Neuron Mobility, an e-scooter startup based out of Singapore, is looking out to expanding its e-scooter services at a global level. To achieve this, it has added about $12M to Series A, for boosting e-scooter services in Australia and New Zealand. Jointly led by Australian venture capital organization Square Peg along with GSR ventures, the total funds in this round have now reached about $30.5 million, owing to this latest addition.
Neuron Mobility, which has its operations in Australia and New Zealand, also functions in many Southeast Asian markets. It made an official announcement with regards to Series A sometime around December 2019.
Neuron Mobility focuses on providing more and more electric scooters and bikes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic phase. Currently, not many people are using their cars very frequently, as many of them have been working remotely. Moreover, due to the rapid spread of the virus, many movement restrictions are in place, thus preventing people from using their private vehicles. If people have to step out to purchase their daily necessities, then these electric bikes and scooters come to their rescue as people have started preferring them to their cars and cabs provided by ride-hailing services. These e-scooters are quite helpful for traversing short distances.
Zachary Wang, the company’s chief executive, stated that the management decided on going to Series A+ instead of jumping directly to Series B. Of late, quite a lot, many cities are open to the ideology of “micro-mobility.” Moreover, an e-scooter provides people an option to travel individually, which may help maintain social distancing during these pandemic times. This facility also reduces a lot of pressure on the public transport system, making it less crowded.
Wang further stated that “We’ve been experiencing tremendous growth in ANZ, and the pandemic has made us fast track our plans.” The chief executive also added that they are “constantly evaluating opportunities across APAC.”
The money received as part of the latest funding would be used to fast-forward Neuron Mobility’s plans of extending its services in Australia and New Zealand. Presently, the firm has its services spread out across nine cities within these countries. These include Auckland in New Zealand and Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Canberra, and Townsville in Australia, amongst many others. In the next year, the organization is looking forward to expanding its services to five new cities. Keeping this in mind, Neuron Mobility would be hiring an additional 400 more people in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Neuron Mobility would also be setting its first foot in the United Kingdom by launching its services in Slough. It would be happening towards the end of this year.
The e-scooter startup claims that there were hardly any takers for these scooters in Australia and New Zealand before the coronavirus pandemic. Only one in about five users opted for the e-scooter ride. However, users in both these locations have now increased the scooter usage. The average distances taken by these scooters have risen by 23% to 2.6 km. Simultaneously, the average time taken by these rides has also increased by almost 10%, which is now about 14 minutes.
The charges imposed by Neuron Mobility for their scooter rides are also quite affordable, depending on the market in which they are operating. For instance, Brisbane users have to pay one Australian dollar (about 68 US cents) to start a trip, post which they need to pay about 38 Australian cents for every minute of the ride. The e-scooter can touch speeds of up to 25 km/hour.
Other bike-sharing startups like Ofo, Reddy Go, and Obike were earlier operating in Australia but stopped their services due to a few issues. City councils were not very happy viewing bikes being left just like that on sidewalks and in parks. Lime, another bike-sharing service, is still functional in a few Australian cities. However, in June, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found some safety-related issues with its Generation 2 scooters.
Wang stated that Neuron Mobility would be expanding its services to different cities after a lot of thought process, rather than random expansion of the e-scooter services. It would be holding discussions with city councils and updating its services based on their needs and requirements. After Singapore, Neuron Mobility concentrated towards Australia and New Zealand as they felt “both countries have cities that are highly suitable for micro-mobility in terms of infrastructure and regulations,” according to Wang. He also added that the city councils are quite interested “to push the boundaries of what can be done with technology to make programs better and safer, and that suits our way of thinking.”