CNBC has learned that group transportation and software-as-a-service start-up Swoop have won a deal with the NFL to provide rides for the 2022 Super Bowl in Los Angeles, with major events looming again.
The company will provide transportation before, during, and after the Super Bowl. This could include transportation of executives, NFL staff, and others to pre-game events and team transportation to and from SoFi Stadium. The deal, closed on March 31, could be worth more than $ 1 million, Swoop co-founder Ruben Schultz said in an interview on Thursday.
“It’s huge for the company and very big for the industry too. During the pandemic, this was another industry that was a little overlooked. If you do event or group transportation, people weren’t looking for it,” said Schultz. “Seeing these kinds of events is a great sign.”
With vaccines rolling out in the US and expectation of mass gatherings growing, offers like this chauffeured transportation company offering rides for special occasions like weddings and retreats are on the rise.
Founded in 2016, Swoop started out as a transportation booking company for events and groups across the country. It has worked with companies like Google and Amazon. Swoop has since been expanded to include a software-as-a-service platform that allows smaller transport companies to manage their fleets and communicate with customers. It can also serve as a payment hub.
According to Crunchbase, the company raised $ 3.2 million in a seed funding round led by Signia Venture Partners last July. Several angel investors also attended, including former Uber product manager Manik Gupta and former CEO Kim Fennell.
The injection came as tour operators, including hail and chauffeur services, were hardest hit by pandemic restrictions. People were less likely to leave their homes and avoid travel, and large conferences that used to rely on shuttles or buses had been canceled.
Schultz said the company sees business picking up as Covid-19 vaccinations roll out and states begin easing travel restrictions.
The company declined to provide booking numbers throughout the pandemic, but said that in states like Florida and Texas, these are 80% pre-pandemic. Schultz expects travel to return to normal before the end of the year, adding that September and October already seem busy for weddings and corporate retreats.
Swoop isn’t alone in his recovery.
Lyft announced in mid-March that it expects positive weekly hail growth year over year and each additional week through the end of the year, unless coronavirus conditions worsen significantly. It added that it expects its hailstorm volume to increase more than 100% year on year as it begins to “grasp the significant impact Covid-19 had on our business a year ago”.
Uber, which this week announced a $ 250 million driver incentive, also said the company is “slowly coming back”.
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