed from the ground up to interface with computers, and we look forward to future discussions on the use of Toyota’s e-Palette as an exciting opportunity to set new milestones as we transform mobility with an autonomous, electric vehicle platform. This platform, coupled with our technology, has the power and capability to accelerate the future of mobility,” said Olson. 

Investors Support Driver-Out Operations

Bringing the company’s total raised funding to date to $194 million, the round is expected to increase May Mobility’s engineering headcount, expand its global customer base, enhance rider experiences and further invest in technology advancements. With this round of funding, May Mobility has doubled down on its commitment to driver-out operations in 2023. SoftBank, State Farm Ventures, Next Century Ventures, SAIC, Wanxiang, Karma and 10x Group join the list of partners committed to the company’s mission of driving a greener, more accessible future through mobility. The round was led by SPARX Group Co., Ltd.’s Mirai Creation Fund II alongside Tokio Marine, Toyota Tsusho, Bridgestone Americas and returning investors Toyota Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, Cyrus Capital Partners, LG Technology Ventures and Maven Ventures, among others.

Gaining Traction with Commercial Partners

With its Series C round, May Mobility also garnered commercial traction with partners leading the adoption of AV technology in the business-to-government and business-to-business sectors. In addition to its previously-announced program with Bridgestone, May Mobility is working on a project with MONET Technologies and SoftBank for an international route in Tokyo.