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Balderton Capital gearing up to invest in Swedish e-scooter startup VOI – TechCrunch

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We already knew that the electronic scooter space in Europe was heating up, with Berlin’s Tier announcing today it has raised €25 million in a round led by Northzone, and rumours circulating that Delivery Hero founder Lukasz Gadowski has ventured into the space — all within the context of U.S. companies Bird and Lime recently expanding to Europe. However, now it seems that Balderton Capital could be about to make its move by investing in Sweden’s VOI Technology, another e-scooter rental play with pan-European ambitions.

According to multiple sources, the London-based venture capital firm is gearing up to lead a round in Stockholm-based VOI. Two sources say the amount being invested is $15 million at a pre-money valuation of between $35-40 million, while another source said it could be as much as $25 million. Separately, I’m hearing that with multiple term sheets on the table and the pace at which the company is growing, VOI is actually considering increasing the round to $50 million.

Other VC firms thought to be participating are Berlin’s Project A, and Netherland-based Prime Ventures.

To date, VOI has raised around just shy of $3 million in seed funding from Vostok New Ventures.

I contacted Balderton Capital earlier today, but haven’t heard back. A spokesperson for Project also declined to comment. Neither Prime Ventures or VOI could be reached at the time of publication.

What is particularly noteworthy about Balderton’s entrance into the e-scooter market is that three of the other “big four” London VC firms have already made U.S. investments in the space. Index and Accel have backed Bird, and Atomico has backed Lime.

As I noted in my earlier Tier funding story — which marked the biggest financial backing for a European company in the space to date — this isn’t stopping a number of European investors getting busy trying to create the “Bird or Lime of Europe,” even if it is far from clear that Bird or Lime won’t take that title for themselves (which is obviously the bet being made by Index, Accel and Atomico). The general sentiment of European VCs steadfastly trying to nurture a European born competitor is that they don’t want to see the e-scooter rental market be rolled over by the U.S. in the same way that Uber rode in and knocked out many local players.

With that said, the worse case scenario in the eyes of many of those same VCs (and those VCs standing on the sidelines not participating) is that Bird or Lime will eventually acquire the most promising European e-scooter company or companies. In other words, the downside is mitigated somewhat, failing an outright home run.

Meanwhile, Tier, VOI and Gadowski’s Go Flash aren’t the only European born e-scooter startups with pan-European ambitions. There’s also Coup, an e-scooter subsidiary owned by Bosch and backed by BCG Digital Ventures that operates in Berlin, Paris and Madrid. And just two month’s ago Taxify announced its intention to do e-scooter rentals under the brand Bolt, first launched in Paris but also planning to be pan-European, including Germany.

Not that everyone is convinced. Two early-stage European VCs I spoke to today said they hated the space. “I just don’t understand, isn’t it going to be a massive bloodbath?” said one of the VCs, before questioning the total number of rides we could see in Europe annually. “I just don’t see how Europe is going to produce multiple multibillion dollar businesses in this space. I think the market size caps it”.

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Satechi USB-C Slim Dock For 24-Inch iMac Review: Fixing Shortcomings

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There are plenty of iMac docks on the market today, especially after the launch of the 2021 M1 models. Part of the tradeoff for the computer’s gorgeously slim design is the dearth of ports, all of which are hidden behind its screen. But while many of these docks and hubs are advertised as compatible with the 24-inch iMac, Satechi’s new dock takes that to the extreme — in fact, the USB-C Slim Dock is designed only for the 24-inch M1 iMac. Sure, you could use it for other computers, but then you lose one of its biggest features.

That feature is actually the wide gap on its bottom that perfectly fits the base of the iMac. This makes the dock look almost like it’s part of the iMac itself, especially if you get matching colors. The dock also creates a wider base that you could put things on if you like. Either way, its exclusivity to the 2021 and 2022 M1 iMacs works in its favor, creating a seamless appearance that fits the machine perfectly.

Whether you match colors or not, the Satechi USB-C dock matches the build quality of the iMac it sits on. Made from durable aluminum, the accessory looks premium and stylish, adding some character to your desk just as much as the iMac does. The material also makes heat dissipation more effective, which comes in handy given its hidden superpower. If there’s one disappointing aspect of the dock, it would be that it’s available only in silver and blue colorways that won’t color match all the available iMac hues.

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This Space-Age Electric Scooter Has Steering-Assist And A Controversial Design

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Bo’s e-scooter was never meant to be conventional. However, there is a danger that the ditching of a long-established mechanical element may cause some debate and controversy within the e-scooter community. The change involves the hinge most e-scooters have between the stem and the deck, which bo has removed entirely, meaning the M is un-foldable. It’s too early to say if bo’s choices will lead to a full-blown scooter civil war, but the company is standing by its decision, with CTO Harry Willis saying, “Aware that to some it is controversial, we made a conscious decision to eliminate the fold, launching bo M with an unbroken Monocurve chassis.”

The startup argues that the benefits of ditching “the fold” outweigh any inconveniences. Those claimed benefits include increased ride quality, safety, and reliability. “It represented a point of weakness, so that directed us to this final design,” Willis said. The downsides are essentially limited to the scooter taking up more space when not in use. This may not even be an issue at all, with bo claiming the majority of people never even bother to fold their scooters in the first place. They also claim this puts the M in an entirely new category, with it hovering somewhere between a classic e-scooter and a larger, more practical, e-bike. Sometimes change is good.

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The 5 Best And 5 Worst 3-Wheeled Cars On The Market

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Hailing from the Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish sea is the Peel P50, which is said to be the smallest production car ever made. Looking at it, it is hard to disagree. The P50 has enough room for one person, barely, and offers minimal protection from the elements. The Peel offers minimal car in general. For someone who wants to own a piece of curios history and have a toy to bring out every once in a while, the P50 is fine. For anyone who wants a vehicle, even as a weekend toy, and drives it often, the P50 is terrible.

The Peel was made in the early sixties and only managed to produce 49 in total. It is powered by a 49cc DKW scooter engine, providing a whopping 4.5 horsepower. It’s got 3 forward gears and the reverse is handled literally by a handle. You must lift up the rear and turn it in the direction you want to go (via BBC). Such niceties as climate control and electric start are pipe dreams for this car as well.

For reasons unknown, someone has decided to make new models. Since there were only 49 made in the first place, a dearth of tiny and useless cars drove up the prices and it seemed somehow to be necessary to create more for someone to drive for some reason, presumably. In the end, it’s an oddity that is impractical in every way and should not be driven ever.

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