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The future is scooter

The future is scooter
 May 26, 2020

As the economy opens up, people in cities face a real challenge with respect to mobility. Public transit won't be deemed safe for a long time. How to get to places quickly and cheaply is now a big question.

Despite struggling financially last year and facing pushback from cities, scooters are positioned to take back the streets and serve as the best answer to short-distance travel in cities. Commuters now face a smaller set of options, which makes scooters more attractive than ever. As we come out of coronavirus lockdown, scooters could see a similar boom in demand as bikes recently did.

Over the past few years, scooter technology has improved dramatically. Options include portability, especially a blowup model designed by Poimo. In addition, research and investment in self-driving scooters is accelerating.

Scooter rental company Go X is rolling out its first fleet of 100 "self-driving" scooters in the Georgia town as part of a six-month pilot program with local tech incubator Curiosity Lab and Mexico-based teleoperator Tortoise. In actuality, the scooters are operated remotely by Tortoise staff in Mexico City to help refine the tech while the companies amass training data, though the plan is to eventually deploy fully autonomous self-driving technology.


Traveling at about 3–5 mph, the scooters take about 15 minutes to reach a rider who is half a mile away. In between rides, the scooters travel back to one of six hubs in the city where Go X workers clean and sanitize them and take care of any other maintenance needs like recharging.
 


 


The online streaming war is heating up. With Quibi still in the free trial period, and Peacock launching later this year, many options are vying for viewership.

However, Netflix is flexing in this war, and now, it doesn’t want your money if you are not watching its shows, so it is cancelling accounts that have not logged in for the past 12 months. Netflix said that these inactive accounts represent less than half of one percent of its overall member base and are already factored into its financial guidance. The company saw a huge uptick in subscribers in the past quarter -- 183 million as of the end of the first quarter -- as the coronavirus pandemic has kept many at home.

 

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Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Companies:

Go X electric scooters automatically drive to your location, then return on their own to a charging/disinfecting station after your journey ends. The scooter uses its main front wheel for driving power while in self-driving mode but relies on a pair of training wheel-style outrigger wheels to balance. The outrigger wheels are folded forward when a rider takes control of the scooter.

Micromobility rental company Tier is introducing new electric scooters that come with a helmet to protect riders, the company announced this past Friday, and it added that 200 of the helmet-equipped scooters will be deployed to Paris and Berlin this month, followed by 5,000 more over the course of the summer. Tier says it’s the first e-scooter company to introduce integrated helmets.

Whim is a Helsinki startup that allows travelers to plan and pay for trips across public transportation, bike share, taxis, and carshare. It offers a pay as you go payment option as well as a subscription.

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Deel raises $14M to help businesses hire talent globally. The $14M Series A round was led by Andreessen Horowitz. Investor Anish Acharya will join the board. The startup launched a year ago at Y Combinator’s demo day. The company has over 400 companies and thousands of members in over 110 countries.

NoSQL database maker Couchbase lands $105M funding round backed by Accel. Couchbase is the developer of the popular open-source Couchbase Server database. The platform is designed to store large amounts of structured, semistructured and unstructured records and can perform millions of operations per second on this data. The company's language is an implementation of SQL that allows a company’s existing SQL-savvy engineers to use the database without learning a brand-new query syntax. That clever turn of SQL eliminates the need to retrain staff and thus makes it easier for enterprises to adopt the platform. 

CLARA analytics raises $25 million, bringing its total funding to $36.5 million. Insurtech is enjoying a surge in commercial and investor activity recently. CLARA aims to improve claims outcomes in commercial insurance through easy-to-use AI. The round was led by growth equity firm Aspen Capital Group with participation from Series A lead Oak HC/FT and additional investors.

Amplitude raises $50M round led by GIC to meet surging demand. Amplitude pioneered product intelligence, which helps teams understand how customers are using their products. They can track user behavior in real-time, analyze what experiences improve retention, and drive systematic growth for the business.

Warehousing and logistics company Lineage Logistics acquires assets of US-based food service distributor Maines Paper & Food Service. Maines operates as a food service solutions provider to regional chain restaurants, educational and healthcare institutions, convenience stores, and country clubs. It serves more than 2,500 restaurants and counts Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Darden Restaurants as clients.

Hudl, the global leader in sports performance analysis solutions, announces growth investment from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities Fund.

Nautilus Biotechnology raises $76M in Series B funding to be the first to quantify the human proteome.


India’s micro-business finance start-up Lendingkart raises $42.1M in Series D.

Lowden Street Capital announces acquisition of Southern Air Custom Interiors, Inc.

Intel announced Friday that it is acquiring Rivet Networks, the maker of the well-regarded Killer networking products.

Entreda, which specializes in integrated cybersecurity risk and compliance management, is acquired by Smarsh.

Blarney Ventures (BV), a Boston, Massachusetts-based investment holding company with a focus on outsourcing, has reached an agreement to acquire SalesWorks, a London-based sales training and consulting company.

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