US-based micro-mobility startup LINK to launch soon in Europe: Should Bird and Lime be worried?

The coronavirus has impacted businesses in different ways. Many businesses that relied on customers walking in saw a significant drop in revenue during the lockdown. On the other hand, cloud-based companies observed a significant increase in the demand for their services. But with the lockdown now easing up, travel and micro-mobility is another section, which is expected to grow significantly. LINK is a new entrant in the micro-mobility scene that is backed up by well-known names and is looking to make a mark in the EU’s micro-mobility scene. 

LINK to launch advanced e-scooters in Europe and UK

LINK is a shared micro-mobility division of the company Superpedestrian, a Boston-based micro-mobility startup. The former was launched last month after Superpedestrian acquired a Boston-based micro-mobility startup Zagster’s fleet operations business. The company is all set to expand its services to the EU. 

While the company has not revealed the exact cities and launch dates, Silicon Canals has learned that it is currently in discussion with 15 cities across the UK, Spain, and Italy, and expects to launch in at least 10 cities by the end of 2020.

“LINK’s scooters are built for city riding, and you can feel the difference,” says Assaf Biderman, CEO of Superpedestrian. “We see LINK as part of a new era of micro-mobility. We’ve custom engineered our vehicles to increase rider safety and enhance compliance, and we’re committed to building long-term partnerships with cities.”

Rapid hiring hints at a big upcoming launch

Most new companies are going slow amid the coronavirus but this doesn’t seem to be the case with LINK. The company is making a slew of strategic hires with the aim of leveraging their expertise for a successful commercial launch of its operations across Europe. It has recruited Haya Verwoord Douidri – Bird’s former Head of Policy for Southern Europe, Benelux, and the Middle East – to join as Vice President for EMEA.

Additionally, to support its anticipated UK expansion, LINK has also hired Bird alum Francisco Madaleno as Senior Operations Manager, and JUMP alum Joanna Jacob as Senior Manager for City Partnerships and Proposals. Manuel Ortiz Lázaro, Lime’s former Director of Policy for Spain & Portugal, and micro-mobility veteran Tim Caswell are also brought onboard on advisers.

LINK; The first self-diagnostic micro-mobility scooter

Superpedestrian is well-known for developing the Copenhagen Wheel. The company has also developed a self-assessing system that is said to aid in the longevity of a vehicle. LINK’s vehicle fleet comes equipped with the same proprietary “Vehicle Intelligence System (VIS)”. This system is said to offer self-protection technology that performs real-time analysis on a vehicle and resolves potential issues in real-time, minimising risk to the rider and the vehicle.

LINK claims its vehicles are highly-resilient and can last for over 2500 rides and travel up to 90km on a single charge. These numbers notably above the current industry standard, but it remains to be seen how the company will perform in the European market. The company also aims to distinguish itself by collaborating with cities, offering advanced e-scooters equipped with new technologies, and following compliance with regulations such as speed limits and no-ride zones. 

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The Novel Legal Strategy Bringing This ICO-Backed ‘Micro-Mobility’ Startup to Court – CoinDesk – CoinDesk

The Novel Legal Strategy Bringing This ICO-Backed ‘Micro-Mobility’ Startup to Court – CoinDesk  CoinDesk
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E-mobility startups in France: COVID-19 boost for micromobility?

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages, public life in many countries is grinding to a halt. While there is an exponential increase in both the patient caseload and casualties across the world, there is an economic downturn that has forced businesses to either slowdown or shut down operations. Among the worst-hit businesses is the mobility industry.

COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have a lasting impact on the mobility industry as it brings about changes in the technology, consumer behaviour, and regulatory trends. The transmission of the disease might make many people less inclined towards the use of shared mobility but accelerate the deployment of electrification of vehicles that will reduce CO2 emissions.

In the meantime, a report by Bike and Scooter Rental market estimates the global bike and scooter rental market to rise to nearly $ 7 billion by 2026. This rise in market value can be attributed to the growth of demands for environment-friendly and emission-free modes of transportation.

Furthermore, a recent study by Harvard University highlighted the correlation between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality. It concludes that even a slight increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate. This makes it important for mobility solutions to come forward and reduce the particulate matter in air during the COVID-19 crisis. And, this scenario has increased in the demand for e-mobility solutions with startups such as Cityscoot, Lime, Uber, Lyft, Bird, etc. dominating this industry.

Talking about the impact of COVID-19, Paris saw a 60% drop in NO2 emissions and a 20-30% improvement in air quality and reached a level that was not seen in the past 40 years, adds a report. These improvements are highly related To the absence of fuel burning vehicles that brings in a necessity for electric vehicles. Eventually, there is a need to accelerate electric vehicles to bring about a better living environment. Here is a slew of French electric mobility startups that are shining well during the COVID-19 crisis.

Picture credits: EcoVelo

EcoVélo

Founder/s: Sébastien Bourbousson.
Funding: €2 million
Founded year: 2013

EcoVélo is a turnkey solution for self-service electric bikes for cities. With onboard technology and XXL ticketing revolutionises the use of self-service bicycles. It is available both in classic and electric versions wherein the latter can be installed sans civil engineering or electrification of terminals. Users can choose from a wide range of vehicles designed for self-service such as city bikes, electric bikes, mountain bikes, cargo bikes and more. The box fitted on these bikes provides access to a range of functions such as NFC, GPS, screen keyboard interface, updates, and assistance levels among others.

Picture credits: Zeway

Zeway

Founder/s: Amaury Korniloff, Stéphanie Gosset
Funding: €15 million
Founded year: 2019

Zeway works with the mission to reinvent the electric scooter market segment. The company wants to bring major urban changes to respond to environmental challenges, and come up with an unconstrained electric mobility solution. Zeway is a new player in the French e-mobility market offering personal electric mopeds with swappable batteries in a network of stations installed throughout the city. The swappable batteries can be recharged in less than one minute. This innovative service aims to foster the shift towards electric mopeds with a smarter and faster way.

Earlier this month, Zeway secured investment from Fonds de Modernisation Ecologique des Transports (FMET) managed by Demeter alongside others such as InnovAllianz fund managed by Allianz France, WaterStart Capital fund managed by NCI to launch the service.

Picture credits: Carlili

Carlili

Founder/s: Arnaud De Cazenove, Vincent Moindrot, Matthieu Charron
Funding: €3.1 million
Founded year: 2015

Carlili redefines vehicle rental standards such as pooling of private fleets, digital services, and leading delivery service to promote a change in the mobility industry. Carlili offers an efficient service and platform that is easy to use so that it can meet the existing challenges in the industry and the evolutions of the future. The on-demand car rental solution lets users book a vehicle in a few clicks and get it delivered at their doorsteps. The delivery and collection are managed by professional agencies and carsitters. In March 2020, Carlili secured funding of €2 million from Caisse des depots.

Picture credits: Cityscoot

Cityscoot

Founder/s: Bertrand Fleurose
Funding: €78.6 million
Founded year: 2014

Cityscoot is one of the leading scooter-sharing service providers that lets users book scooters via its official app in just a few clicks. This startup lets users access a network of electric scooters for short distance trips in the city. Via this app, users can pick up and drop off electric scooters any time. Back in 2019, Cityscoot teamed up with Uber to let commuters in Paris book electric mopeds and pay directly via the Uber app. Earlier this year, Cityscoot secured €23.5 million funding from Demeter and Allianz France with the intention to open its service in two new European cities this year and expand its fleet of electric mopeds.

Picture credits: Pony

Pony

Founder/s: Clara Vaisse, Paul-Adrien Cormerais
Funding: €2.2 million
Founded year: 2017

Pony aims to decentralise ownership of vehicles as it believes that shared vehicles should belong to those who use them. It is the first shared micro-mobility scheme that lets users acquire and share ponies and ensure that profits remain within the local economy. Pony changes the way the world goes around by eliminating limits, hassle and docking of its vehicles. Recently, the startup revealed that future Pony bikes and scooters will have renewable batteries that can last up to 10 years. And, the carbon footprint from the company’s vehicles is likely to be reduced by 52%.

Picture credits: Moustache Bikes

Moustache Bikes

Founder/s: Emmanuel Antonot, Grégory Sand
Funding: NA
Founded year: 2011

Moustache Bikes is the strong conviction that electric bikes represent an incredible opportunity for the development of the use of the bicycles. It operates with an innovative, contemporary and qualitative vision. Being a customer-centric mobility service, it offers unique bikes that combine comfort, design, and ergonomics. There is a balance bike for learning and is the only one sans electric assistance. The bikes offered by this startup have contemporary handlebars and each bike is unique and is recognisable giving a strong Identity to these bikes.

Main image picture credits: Cityscoot

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.

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Why micromobility may emerge from the pandemic stronger than before

Since its inception, shared micromobility services have been in a precarious position — one supported by millions of dollars in venture capital. But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more turmoil upon an industry that has long struggled with unit economics. It has led to mass layoffs, operation shutdowns across several markets and more consolidation.

Despite the struggles of individual operators, micromobility as technology will come out of this stronger than before, industry analyst Horace Dediu tells TechCrunch.

Dediu, an analyst who coined the term “micromobility” and founded Micromobility Industries, sees the silver lining in the pandemic for micromobility as it relates to the adoption of public transit alternatives. With ongoing concerns about the disease and social distancing, consumers may look to alternative modes of transportation — ones that require fewer interactions with strangers. But simply because a certain technology takes off doesn’t mean the current slate of operators will benefit.

“The companies involved may not survive a crisis,” Dediu says. “We don’t remember the fact there were 3,000 automobile companies in the United States prior to Henry Ford’s Model T. We don’t remember all the electrical suppliers out there and the consolidation that took place in the electrical field with Westinghouse. There’s a lot of historic references we can cite. But the fact of the matter is that up until the crisis there was an over-investment where probably too much capital was allocated to the industry chasing business models which are not sustainable…I think there will be a washout with a kind of consolidation and we’re seeing that already.”

Earlier this month, for example, Uber sold off JUMP to Lime, while simultaneously leading a $ 170 million investment in the micromobility startup. That funding round brought Lime’s valuation down 79%, to $ 510 million, according to The Information. Last April, Lime was valued at $ 2.4 billion.

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