Micromobility companies across the globe have progressed significantly in the past several years. Plenty of startups worldwide have raised venture capital (VC) or teamed with other companies via acquisitions to catapult themselves forward in the industry.
This momentum only showcases consumer demand for last-mile transportation. And that’s just for starters. Here’s a roundup of 2019 happenings and what to expect from the micromobility space in 2020.
Micromobility Year Review 2019
This past year encouraged massive VC funding and record-setting growth for many micromobility companies throughout the world. According to the numbers, this is only the beginning of the explosive growth.
New Funding Raised
The United States is getting a significant piece of the pie, too, as it relates to the global investment in the space. Both Bird and Lime reached billion-dollar valuations within their first year of inception, raising $275M in fresh funding and $310M in Series D funding respectively. Aside from some of the marquee names, several micromobility companies pursued VC funding successfully, including:
- Revel – $27.6M raised in Series A
- Scoot – $47M raised in Series B
- Helbiz – $15M raised in Series A
- Superpedestrian – $20M raised in Series C
And in Latin America, Grin and Yellow will soon merge and rebrand, forming Grow Mobility. What’s more, is that companies from all over the world are announcing significant VC raises, such as:
- Wind Mobility
- Pop Scoot
- Tier Mobility
Graphic by Base10 from source date: Public announcements, Crunchbase, Tracxn, Base10 research
New Cities That Offered Permits to Operators
Whether it’s due to a lack of supporting infrastructure or limiting regulations, only nine US states don’t offer any micromobility options. Who’s to say how long their disconnection will hold out, though?
Nevertheless, new US cities are continually opening their streets to the micromobility trend. For example, Jump, Lyft, Skip, and Spin recently won a bid to deploy up to 10,000 scooters in Washington DC. Italian newcomer, Helbiz, also won a permit to launch at least 2,000 e-bikes. Revel followed suit for both Brooklyn and Queens, offering last-mile options for both boroughs.
Here’s a review of various micromobility updates impacting other North American cities:
- Seattle, WA – Announced in August, a robust public engagement process to build a community-driven electric scooter-share pilot program is planned for launch as early as Spring 2020.
- Chicago, IL – Conducted a four-month pilot that granted permits to 10 e-scooter operators. The results of the program are currently under evaluation by city officials, pending a decision to grant permanent business licenses.
- Phoenix, AZ – The pilot program was launched on September 16, 2019, and will last six months. The City Council will evaluate the program after three months into the program and again after the pilot’s conclusion.
- Tuscon, AZ – The Pilot launched on September 12, 2019, with two operators: Bird and Razor. Each operator may begin with as many as 500 scooters (1,000 total), and it will run for six months.
- Santa Clara, CA – The city is in the final stages of developing a regulatory and permitting program for the use of shared mobility devices (bicycles and scooters) within city limits.
- Toronto, Canada – Just launched a pilot in September.
- Ontario, Canada – Ontario plans to run a five-year pilot that allows electric scooters on the province’s roads.
What’s New in 2020?
With 2019 being a year of dynamic expansion, experts predict a micromobility theme of professional development for 2020. Think about new rides and acquisitions as well as fresh regulatory updates.
New Types of Mobility
Although the days of e-scooters dominating the space are not so long gone, new types of mobility makes it feel that way. Here are some up-and-comers:
- Mopeds – Mopeds are on the up and up with Revel deploying 1,000 electric mopeds for rent in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
- Pogo Sticks – The Swedish startup Cangoroo is attempting to give scooters a run for their money by offering a safe, fun, and eco-friendly last-mile mode of transportation. They are promising to expand their pogo stick option into other cities, such as London, Paris, and San Francisco.
- Trikes – Electric trikes make bike-riding an option for those who are limited in some capacity. Whether you’re loaded down with luggage or facing physical limitations, trikes are quickly becoming a popular micromobility go-to.
- E-cargo Bikes – These bikes can haul nearly as much as a small car without the same impact on the environment. They are especially helpful in the delivery of food and packages, but families are turning to these bikes, as well.
- Skateboards – Skateboards, which provide a human-powered and sustainable mode of travel, have entered the space with Shred Boards launching in Oregon in the Spring.
Changes in Ridesharing
For some areas in the US, significant changes are planned for the ridesharing space in 2020. In California alone, the shift in gig job classification (AB5) could have a considerable impact on gig-based companies, such as Uber and Lyft.
That said, Uber’s insurance company, James River Group Holdings, Ltd., is canceling its policy with Rasier (an affiliate of Uber). According to J. Adam Abrams, the chairman and chief executor of James River, the Uber account hasn’t met their profitability expectations.
An affiliate of Gett, Juno, is shutting down its operations, beginning the shut-down in NYC on November 18, 2019. According to Gett CEO Dave Waiser, a strategic partnership with Lyft is in the future as well as a possible initial public offering (IPO). Still, amid the transition, Juno drivers will be encouraged to join Lyft ranks.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced a new fee structure that decreases ground transportation tax for shared rides in specific neighborhoods and increases it for shared and downtown rides. Aside from the Windy City, though, plenty more fees for drivers exist merely to operate in particular cities. This taxation of sorts is expected to continue, no doubt.
Lastly, in light of unfortunate ridesharing situations, North Carolina lawmakers have signed the Passenger Protection Act into law. This new regulation will require rideshare drivers to display a printed license plate number on the front of their vehicle as well as illuminated signage in their vehicle. Without both, rideshare drivers face a $250 fine. Also, this law makes assaulting or impersonating a rideshare driver a misdemeanor.
Acquisitions in the Space
When it comes to who bought out who, here’s the scoop:
- Ojo acquires Gotcha
- Scoot acquired by Bird
- The merger of Grin and Yellow to form Grow Mobility
- A partnership between Uber and Lime
The team here at Founder Shield strives to stay on top of micromobility trends, news, and industry knowledge. That said, here are the conferences we attended in 2019:
- Micromobility conference (Jan 2019, CA)
- Smart Cities Connect (May 2019, NY)
- Tech Crunch Sessions: Mobility (July 2019, CA)
- Co-Hosted private dinner event between insurance industry experts and sharing economy leaders (Sept 2019, NY)
- Micromobility conference (Oct 2019, Berlin)
- CoMotion (Nov 2019, CA)
Looking to 2020, our team plans to attend:
- CoMotion (Miami, April)
- Shared Mobility Summit (Chicago, March)
- Micromobility Conference (California, April)
Plenty of insurance carriers have struggled to wrap their policies around some genuine micromobility challenges. Chief among these is the risk of injury. Of course, some companies are meeting safety risks with technology and making headway. Still, in terms of insurance for micromobility, here are a few other trends we’ll see in 2020:
- On-demand insurance for per-trip coverage
- Companies must meet insurance thresholds to get a permit to operate
- For operators and manufacturers alike, insurance is critical to success in the micromobility space. Competitive permit applications, tight deadlines, and burdensome insurance requirements can cloud any company’s mission to advance the future of mobility.
- City officials require evidence of insurance, while operators face budgetary challenges before having permits issued, resulting in “chicken or the egg” scenarios.
Understanding the details of what coverage your company needs can be a confusing process. Founder Shield specializes in knowing the risks your industry faces to make sure you have adequate protection. Feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll walk you through the process of finding the right policy for you.
Want to know more about micromobility insurance? Talk to us! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or create an account here to get started on a quote.