Voi Technology, Swedish e-scooter sharing start-up, initiated a move to raise about $85 million from investors, and it will help the firm to reach profitability in the coming few years. Voi said that the Stockholm-based investment group Vostok New Ventures led the new round. Whereas, existing investors such as Raine Ventures, Balderton Capital, and Creandum also invested. This move comes eight months after the company last raised money. Voi’s CEO and co-founder, Fredrik Hjelm, said in an interview that they already saw some reasonable profitability in a few cities. He added, in 2020, they have expected to have a bundle of cities that become profitable over the whole year. And by 2021-2022, the firm should become profitable on a company basis.
The funding round of Voi comes against a backdrop of growing suspicion among investors about high-spending, high flying start-ups that lack a clear proposal for how they are going to generate profits. To break even, the firm says it will use the fresh capital to build-up work on its scooters with a kick to extend their lifespan. Also, it will award the software development to understand better where to place the vehicles during the night and see how users park them. A major point of frustration for some domestic authorities is that people are discarding scooters improperly on streets or in rivers. In response, some European and United States regulators fasten down on the scooter craze to avoid that type of behavior.
Permits for Scooter companies
San Francisco, introduced permits for scooter firms when two-wheelers flooded the city badly. Whereas, France took a move to ban people from riding them on sidewalks. In England, to ride scooters on pavement and roads is an illegal act; however, there is a restricted trial taking place in London. After a number of accidents and a minimum, one casualty encouraged Singapore last week to announce e-scooters prohibited except on bike paths. According to Hjelm, the firm takes its regulatory responsibilities seriously. He said their aim from the first day to deeply integrated into the transportation ecosystem of the city. Therefore, Voi attains this by helping make policy about issues like parking the vehicle and by getting the proper licenses for the cities it works in.
However, Voi is close to rigid competition from some worthy rivals of the United States. Buzzy start-ups such as Lime and Bird took their evaluations spike in 2018 as investors grouped to industry. But both these companies established only two years ago, remain unprofitable. In the meantime, Uber, as well as European rival Bolt, cross the threshold to put steps in the scooter market, adding additional competitive pressure on some of the start-ups. Whereas Hjelm said, he believes his firm has the ability to best its rivals by shifting their focus on getting to profitability. General partner at Voi shareholder Balderton, Lars Fjeldsoe said that since Uber made sense as an alternative to public transportation or other means of transportation such as driving yourself, it makes sense as a part of the short distance.
Fjeldsoe added that Voi has been working with Deutsche Bahn, a German rail network operator, to allow users to drop the scooters off at selected areas by train stations. Uber’s former executive, Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, said this is really about the last mile.
Brief History of Voi
Similar to its rivals, Voi is still a young start-up. Since launching in 2018 August, the company brought in four million users who took fourteen million rides with its e-scooters. However, it has not disclosed its assessment. Voi has plans to launch more means of transport ultimately. Hjelm said the firm plans to test electric bicycles next year. He said that the company doesn’t perceive scooters as a silver bullet.