Competition Grows in Crowded European E-Scooter Market as US Players Flood In


Competition in the European electric scooter (e-scooter) space continues to grow, as micromobility companies capitalize on new sustainability trends to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce motor traffic congestion in Europe’s densely populated cities.

In addition, the pandemic has caused many individuals to avoid crowded public transportation networks and look for alternative transportation, further boosting the popularity of shared micro-electric vehicles across the region.

This year alone, European e-scooter rental players like Voi, Tier and Dott have raised millions in venture capital (VC) funding to expand their businesses, a clear indication that growth in the market for alternative transportation is not slowing down anytime soon.

Read more: Swedish Startup Voi Scoots to $160M Funding for AltTransportation

According to a Dec. 20 TechCrunch report, Stockholm-based eScooter firm Voi was the latest firm to receive significant VC backing, securing €101.8 million ($115 million) in an oversubscribed Series D round to continue to pursue its vision for clean urban mobility.

This new influx of cash comes after the company raised $205 million between December 2020 and August of this year, bringing its total capital raised to $500 million since its 2018 launch.

Commenting on the raise, Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi, said: “There is no doubting that micromobility is here to stay, and Voi intends to be the go-to mobility platform in Europe for cities that want to give their residents and visitors an integrated, smart-mode way to travel.”

The Swedish scaleup, one of Europe’s top micromobility giants, operates scooters in 70 cities across the region. It claims to have about 70% share of the British market with operations in 18 U.K. cities, including Bristol, Cambridge and Liverpool.

With the fresh funding, the company plans to invest in additional solutions, including fixing parking, pavement riding and twin riding, the report noted, adding that the raise is also linked to a potential initial public offering (IPO) in 2022.

Regional and International Competition

Like Voi, other players have been looking to cement their leadership positions in the European micromobility space.

In April, Amsterdam-based startup Dott raised an $85 million Series B funding round to expand its fleet of 30,000 electric scooters used in a dozen cities in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Poland. The company has also added an electric bike-sharing service to its e-scooter business, launching the new offering in Paris in October.

Another rival, Tier, secured $250 million in November last year, and more recently completed a successful Series D funding round, raising €172 million at a €1.7 billion valuation.

The German e-scooter rental firm, also founded in 2018, recently announced that it had deployed 500 e-bikes in London in partnership with the London Borough of Islington, ahead of plans for a wider rollout across the capital in 2022. That was part of its expansion plans across Europe, where it currently operates 60,000 electric scooters in 80 cities.

This month, the Berlin-based e-scooter company acquired Vento Mobility, the Italian subsidiary of Germany’s Wind Mobility, marking Tier’s entry into the Italian market. Prior to that, Tier also acquired the German bike-sharing platform Nextbike, increasing its offerings and further consolidating its leadership position in the micromobility domain.

Learn more: Tier Mobility, Voi Technology Hold Initial Deal Talks

Back in 2019, PYMNTS reported that Voi and Tier were reportedly in initial talks to merge as industry competition intensified, particularly due to bigger U.S. players like Bird and Lime flooding into the already crowded European market.

Related news: Bird’s Scooter-Sharing Platform Invests $150M in Europe

And two years later, there are still grounds for concern. Earlier this year, Silicon Valley e-scooter platform Bird announced that it had earmarked $150 million to expand its fleet of e-scooters to 50 new cities in Europe, where riders account for almost one out of every two Bird rides globally.

Learn more: Bird Seeks Public Offering Via SPAC at $2.3B Valuation

The U.S.-based unicorn scaleup said the decision was due to positive performance across Europe despite the effect of the coronavirus, PYMNTS reported.

“Europe is playing a leading role not only in embracing micro-EVs [micro-electric vehicles], but also in redesigning cities to safely promote their use,” Travis VanderZanden, Bird’s founder and CEO, said at the time.

And as a sign of increasing European penetration, the American firm announced in October that it had secured “one of only three coveted two-year permits” to operate scooters in Marseille, the second-largest city in France