Scooters, a common sight on the streets of Taiwan, provide commuters an alternative to cars and trucks in the country’s densely-populated cities. But they likewise contribute to pollution and loaded parking spaces. Over the past few year, numerous companies sanctuary taken on the challenge of developing more environmentally-friendly options to conventional gas scooters. Gogoro is probably best-known globally for its electrical SmartScooters, which are now the classification’s top-sellers in Taiwan. While less recognized outside of the country, however, scooter-sharing startup WeMo has grown steadily since launching in 2016. It now has a fleet of more than 7,000 scooters in three of Taiwan’s greatest cities and says users take about one million trips monthly.
WeMo recently announced it has actually raised a multi-million Series A led by AppWorks, making it the Taiwanese equity capital firm’s very first wise movement investment. The funding is being used to expand beyond Taipei City, New Taipei City and Kaohsiung, WeMo’s present markets, with strategies to go worldwide, too, introducing initially in Southeast Asian countries.
In Taiwan, WeMo competes with iRent, an automobile and scooter rental service, as well as GoShare, the mobility-sharing platform Gogoro released a year ago.
WeMo co-founder and president Jeffrey Wu informed TechCrunch that his business differentiates due to the fact that from the start, it has concentrated on creating wise tech particularly for sharing scooters.
Instead of developing their own electric vehicles, like Gogoro, WeMo partnered with Kymco, among Taiwan’s biggest scooters brand names. Each scooter is equipped with an internet-connected black box that was established in-house by WeMo.
The black boxes allow WeMo to handle its fleet’s batteries, while supplying data from flights, including traffic and road quality (for instance, it spots when streets are bumpy) that can be shared with policymakers to enhance transportation facilities. The black boxes also connect with WeMo’s user app, showing where scooters are readily available, unlocking them and sending out informs about traffic conditions.
WeMo started working on its service in 2015, about a year before releasing with a preliminary fleet of 200 cars. Prior to cofounding WeMo, Wu was a specialist at McKinsey and Company.
“I was going back to my background of being a strategy consultant and at the time, my co-founder and I chose we wished to do something in Taiwan that was very various from how individuals had actually practiced service in the past, since there were a lot of different macro-trends changing the environment,” he stated.
“Obviously the shared economy sector was just flourishing and at the very same time, mobile-first technology was starting to prevail. However we realized that the transportation sector had not changed in an extremely, very long time, so we believed if we are able to use the sharing economy or pay-as-you-go concept paired with green lorries, and supply that on an enormous scale to customers, we might relocate to a greener, smarter and easier form of transport.”
Due to the fact that of the number of unused scooters he saw parked on the side of streets day after day, Wu likewise sensed a market opportunity. In spite of being one of the most common transport methods in Taiwan, finding parking in significant cities is typically an inconvenience, which implies lots of scooters are underutilized.
WeMo fleets are located in parking lots, and scooters can be opened through the user app. Rental fees have different tiers, consisting of per minute and month-to-month plans and per hour rates. The app is readily available in English and chinese, to serve regional riders in addition to travelers. Riders can likewise now sign up accounts and rent scooters through LINE, the most widely-used messaging app in Taiwan.
To prepare for expanding into new markets, Wu said part of WeMo’s new financing is being used to expand its research and development center in Taiwan. The business prepares to hire approximately 100 software and hardware engineers, especially ones who have experience in self-driving innovation, car telematics and artificial intelligence. Wu said WeMo’s strategy is to be a “mobility-as-a-service” platform, dealing with partners to introduce scooter-sharing services in brand-new markets.
“Over the past 5 years, people have become utilized to shared movement services, however five years ago it wasn’t such an industrialized space, so we needed to develop the innovation and applications,” Wu said. “Now we’re looking at what the future of mobility must appear like, and how we use IoT technology to expand outside of transportation and use our information to help users steer more quickly in their cities.”
Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.