The owner of the stately Mercedes-Benz brand is getting downright granola with the merger of a couple of startups from two of the US's crunchiest cities. Daimler AG is bringing its Moovel mobility-services division to the US. Moovel North America has been formed with the acquisition and merger of the Austin, Texas-based ride-sourcing company RideScout and Portland, Oregon-based mobile-ticketing service GlobeSherpa.

A far cry from selling Benzes to well-heeled gentry in the suburbs, Daimler is looking to capitalize on the growing urban market, noting in a statement Thursday that, "Daimler recognizes that increasing urbanization combined with the rise of the sharing economy has presented a new way to create transportation services for commuters of tomorrow." That's corporate speak for, "Hey, not everyone can lay down $70,000 or so for an SLK, so here are some options for the rest of you."

Specifically, Moovel North America is developing software called RideTap, which makes it easier to find the closest available transportation option at a particular moment. The strategy represents a step beyond Daimler's Car2Go car-sharing division, which also marked a move into more environmentally friendly transportation but is still rooted to the private automobile (that division, which deploys Daimler's Smart ForTwo vehicles, took the not-so-green step last month of removing electric vehicles from its San Diego fleet).

Germany-based Daimler is also following US counterpart General Motors into the ride-sharing fray dominated by tech-heavy companies such as Uber and Lyft. GM, which earlier this year created a new car-sharing service called Maven, also recently moved towards the ride-sharing market by acquiring some assets of the defunct ride-sharing service Sidecar and investing a half-billion dollars into Lyft. Take a look at the Moovel Group's press release below.

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RideScout and GlobeSherpa merge to become moovel North America: moovel N.A. builds products for the future of mobility

PORTLAND, OR (April 14, 2016) -- moovel Group GmbH announced today the successful merger of Austin-based RideScout and Portland, Ore.-based GlobeSherpa as moovel North America, LLC Simply referred to as "moovel," the company works to bring mobility solutions for public and alternative transportation options to North American cities through two distinctive but complementary products: moovel transit and RideTap.

"moovel is working to create a future for urban mobility where all forms of transportation, from public transit to rideshare to on-demand ride apps, break out of their silos and are organized into one well-connected experience, with public transit as the foundational core," said Nat Parker, CEO of moovel North America and co-founder/former CEO of GlobeSherpa. "Transportation is no longer just a question of options, but of convenience and ease of use. Our exceptional teams in Portland and Austin are in pursuit of the most seamless experience for both transportation providers and consumers to define the future of mobility."

The solutions provided by moovel work to organize all transportation information and booking/payment options into one connected experience for transportation providers, app companies, and consumers through these two products:

moovel transit: The industry leader in public transit mobile ticketing and payment solutions.
The moovel transit platform, formerly GlobeSherpa's TransitSherpa platform, is a suite of white-labeled mobile ticketing and payment solutions for the most innovative public transit authorities in North America. moovel transit also helps public transit apps integrate with the rest of the urban transportation ecosystem, including first/last mile options like bike share and on-demand car services. Mobile ticketing is ushering the future of transportation, bringing every transit provider and millions of riders into the ecosystem of modern, urban mobility. Currently moovel transit has 13 clients in the US – full list can be viewed here.

RideTap: A Software Development Kit (SDK) that allows any app to leverage a network of transportation partners in one easy integration.
An evolution of the RideScout app's functionality to power shared-use mobility, people using apps with RideTap installed will be able to easily find nearby ride options based on where they are right now. For example, transit apps can use RideTap to solve common first/last mile issues, or a messaging or restaurant review app can integrate RideTap to help their users get to their final destination. Through the RideTap network and the RideTap SDK, both transportation and non-transportation apps can provide a frictionless, real-time multimodal experience to their users. Currently operating in private beta, RideTap is piloting its first program in Portland, Ore. through the TriMet Tickets mobile app, where riders can request a Lyft or reserve a car2go. The product will launch to a broader audience later this year.

moovel Group GmbH was founded by Daimler, the company that invented the automobile and owns Mercedes-Benz, in order to seek answers to urban transportation challenges and discover new technologies to affect the way we'll move tomorrow. The global urban population is projected to grow approximately 1.84% per year between 2015 and 2020. This is in addition to the already demanding needs of public transportation riders who in 2014 took over 10.8 billion trips on public transportation, the highest annual ridership number in 58 years. Daimler recognizes that increasing urbanization combined with the rise of the sharing economy has presented a new way to create transportation services for commuters of tomorrow.

"At moovel, we believe that mobility should be an ecosystem; a group of interconnected transportation modes that form the fabric of our cities. Our goal is to innovate within this ecosystem, providing more choices and convenience to customers worldwide," said Jörg Lamparter, global CEO moovel Group GmbH. "Through moovel, Daimler is in pursuit of the best advancements that push the status quo with interoperable products built for transit agencies, app developers, and end consumers."

Former co-founders and CEOs of GlobeSherpa and RideScout will take executive roles at moovel. Nat Parker, co-founder and former CEO of GlobeSherpa, is now CEO of moovel NA; Joseph Kopser, co-founder and former CEO of RideScout, is now president of moovel NA. Both report to Jörg Lamparter, global CEO of moovel Group GmbH.

For more information on moovel North America, visit moovel.com/US

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