The investment will support the expansion of FlixTrain into new EU countries following the liberalisation of the European rail market in 2020, while also growing the product within the German market where FlixTrain already operates three cross-country routes.

Long-time investor HV Holtzbrinck Ventures also participated in the round through a joint co-investment with European Investment Bank. The newest investors join existing shareholders including growth equity firm General Atlantic and technology investor Silver Lake.

Reuters reported the funding round raised around €500m, although FlixMobility declined to comment on the size of the investment.

FlixMobility says the equity raised will be used for global expansion, including the introduction of bus services in South America and Asia in 2020, along with the launch of new products such ride sharing platform FlixCar.

“What began as a German startup in 2013 has evolved into a strong global mobility platform that is transforming the way millions of people travel across Europe and the United States,” says Mr Jochen Engert, founder and CEO of FlixMobility.

“Through our strategic partnership with TCV and Permira, which have decades of experience and a portfolio of world-class technology companies, we will continue to drive our growth to more people around the world with FlixBus, FlixTrain, and soon also FlixCar; smart and green travel while strengthening our position in existing markets.”

“With our expertise in the technology sector, we will support the strong management team of FlixMobility in the next phase of the growth strategy,” says Mr Stefan Dziarski, partner at Permira. “The focus is on further internationalisation, acquisitions and the expansion of the train business.”

Dziarski and Mr John Doran, general partner at TCV, will join FlixMobility’s board of directors.

FlixMobility was launched in 2013, and in 2018 carried 45 million passengers across FlixBus and FlixTrain services to more than 2000 destinations. The operator expanded to the United Sates in the same year and now offers services to 29 countries.

FlixTrain was launched in Germany in 2018, and in 2019 the company applied for track access in Sweden and France in anticipation of the upcoming liberalisation of Europe’s rail network in 2020.

In May, the operator launched a new passenger service linking Berlin with Cologne, the third long-distance route in Germany in addition to the Cologne - Hamburg and Berlin - Stuttgart services.