Go Sharing, which has a fleet of around 5,000 e-mopeds across in 30 cities in three countries The Netherlands, Belgium and Austria has picked up $60 million. The startup, based near Utrecht, plans to use the funding to expand its footprint for e-mopeds; add electric cars and e-bikes to its app; and continue building out the technology underpinning it all.
Go Sharing believes tech will be the answer to creating a profitable operation, using AI algorithms to optimize locations for e-mopeds, encouraging people to drop off in those locations with incentives like discounts, and keeping that network charged.
Germany, the UK and Turkey are next on Go Sharing’s list of countries, the company said.
The funding is being led by Opportunity Partners a firm based out of Amsterdam that also backs online supermarket Crisp, with the startup’s founders CEO Raymon Pouwels, Doeke Boersma, and Donny van den Oever also participating. A previous round of about $12 million came from Rabo Corporate Investments, the VC arm of the banking giant.
In a world where we now have many choices for getting around cities taxis, public transport, push and electric bikes, scooters, walking, carpools, car rentals or our own cars e-mopeds occupy an interesting niche in the mix.
They can be faster than bikes and scooters 25 km per hour is a typical speed limit in cities, 40 km per hour in less dense areas more agile than cars, completely quiet compared to their very noisy fuel-based cousins, and of course much more eco-friendly. For those managing fleets, they less likely to break down and need replacing than some of the other alternatives like e-bikes and e-scooters.
But they also represent a higher barrier to entry for picking up customers: riders need a license to operate them as you would other moving vehicles, and in some (but not all) places they need to wear helmets; and the operators of fleets need to sort out how required insurance will work and need special permits as a vehicle provider in most places, and they can also face the same issue as other vehicles like bikes and kick scooters of being a public nuisance when parked.
That mix of challenges and the fact that fleets can be expensive to operate and might even if all the boxes are ticked still not attract enough users has meant that the e-moped market has been a patchy one, with some startups shutting down, some cancelling cities after low demand, or retreating over and then returning with better safety measures.