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Moovo collaborates with Taiwan tech giant Wistron to build the next-generation electric micro-mobility sharing/rental platform with a focus on e-bikes, already operating in around 20 cities internationally.
The Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted everyone's lifestyle. People start to get used to social distancing. Instead of commuting with crowded public transportations like buses and subways, more and more people choose to use so-called personal mobility devices, , especially electric bikes. E-bikes not only drastically reduce the effort for riders to go long-distance, but also can meet energy-saving and carbon reduction trends.
According to a research institute's estimate, the compound annual growth rate(CAGR) for the e-bike market in the US and Europe will reach 17% during the next 10 years. Deloitte also predicts that 130 million units of e-bikes would be sold between 2020 - 2023, which shows solid evidence that e-bikes are getting increasingly popular.
Moovo, an Asia-based startup focused on building the next-generation electric micro-mobility platform, was founded by former Mobike Head of International Operations Mark Lin and former TrendMicro software and Mobike IoT expert Jeffrey Chang. They foresee the irreversible trend for micro-mobility and Mobility as a Service. As a result, they develop an e-bike and electric micro-mobility sharing/rental platform, with total solutions covering hardware, software and internet of things (IoT) modules.
Actually, in 2016, as IoT technology became mature, people were already building the bike-sharing business to address the strong demand for micro-mobility. The business model also gained substantial attention from global venture capital; however, business and financial models that were otherwise solid went awry due to over-supply of capital and lack of government intervention. Mark Lin was then working as Head of International Operations in Mobike, which was the world's largest shared bicycle operator and he had helped Mobike expand the business to the global markets including the US, Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Australia.
While working at Mobike, Mark got the first-hand experience to witness the rise and fall of bicycle sharing business. He observed that one of the reasons the bike-sharing sector suffered was because of capital over-supply and lack of government intervention. According to the data, more than $2 billion dollars flew into the bike-sharing business in the first three quarters of 2017, resulting in bike-sharing companies' over-expansion, which, along with mismanagement, caused lots of chaos like the well-known "bicycle graveyard", massive piles of bicycles were stolen and damaged.
Although the bike-sharing/rental business didn't go as planned a few years ago, Mark Lin still strongly believes in the solid fundamentals of this business. First of all, the rental business is scalable and profitable for sure. Secondly, there is a steady and growing demand for this service. Third, he observes customer acquisition cost is low in this business. Fourth, most importantly, he sees the big data potential. Last but definitely not the least, it's a good business with tremendous social impact.
At the same time, electric vehicle company Tesla was disrupting the automotive industry. Tesla's market value had been growing and even surpassed the largest automaker Toyota in June 2020. Mark Lin had faith that the micro-mobility industry will go through the same revolution like Tesla in the automotive industry.
Eyeing the opportunity in the micro-mobility sector, Mark Lin partnered with his long-time friend Jeffrey Chang, former TrendMicro software and Mobike IoT expert, to establish Moovo, and aim at building a fully modularized 2-wheeler micro-mobility platform to serve a wide-ranging user base, with a focus on e-bikes to capture the latest micro-mobility trend.
Mark and Jeffrey started Moovo in Singapore first. "Singapore government has the most stringent regulations for managing micro-mobility-sharing operators, if we are able to comply with Singapore's regulations, then we can expand our platform to the global stage," said Mark.
To meet the Singapore government's specifications for bicycle-parking, Moovo applies Electronic Geo-Fences System to the platform, which means every e-bike has to park in QR code-enabled designated areas. Furthermore, the user needs to take a photo of the e-bike to confirm the e-bike is in the right place. "We proved that parking issues during the bike-share 1.0 era can be resolved through the latest technology. We are also automating the parking verification process through rigorous data analytics algorithm and even AR (augmented reality) technology, " said Mark Lin.
In the future, Moovo will further open-source their platform protocols to integrate multiple modes of transportation to maximize the convenience for users.
In addition to Electronic Geo-Fences System, Moovo's e-bike is equipped with sensors that can collect over 100 parameters including temperature, position, and torque. With the data, the e-bike would keep tuning itself to give riders the best user experience. Moovo's data platform is also compliant with world-class standard, such as GDPR in EU, PDPA in Singapore and privacy data protection in Taiwan.
"When we build Moovo's e-bike, we view it as a form of consumer electronics and build an operating system, software, apps around it. It has transformed from a purely hardware product to a service-driven consumer electronic device. We are on the cusp of revolutionizing the micro-mobility demand." said Mark.
With the success in Singapore, Moovo starts to set foot in the European markets. They partner with local bike-sharing companies, and enable them with Moovo's e-bike sharing platform, including hardware, software, and IoT.
Moovo has expanded to around 20 cities internationally under this strategy, over 30 thousand e-bikes in operation, and has accumulated over 1 million users, with around 70% of users from Europe. Earlier this year, Moovo also started operating in New Taipei City and would soon available in July 2021 in ChangHua City.
Moovo's platform has attracted Taiwan tech giant Wistron's attention.
Wistron has been seeking deeper collaboratoin with companies that have brilliant ideas related to IoT products. They formed the New Business Development Innovation Integration Center(IIC) to provide a full range of commercialized services including product development, integration of IoT sensing applications, and product manufacturing.
"When I first talked to Moovo, I immediately felt the potential of Moovo's platform in the global market and I think Wistron definitely can help fuel their business growth roadmap. We are also impressed by Moovo’s capability of expanding quickly across the globe," said Alex Chiu, Director of Sales and Marketing in Wistron IIC.
Moovo soon decided to collaborate with Wistron, which will provide its IoT and system integration expertise to help Moovo to advance the e-bike sharing platform to the next level. "The key barrier to entry is the integration of hardware (e-bike), software, IoT and Wistron is an expert on integration and makes a perfect partner." said Mark.
Last month, Moovo closed their pre-A Round funding, and the investors include Cherubic Ventures, Cornerstone Ventures, and AVA. Investors are greatly impressed by Moovo’s tech capability and global execution.
Additionally, thinking highly of Moovo's ability to expand rapidly in the international market, Japanese mobile gaming company Colopl Inc. also made strategic investment in Moovo this June. Colopl Inc. will also work closely with Moovo to leverage advanced technology like AR gaming to optimize user experience and operational efficiency through gamification.
With the new funding, partners, and Wistron's resource, Moovo will continue their micro-mobility revolution.
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