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The Unlikely Allies of Bikes and Scooters

The Unlikely Allies of Bikes and Scooters
September 25 2020

Coupled with the effects of a warming planet, Covid-19 has produced little good news this year. Yet the two crises did pave the way for one positive social shift: a bike boom, including in some unlikely places. New data from Strava, the fitness tracking app used by 68M global users, shows that several U.S. cities saw significant year-over-year growth in both bike trips and cyclists in much of 2020. 

The cycling trend is likely to stay. In fact, many cities are already planning for that change. Brussels has lowered speed limits for drivers. Paris has subsidized e-Bike purchases and reimbursed bike repairs as well as created more bike parking spaces. And in many places, reduced traffic has encouraged inexperienced cyclists who might shun busier roads.

In the US, the bike trend has some unlikely allies: Houston and Los Angeles, two sprawling metropolises where just .5% and 1% of the respective populations biked to work in pre-pandemic times, stand out. In Houston, the total volume of cycling trips in Houston was 138% higher in May 2020 than in May 2019. In Los Angeles, the jump was 93%. Unlike their peers, these two places also saw cycling increases in April, the first full month of the widespread stay-at-home order, and economic shutdowns. 

These trends not only boosted bike sales but also increased scooter and e-Bike sales. EBikes and scooters are often seen as having the best of both worlds- exercise when in the mood, fast transportation when in a crunch. In the U.S. specifically, eBike sales jumped 190% in June compared to the corresponding period the previous year, according to data from the NPD Group. Reports now suggest the global eBike market could be worth $46 BN by 2026 — up from less than $8 BN in 2018.


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Fast-Growing eBike and Scooter Startups:

Cowboy is a Brussels-based startup. The company raised a $3 MM seed round a couple of years ago and an $11.1 MM Series A round last year. The company designs e-Bikes from scratch. Components feel more integrated than in a normal e-Bike. And it also opens up some possibilities when it comes to connectivity and smart features.

VanMoof, which was was founded in 2009 by Taco and Ties Carlier, two Dutch brothers, has now attracted a €12.5 MM investment from London VC Balderton Capital and SINBON Electronics,  the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer which is VanMoof’s bike assembly partner. So expect to see this company ramp up its presence across Europe and the U.S.

Unagi has operated under the belief that people who are sick of wonky scooter-sharing services, with their broken vehicles and unreliability, would rather own a scooter than rent one. Not only that, but Unagi figures there are enough people in the world willing to shell out $1,000 (actually $990) for a really fancy-looking electric scooter that’s been endorsed by famous musicians like Chance the Rapper and Billie Eilish.

California bans gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035
All new cars sold in the state must be zero-emission vehicles by that time. Major automakers are making such an electrification push that the 15-year timeline may not be too much of a jolt. 
[Read more].
Playco is only announcing its existence today and it’s already a unicorn
Playco is a new mobile gaming startup created by Game Closure co-founder Michael Carter and Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron. Although it is only announcing its existence today, it’s already a unicorn — it says it has raised $100 MM in Series A funding, at a valuation “just north of $1 BN". [Read more].
Since last week, PrivCo has added:
9080 Companies | 236 Funding Activities | 66 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Outschool, which started in 2015 as a platform for homeschooled students to bolster their extracurricular activities, has dramatically widened its customer base since the coronavirus pandemic began. Jennifer Carolan of Reach Capital announced at TechCrunch Disrupt that Outschool has raised a $45 MM Series B round, bringing its total known capital to $55 MM.

Ahana, the self-service analytics company for Presto, today announced an additional investment of $2.3 MM in seed financing led by new investor Lux Capital, along with participation from existing investor GV (formerly Google Ventures), bringing total funds raised to $4.8 MM. Ahana has also expanded its technical team with three new co-founders adding top Presto and core database talent from Alibaba, Uber, and Walmart, each responsible for running major Presto deployments. 

Mobile Premier League (MPL) has raised $90 MM in a new financing round as the two-year-old Bangalore-based esports and mobile gaming platform demonstrates fast-growth and looks to expand outside of India.

Virtual reality company Osso VR has been raising investor dollars at a rapid clip, and now the Palo Alto, California-based virtual reality distribution platform joins their ranks with a $14 MM round of financing.

Demand Sage has raised $3 MM in seed funding led by Eniac Ventures and Underscore VC. Demand Sage was created under the belief that data and intelligence are necessary for any sales and marketing organization to succeed, but success relies on more than just thinking about numbers. We were formed to give actionable, enterprise-level intelligence to everyone, by taking data from HubSpot, connecting it to Google Sheets, and turning it into insights.

Cloud collaboration tool for visual content Air, co-founded by Stanford grads Shane Hegde and Tyler Strand, announced today that it has closed a $12 MM Series A round led by Tiger Global. Participating investors include Lerer Hippeau, WndrCo, Slack Fund, Red Sea Ventures, and Advancit Capital, as well as individual investors.

Scopely Inc., a developer of games for mobile devices, is in talks with investors to raise funding at around a $3 BN valuation, according to people familiar with the matter.

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