Archive for May, 2020

Singapore’s micromobility startup Beam raises $26 million

Beam, a Singapore-headquartered micromobility firm that offers shared e-scooters, has raised $26 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprint in Korea, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. Sequoia India and Hana Ventures led the two-and-a-half-year-old startup’s Series A financing round, while several more investors from Asia Pacific region including RTP Global, AppWorks, Right Click, Cherubic and RedBadge Pacific participated, Beam said. The startup has raised $32.4 million to date, a spokesperson told TechCrunch. Beam, like Bounce and Yulu in India, offers electric scooters in the aforementioned five markets. Electric and gasoline scooters have become popular in several Asian nations and elsewhere as people look for alternative transportation mediums to move around faster and at less cost. While these vehicles make inroads into various markets, it’s also not uncommon to find these scooters abandoned carelessly in the streets. Beam said unlike other startups, it incentivizes its riders through in-app offers to park the scooters at predetermined spots. “I’m really excited about our new technology and its ability to reduce the problems associated with randomly scattered scooters around a city. This helps us to further improve our industry-leading vehicle retention rates, reduce operational costs, and most importantly, benefits communities by keeping city streets neater,” said Beam co-founder and chief executive Alan Jiang. Beam, which did not disclose how many customers it has amassed, will use the fresh capital to grow its operational and engineering focus and grow deeper in its existing markets, it said. It will also “accelerate” the launch of its third-generation e-scooter, the Beam Saturn, which features swappable batteries, improved build, to more markets, it said. Abheek Anand, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital India, said Beam’s collaboration with regulators, technology, and insights into the transportation landscape stand to give it an edge in the Asia Pacific region. The startup’s fundraising comes at a time when many young firms, especially those operating in transportation category, in Asia are struggling to raise capital. Beam said it had implemented stringent cleaning and operations practices to limit the possibility of virus transmission to allay riders’ concern.

The Station: Amazon eyes Zoox, Aurora goes back to school and Cabana hits the road

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every Saturday in your inbox. Hi and welcome back to The Station, a newsletter dedicated to all the present and future ways people and packages move from Point A to Point B. I’m your host Kirsten Korosec, senior transportation reporter at TechCrunch. The mobility world got busy this week. Really. busy. This is gonna be a long one, buckle up. Take a look at the most recent survey we conducted with a bunch of venture capitalists about mobility and what areas interest them most. We talked to Ernestine Fu with Alsop Louie Partners, Stonly Baptiste and Shaun Abrahamson with Urban Us, Shahin Farshchi with Lux Capital, Kate Schox with Trucks VC and Jeff Peters of Autotech Ventures. Reach out and email me at [email protected] to share thoughts, criticisms, offer up opinions or tips. You can also send a direct message to me at Twitter — @kirstenkorosec. Alright, time to dig in. Vamos. Micromobbin’ Uber tossed more than 20,000 JUMP bikes into a recycling yard following its deal to offload the JUMP brand to Lime. A photo below, courtesy of Cris Moffitt, shows a sliver of the thousands of bikes at the yard in North Carolina. “The extent of waste is unfathomable,” the Bike Share Museum said in a tweet. Since then, Tier Mobility CEO and co-founder Lawrence Leuschner said he wants to take some of those bikes, “repair them, and give them a second life – as we do for all of our vehicles,” he wrote on LinkedIn. Image Credits: Cris Moffitt Keaks (Kirsten Korosec) has been working on a big(ish) story about JUMP for the last week. Stay tuned and/or holler at her if you have any tips. Meanwhile, we noticed Superpedestrian, the startup that makes self-diagnosing electric scooters, has teamed up with Zagster. Superpedestrian quietly launched LINK, its shared electric scooter service in partnership with Zagster in Fort Pierce, Florida in late December. As of at least February 2020, Zagster had an agreement with Superpedestrian’s LINK to manage the fleet of shared scooters in Kansas, according to city commission documents. In March, the city council in Manhattan, Kansas authorized the city to negotiate a permitting contract with Zagster to run a six-month electric scooter pilot in partnership with Superpedestrian’s LINK. Over in Europe, long-distance ridesharing startup BlaBlaCar said it’s expanding to scooter sharing. The company doesn’t plan to operate its own fleet of scooters. Instead, BlaBlaCar is partnering with Voi, a European e-scooter service that has raised $136 million over multiple rounds. Voi scooters will feature three different brands — Voi, BlaBlaCar and BlaBla Ride. — Megan Rose Dickey Deal of the week It’s not a deal yet — well, as far as we know, but I’d be remiss not to highlight it here. I’m talking, of course, about the WSJ report that Amazon is in advanced talks to acquire self-driving vehicle startup Zoox. Zoox is […]