We’re in the midst of the next big evolution in human mobility. While this may elicit images of flying Deloreans and a hovercraft skateboard or two, the changes we’re now experiencing go much deeper than cool factor.
This change is being driven by a surge of new startups and scaleups on a mission to push forward a new mobility paradigm. Instead of creating futuristic (yet accident-prone doors, they’re focusing on innovations and new service offerings that will help us accelerate towards a future that’s circular, sustainable, and more affordable for the masses.
The future of mobility is here; it may not come in the shape of a flying Delorean but it will be much cooler (if not thousands of times more practical).
Tech5 2020: On the search for Europe’s hot young scaleups
Every year TNW and payments tech giant Adyen have been scouring the European tech scene for the fastest-growing scaleups. The top five winners are then invited to join Tech5 — an exclusive network of the best companies, investors, and experts from across the continent. This year’s winners will be revealed at TNW’s Founders Day event in Amsterdam on June 17, 2020.
This year we’re focusing on the ways technology can help create change and have a positive impact on the planet. The next batch of startup finalists we want to highlight is those innovating in the category: Mobility & Subscriptions.
Find out who the literal movers and shakers are in 2020, and read Adyen’s Mobility guide here to learn about what’s coming next.
No list of mobility scaleups could be complete without mention of Belgian ebike success story Cowboy. Its homepage encourages visitors to ‘TAKE THE STREETS’ in large bold black and hot pink letters — and that’s exactly what riders from Spain to the Netherlands have done.
With an automatic electric boost, even the most technologically-challenged riders can feel like an urban cowboy as they ride off into the sunset, without breaking a sweat. The detachable battery provides approximately 70km of range and can be easily removed and charged at home or anywhere with a socket in 3.5 hours.
While the Cowboy is a beautiful industrial piece of road candy, the €2,000 price tag may not be on the table for everyone.
Not to worry! If you live in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, or Denmark you’ve undoubtedly seen an influx of blue front-wheeled bikes. Ever the cost-minded innovators, Dutch-born Swapfiets has come up with a new subscription-based value proposition for the growing number of city bikers, answering the main pain points they face.
After subscribing, you’ll receive your very own recycled, blue-wheeled beauty. The rest is on Swapfiets. The company’s lifetime guarantee means that if your bike breaks, they’ll fix it (and even bring you some loaner wheels in the meantime). If it gets stolen, they’ll help you fill out a police report and replace it for a small fee. Urban biking has never been so easy.
Donkey Republic (Denmark)
For commitment-phobes who don’t want to be attached to one bike, simply hop on a donkey. Danish Tech5 finalist, Donkey Republic, created a subscription-based app that allows you to rent bikes for as long or as short a period as you need.
Simply unlock the nearest donkey bike with your phone. When you’re done, simply drop it off at a location point and end the rental in your app. Donkeys are already starting their steady invasion of cities all over Europe from Malaga, Spain all the way up to Lisalmi, Finland.
If biking isn’t your thing, German escooter company, Tier, has something for you. This Tech5 finalist is offering city dwellers across Europe (plus Abu Dhabi) an easy, sustainable, and affordable option to get from A to B. You can get started simply by signing up through their app. Then just hop on the nearest Tier scooter, unlock it with your phone, and you’re off to cruise the neighborhood.
Not only is Tier working to reduce emissions on the streets, it’s also become the first fully climate-neutral micro-mobility company. As of January 2020, they’ve gone beyond focusing solely on emissions linked to charging and are also reducing emissions related to production, operations and transportation.
At the same time, why go anywhere at all? Lithuanian Tech5 finalist Ziticity is a modern-day courier service. If your business needs to deliver food, flowers, groceries, clothing, office supplies, or anything in between, Ziticity’s couriers can do it for you, within the same day and even the same hour.
The cool part about it is that you can integrate their API directly into your website or app, allowing you to schedule, automate and track deliveries. It’s time to unleash your very own fleet of couriers in your city.
What if it’s not you, but your favorite pair of yoga pants that needs to go? Spanish Tech5 contestant, Jeff, is a mobility service that doesn’t transport you, but your laundry across the city to be cleaned, pressed, folded, and returned back to you within 48 hours. In this hectic age, sometimes realizing your underwear drawer is running low is the last thing you need.
With their global takeover going strong (Jeff is present in over 40 countries), this dynamic startup has now decided to branch out into Beauty Jeff and Fit Jeff, making it easier than ever for users to book a beauty appointment or get in a workout.
Changes in human mobility will also trigger changes in human behavior and traffic flows. This means that businesses will have to reassess how they connect their physical locations with their audiences. How will new green spaces impact foot traffic near your store? How will the increase in ebike and escooter lanes in your city affect billboard placement? Or property values for that matter?
Norwegian startup, Unacast, is putting businesses a step (or several) above the rest by sourcing location data, map data, and strategic intelligence to get a better understanding of real-world human activity. These insights can then be used to find the best location for your food truck or identify the next up and coming neighborhood for real estate development. Whatever it is, Unacast has the data you need to find the next hot spot for your business to grow.
This is part of the 2020 Tech5 series covering the top finalists in the categories of: Circular Economy & Sustainability, Social Platforms & Matchmaking, Mobility & Subscriptions, Food & Delivery. You can find all the featured companies, with daily updates, here.
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