18 Apr 19

Via partners up with Itochu and Mori in Japan

Via, for those not familiar with the name, is a mobility provider, but not like any other you might have heard of. In the mobility space, most providers are offering car-centric mobility or micromobility. Via looks at it from a different angle: public transit.

Why public transit?

In Europe and the US, car ownership has been the standard for almost a century, and infrastructure has been tailored to cater for the automobile. This is, however, not the case in many other regions. Asia, for instance, displays a low car-per-capita ratio; according to analysts, such as McKinsey, Asia’s future mobility model will be constructed around public transit rather than individualised solutions.

But even in the EU and the US, where public transport is not perceived as a valid alternative to a car, it’s not possible to imagine future mobility without some kind of public transport solution, be it state-organised or private.


This is where Via comes in. They offer an alternative to public transport, but this time more dynamic (on-demand), more comfortable (Mercedes-Benz vans) and with more adequate coverage (filling the gaps of public transport). The app connects multiple passengers who are heading the same way – it’s as simple as that. Obviously, this type of solution requires a bit of infrastructure and partnerships. Via uses proprietary software and likes to work in partnership projects with public transport, private transport, taxi fleets, large businesses and campuses, to name some.

Big trade and real estate

Via has now announced a deep partnership with Japanese companies Itochu and Mori. Itochu is a massive trading and investment company, created in 1858 and present in 63 countries. Mori Building Company is a famous Tokyo-based urban developer, famous for its “vertical garden” concept. Via calls the new deal a “strategic partnership”, implying investment, that will lead to Via coverage across Japan.

Proof of concept

Already a year ago, Via created the HillsVia solution for Mori employees in Tokyo’s fancy Roppongi Hills and Toranomon Hils. Employees could book high-end V-Class vans to move amongst the properties. The solution showcased Via’s potential, even in busy Tokyo traffic, but in addition, it demonstrated that an on-demand solution was compatible with Japanese business customs.


Via is already active in 15 countries, including Asian countries (Indonesia and Singapore). Via’s flexibility and Asia-proof commercial approach of state-of-the-art software in combination with local partnerships, is guaranteed to open more doors for the New-York based company.

Authored by: Yves Helven