Detroit-based transit service startup Splitting Fares Inc., better known as SPLT, has been acquired by Germany’s Robert Bosch GmbH.
Terms of the deal, which was announced Wednesday, were not disclosed.
Splitting Fares will be an independent entity under Bosch as a wholly owned subsidiary. CEO Anya Babbitt and SPLT’s management team will remain in place under Bosch.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s totally hands off, but there is a deep respect and understanding (from Bosch) that not only the team needs to be intact — because no one knows this business like we do — to succeed,” Babbitt said in a phone call from Germany where she signed the deal. “They understand that why SPLT is successful is not the technology, it’s the people.”
Babbitt said her company’s board, of which she’s a member, turned down several acquisition offers in the past before agreeing to Bosch.
The company, which lets employers set up app-based ride-sharing programs for their employees, moved its headquarters to Detroit from New York City as part of the TechStars Mobility startup accelerator and landed its first major customer, Detroit-based DTE Energy Co., in 2015.
Since, it’s expanded to several countries and several customers, including Bosch, Magna International and Honda. In fact, its work with Bosch in Mexico in 2016 led to the auto supplier’s pursuit of the startup, Babbitt said.
Employing 25 in Detroit, California, Germany, London and Mexico, SPLT is expected to expand into new markets and new software, Babbitt said.
“We’re differentiating; we’re not just a carpooling platform anymore,” she said. “We’re now integrating bus schedules and shuttles. We’re incorporating all the ways of commuting and looking to integrate that medium even further.”
Babbitt said the company plans to expand to other Latin American countries throughout 2018.
It also plans to expand its non-emergency medical transportation service for senior citizens, in partnership with Lyft, that it launched in metro Detroit this year. Under the agreement, Lyft provides the rides and SPLT schedules and handles insurance reimbursement, Medicare qualifications and reporting to health care systems.
As part of the Techstars program, SPLT got $120,000 in funding from Detroit-based Fontinalis Partners LLC and Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon Ventures in 2015. It also won the $100,000 Pritzker Foundation Award at the sixth annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge in Chicago.
Babbitt was named a Crain’s 40 Under 40 honoree in 2016 and a Crain’s Change Maker in 2017.