– SWEDEN, Stockholm – VOI Technology, the Smart mobility startup, today announced that it has raised a $50m Series A round led by Balderton Capital, Europe’s leading early stage tech investor, alongside LocalGlobe, Raine Ventures and earlier investor Vostok New Ventures to transform the way people move about in Europe’s congested cities.
A host of high profile angel investors including Cristina Stenbeck, Jeff Wilkes (Amazon), Justin Mateen (co-founder of Tinder), Nicolas Brusson (CEO and co-founder of BlaBlaCar), Sebastian Knutsson (co-founder of King), Spencer Rascoff (CEO of Zillow) and Keith Richman also participated in the round.
Launched in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 2018, VOI — the first and only European e- scooter sharing company to go live in multiple countries — was founded by Fredrik Hjelm, Douglas Stark, Adam Jafer and Filip Lindvall. With a shared vision of easing Europe’s traffic-clogged city centres and reducing pollution, the team set out to offer a clean, efficient, cost-effective and zero emission first-and-last-mile alternative to cars and taxis. VOI’s electric scooters have since been rolled out to Madrid, Zaragoza and Malaga in Spain. The team plan to use the investment to expand rapidly – but sustainably — into new markets such as Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Portugal in the coming months. Central to VOI’s distinctive approach is the way the company works collaboratively with city authorities and complies with local regulations which vary across the continent. “As a Scandinavian and European company, our approach is one based on dialogue and transparency,” explains CEO Fredrik Hjelm, who met co-founder Douglas Stark when they served together as intelligence officers in Sweden’s armed forces. (Adam Jafer and Filip Lindvall met on their first day at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology.)
“We strongly believe that using city streets and infrastructure to do business cannot be done without the full cooperation – and support – of the host city concerned. We have, for example, decided to hold off launching in cities where regulation clearly states that we shouldn’t, whereas some of our competitors have launched anyway only to be kicked out 24 hours later.”
Instead, VOI partners with local government to create solutions which work for both parties. “We’ll work closely with politicians and decision-makers to improve the transportation network in every city we operate in. We listen well and adapt when we need to – which is something that comes from our Scandinavian approach to business and is stitched into our corporate DNA,” Fredrik Hjelm continues.
After downloading the app, VOI riders (in participating cities) locate a nearby scooter on the street or by using a map, press the ‘ride’ button, scan the VOI QR code and scoot anywhere in the city. There’s a €1 unlocking fee and a ride costs €0.15 per minute. In a matter of 12 weeks, the company has gained over 120,000 users, who have taken 200,000 rides, travelling 350,000km – the equivalent to over eight times around the globe – making VOI Europe’s leading e-scooter sharing company.
“We believe that the threat from climate change is imminent and people’s behaviour, particularly when it comes to travelling shorter distances within Europe’s cities, urgently needs to change,” says Hjelm. “Our electric scooters offer a quicker alternative to walking, a simpler alternative to the hassle of owning a bicycle and a more environmentally-friendly alternative to fossil fuel-powered buses, taxis and privately- owned cars.”
Balderton general partner Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen says: “VOI’s founders are exceptional, already proving that they can execute quicker, more effectively, and with better numbers than their rivals. But what’s impressed us even more is Fredrik and Douglas’s collaborative approach to working with governments at European, national and local level. We believe that’s absolutely essential to success, and VOI has hired the best people in Europe to accomplish it.”
Julia Hawkins, partner at LocalGlobe, adds: “The mass adoption of e-scooter sharing to make towns and cities across Europe more liveable and less polluted is underway and we’re convinced that Fredrik, Douglas and the rest of the VOI team have the talent and execution excellence to lead the pack. Their distinctively ‘European’ approach of forging partnerships with cities marks them out from their competitors, and we believe, will help them build up unstoppable momentum.”
VOI is a Scandinavian green mobility company offering electric scooter sharing in partnership with cities and local communities. We believe e-scooters can play a central role in changing how people move in our cities in the future. And we want to make sure that the transformation happens the right way – through real innovative technology, open and transparent dialogue with cities and Governments and by adapting our product to local needs. Jump on a scooter whenever and ride wherever in the city in just minutes – completely emission free.
For more, visit https://www.voiscooters.com/
Balderton Capital is Europe’s largest early-stage venture capital investor, focused on European technology companies at Series A. Based in London, the firm manages $2.7bn and invests in entrepreneurs building globally ambitious businesses. Balderton’s Partners include the founders and operational leaders of multi-billion dollar companies including Business Objects, Dropbox, Uber and Autonomy; Previous investments include Betfair (FTSE: BET), Magic Pony (Twitter), NaturalMotion (Zynga), Sunrise (Microsoft), Talend (NASDAQ: TLND) and Yoox Net-a-Porter (BIT: YNAP). Among Balderton’s current portfolio of 85 companies are: Aircall, Carwow, Citymapper, Contentful, Frontier Car Group, GoCardless, The Hut Group, Kobalt Music, Nutmeg, Prodigy Finance, Recorded Future, Revolut, ROLI, SOPHiA Genetics, Vestiaire Collective, and Vivino.
LocalGlobe is a UK-based venture capital firm that focuses on seed and impact investments. Seeding ambitious UK founders since 1999 including Citymapper, Improbable, Lovefilm, Moo, Tweetdeck, Transferwise and Zoopla.
About Raine Ventures
Raine Ventures LLC is the private equity and venture capital arm of The Raine Group, LLC specializing in growth equity investments and buyouts. The firm seeks to invest in the digital media, entertainment, sports, and lifestyle sectors. It prefers to invest around the world. Raine Ventures LLC was founded in 2013 and is based in New York, New York. Previous investments include Cheddar, Tastemade, Grovo and StarMaker Interactive.
About Vostok New Ventures
Vostok New Ventures Ltd (Vostok New Ventures), formerly Vostok Nafta Investment Ltd, is an investment company with the business concept of using experience, expertise and a widespread network to identify and invest in assets with considerable potential for value appreciation, with a focus on companies with network effects. Portfolio companies include: BlaBlaCar, Avito, Gett, also leading VOI’s seed round.
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