Gogoro will go public on Nasdaq after $2.35B SPAC deal

Gogoro is going public. The company, which is best known for its electric Smartscooters and swappable battery infrastructure, announced today it will list on Nasdaq through a merger with Poema Global, a SPAC affiliated with Princeville Capital. The deal sets Gogoro’s enterprise valuation at $2.35 billion and is targeted to close in the first quarter of 2022. The combined company will be known as Gogoro Inc and trade under the symbol GGR.

Assuming no redemptions, Gogoro anticipates making $550 million in proceeds, including an oversubscribed PIPE (private investment in public equity) of over $250 million and $345 million held in trust by Poema Global. Investors in the PIPE include strategic partners like Hon Hai (Foxconn) Technology Group and GoTo, the Indonesian tech giant created through the merger of Gojek and Tokopedia, and new and existing investors like Generation Investment Management, Taiwan’s National Development Fund, Temasek and Dr. Samuel Yin of Ruentex Group, Gogoro’s founding investor.

The capital will be used on Gogoro’s expansion in China, India and Southeast Asia and further development of its tech ecosystem.

Founded ten years ago in Taiwan, Gogoro’s technology includes smart swappable batteries and their charging infrastructure and cloud software that monitors the condition and performance of vehicles and batteries. Apart from its own brands, including Smartscooters and Eeyo electric bikes, Gogoro also makes its platform available through its Powered by Gogoro Network (PBGN) program, which enables partners to create vehicles that use Gogoro’s batteries and swapping stations.

Gogoro’s SPAC deal comes a few months after it announced major partnerships in China and India. In China, it is working with Yadea and DCJ to build a battery-swapping network, and in India, Hero MotoCorp, one of the world’s largest two-wheel vehicle makers, will launch scooters based on Gogoro’s tech. It also has deals with manufacturers like Yamaha, Suzuki, AeonMotor, PGO and CMC eMOVING.

With these partnerships in place, “we really now need to take our company to the next level,” founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke told TechCrunch. Gogoro decided to go the SPAC route because “you can talk a lot deeper about what the business opportunity is, what the structure is, what the partnerships are, so you can properly value a company rather than a quick roadshow. Given our business plans, it gives us a great opportunity to focus on the expansion,” he said.

One of the reasons Gogoro decided to work with Poema is because “their thesis is quite aligned with ours,” said Bruce Aitken, Gogoro’s chief financial officer. “They have, for example, a sustainability fund, so our passion for green and sustainability merges well with that.”

Gogoro says that in less than five years, it has accumulated more than $1 billion in revenue and more than 400,000 subscribers for its battery swapping infrastructure. The company will launch its China pilot program in Hangzhou in the fourth-quarter of this year, followed by about six more cities next year. In India, Hero MotoCorp is currently developing its first Gogoro-powered vehicle and will begin deploying its battery-swapping infrastructure in New Delhi in 2022.

“We see the demand in China as a lot bigger than we first anticipated, so that’s all good news for us, and that’s one of the fundamental reasons why we need to go public because we need to raise the capital and resources needed for us to actually contribute in a big way to these markets,” said Luke.

When asked if Gogoro is planning to strike a similar partnership with GoTo to expand into Southeast Asia, Luke said the “important thing is to recognize that Southeast Asia is the third-largest market outside of China and India for two-wheelers. Gogoro has always had the vision to go after these big markets. GoTo, being a great success in Indonesia, their investment in Gogoro will start conversations, but there isn’t anything to announce at this point other than that they’re joining the PIPE.”

In a press statement, Poema Global CEO Homer Sun said, “We believe the technology differentiation Gogoro has developed in combination with the world-class partnerships it has forged will drive significant growth opportunities in the two largest two-wheeler markets in the world. We are committed with working alongside Gogoro’s outstanding management team to support its geographic expansion plans and its transition to a Nasdaq-listed company.”


#asia, #batteries, #china, #fundings-exits, #gogoro, #india, #indonesia, #mobility, #poema-global, #scooters, #southeast-asia, #spac, #startups, #taiwan, #tc, #transportation

Fontinalis Partners, the early mobility-focused VC firm backed by Ford, rolls out a third fund

Fontinalis Partners, a 12-year-old, Detroit-based venture firm that was among the earliest early-stage venture outfits to focus squarely on mobility, has collected $104 million in capital commitments for its third and newest fund.

Investors in the vehicle include Ford Motor Corp., whose executive chairman, Bill Ford, cofounded Fontinalis and continues to help manage the fund. It also collected commitments from roughly 30 other limited partners, ranging from corporate partners in the automotive and insurance industries to family offices.

The team’s interpretation of mobility as pertaining to any startup that “enables efficient movement” has resulted in a wide range of bets. Fontinalis had nabbed a stake in Postmates, for example, which was acquired last year in an all-stock deal by Uber. It wrote a check to Lyft,  and helped fund the self-driving startup nuTonomy, which sold to auto supplier Delphi Automotive in 2017 for $450 million.

It has also more recently funded Gatik, a startup developing an autonomous vehicle stack for B2B short-haul logistics; Robust.AI, a startup at work on an industrial-grade cognitive platform for robots; Helm.ai, a maker of driverless car AI; and FreightWaves, a data and content startup that aims to provide participants in the freight wave industry with near-time analytics.

Altogether, the firm has invested in roughly 55 companies, and it says that 20 of them have already seen exits, including the family tracking app Life360, which went public on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2019, and lidar sensor manufacturer Ouster, which became publicly traded in March in the U.S. by merging with a blank-check company.

As for the size of its newest fund — which is roughly the same size as the firm’s $100 million second fund — there’s a reason Fontinalis hasn’t raised a much larger vehicle (no pun intended) unlike other investors who’ve been routinely doubling their fund sizes every couple of years.

As Fontinalis cofounder Chris Cheever and longtime partner Chris Stallman tell it, Fontinalis could be investing more dollars (and making more money in management fees). Instead, their team sees their job as finding the best deals within their mandate, then, after funding those companies, opening up more opportunities for the firm’s limited partners to directly co-invest alongside the firm.

“We have a number of LPs in this fund that have a pretty considerable appetite for co-investment opportunities,” says Stallman,”so there’s a lot of flexibility for us to scale up through them.” Adds Cheever of the network Fontinalis brings to deals, “Many of these parties could be key customers that startups are looking to access, but also simply be their partners.”

Fontinalis now has $270 million in assets under management. Cheever and Stallman say it has already made five investments in Series A-stage or later companies out of its newest fund; it has also written separate checks to six seed-stage companies.

Among its newest bets is an additive manufacturing company that has not publicly disclosed the round yet. It also recently wrote a follow-on check into Highland Electric, a company that’s focused on helping school systems adopt electric buses by helping them up grade their infrastructure, manage their charging, train their drivers and providing them with financing options for the buses.

#fontinalis-partners, #gatik, #helm-ai, #mobility, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #venture-firm

Brazil’s Kovi closes $104M Series B to make car ownership ‘more inclusive’ in LatAm

We sometimes take for granted that most anyone who wishes to become say, an Uber driver, can do so. But that assumption is a narrow view considering there are many people who would love to earn income in that way but can’t because of lack of car ownership (and all that goes with it) — especially in countries outside of the United States.

In an attempt to remedy that problem, São Paulo-based Kovi was founded in 2018 to give those people access to those opportunities. 

Kovi today is announcing it has raised $104 million in a Series B round of funding co-led by Valor Capital Group and Prosus Ventures. Quona, GFC, Monashees, UVC Investimentos and Globo Ventures also participated in the financing, in addition to Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel through his family office. The round takes Kovi’s total equity raised since inception to about $145 million. The company also recently closed on a $20 million debt facility. It is not yet a unicorn, according to execs, who declined to reveal valuation.

Two former 99 (Brazil’s first tech unicorn, and also known as Didi) executives, Adhemar Milani Neto and João Costa, started the company, which rents vehicles to on-demand drivers who work for ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Didi and Lyft. It then expanded from on-demand drivers to food delivery workers.

Kovi operates its “all inclusive” car subscription model under the premise that more people in Latin America would work for these companies if they could afford to operate the necessary vehicle. In fact, an estimated 75% of Latin Americans cannot own a vehicle because of the high cost of acquisition and maintenance. Cars are significantly more expensive in countries like Brazil than in the U.S. and the difference is even greater when it comes to the average income of the population. Also, financing is often difficult and expensive to obtain, as credit is difficult to access in most Latin American countries. When applying for loans, 60% of applications are denied by traditional banking institutions, according to Kovi co-founder and CEO Adhemar Milani Neto. And even when approved, customers pay high interest rates that are up to 30% per year.

Kovi gives drivers who don’t necessarily want, or cannot afford, to own a vehicle “quick access to quality cars” at what it says is “a fair price.” It operates an asset-light model, in that it does not buy vehicles but instead has inked rental agreements with OEMs such as Toyota and Volkswagen to offer vehicles to gig workers, including insurance and maintenance.

“Our mission is to promote a revolution in this market, making car ownership affordable, less complicated and accessible to an underserved population,” Neto said. “We want to offer a range of options to create a platform for urban mobility and create more possibilities for our customers.”

Image Credits: Kovi

In 2020, the startup saw its number of customers grow by more than 70%, and it now has more than 11,000 users in Brazil and Mexico. The company has 12,000 cars in its fleet and aims to add another 20,000 cars by the end of 2021. The company says its ARR (annual recurring revenue) is now roughly around $45 million, and that it is growing by at least 15% month over month. Kovi is “very close” to breaking even and plans to this year, according to Neto.

“Our mission is to make car ownership more inclusive, human and efficient using technology and financial innovation,” he said.

What sets Kovi apart from competitors is that its cars are connected, so it uses data science and analytics to be able to offer “a better user experience and competitive prices,” believes Kovi co-founder João Costa.

The company also over time has shifted from offering insurance through third parties to offering insurance.

“We basically built an insurance company from scratch,” Neto said.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Kovi — as did many other companies — at first saw its business slow. So the company quickly pivoted by changing its model to a pay-per-mile model so that it could act as a “Root Insurance for car owners,” Neto said.

The model has worked very well for drivers, he added. The company also enhanced its B2C offering so that drivers can access a car, with “everything included,” from insurance to 24-hour road support and preventive maintenance through Kovi.

“Once things got more back to normal, the on-demand economy scaled really fast,” Neto said.

Kovi also in the past year broadened its scope from a short-term car subscription to include a long-term option. That has proven successful so far, with that segment of its business growing to 35% of Kovi’s revenue already since launching in October of last year.

This also creates more profit for the OEMs Kovi is partnered with, Neto added.

“We provide a much better profitability model for them rather than just to sell to rental companies or end consumers. They make recurring revenue for 12-24 months and then resell used cars through their dealerships,” he said. “We’re now taking Kovi to the broader OEM market. We see this as a global business model that extends not only in Brazil and Mexico but across LatAm and to other developing countries.”

Indeed, Kovi will use its new capital to expand its service to new cities in Latin America and double down on existing operations in Brazil and Mexico. The money will also go toward technology development, specifically data management and the company’s pay-per-mile capabilities (which its founders say is unprecedented in Latin America). It also, naturally, plans to add to its 700-person team — including hiring developers, software engineers and data scientists. And, finally, Kovi plans to use some of its fresh capital to launch new financial services and products. 

For example, the company began the buildout for some of those products earlier this year, launching its aforementioned auto insurance offering, dubbed Kovi Seguro — a tracked insurance for app drivers. It also plans to launch “to a rent to own” option, Neto said. So that drivers who want to own a vehicle will have a way to work toward that.

Prosus’ Banafsheh Fathieh says that ultimately, Kovi is a financial services company that can offer consumers that may not qualify for credit under traditional models to incrementally work toward owning a car through a subscription plan.

“Because Kovi owns and manages their fleet during the rental period — and therefore can control the fleet remotely — it is able to cater to a severely financially underserved population that’s typically considered higher risk by creditors,” Fathieh told TechCrunch.

Valor co-founder and managing partner Scott Sobel believes that Kovi is “well positioned” to capture three major tailwinds that have the potential to disrupt the multibillion-dollar car ownership market of Latin America. 

The first of those tailwinds is ride-hailing.

“Only in Latin America there are approximately 1.5 million on-demand drivers, and this number is expected to grow by ~2-3x this decade,” he said. “Take Uber as an example: three of its biggest markets are São Paulo, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro.”

The second tailwind is car subscription. Less than 0.5% of Brazilian cars are under subscription offerings, and that number is expected to reach ~10-20% in the next five years due to consumer behavioral changes.

“Being one of the first movers in LatAm gives Kovi an edge,” Sobel told TechCrunch.

The third tailwind is auto insurance, which he thinks will be disrupted by more flexible (such as pay as you go, pay per mile, unbundled policies) customer-centric and tech-driven models. 

“These global trends will provide greater access to millions of drivers in the region,” Sobel said. For example, as of now less than 30% of Latin American drivers have an active car insurance policy.

Valor, he added, was impressed with Kovi’s traction and the “strong competitive moats” the company has built, including verticalized maintenance centers designed to reduce idle time and costs, a driver’s wallet, IoT systems integrating the entire fleet and “all the data.”

“Kovi is a very smart company, obsessed with metrics, tech and product innovation,” Sobel added.

#brazil, #finance, #funding, #fundings-exits, #kovi, #latin-america, #mobility, #prosus-ventures, #recent-funding, #saas, #startup, #startups, #transportation, #valor-capital

Cities can have flying cars if they start working on infrastructure today

Nearly everyone knows the pain of sitting in traffic watching valuable minutes tick by. Just as bad is the maddening search for a parking spot, or even just a safe place to hop out of the backseat of an Uber on a dense, buzzing city street.

For emergency medical providers, these headaches can literally mean life or death. Who among us hasn’t stared up at the sky behind a sea of red taillights, wishing we could rise above the gridlock and get to whatever corner of the city in a fraction of the time?

The truth is, flying cars are a reality. The aviation technology exists and early-stage regulatory review is underway in both the U.S. House and the Senate to bring eVTOLs — electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles — to market.

What doesn’t exist is a place to land them. The promise of urban air mobility is the promise of superlative convenience — a trip to the airport that would regularly take 90 minutes door-to-door whittled down to 10. For this promise to be realized, eVTOL landing points must be as accessible as taxi lines — think a five-minute walk (or one-minute elevator ride) from your office.

And sure, we’ve seen office buildings and hospitals on the outer edges of cities build heliports on their roofs. But the truth is, helicopters’ external rotors make them too noisy and too dangerous to land in tight spaces. Heliports have to be on the outer borders of cities — they need the extra space for safety (and noise) concerns.

Urban flight today

I have over 25 years of experience as a helicopter pilot. I know that urban air travel is nothing new. However, noise ordinances, space constraints and safety measures needed to make commercial helicopter flights viable have largely limited their use.

Existing VTOLs are much better designed for repeated commercial use, but they still don’t solve for noise. Most importantly, they do not eliminate the risks associated with external moving mechanical components and large wingspans.

Instead of looking to airports as the model for advanced air mobility, we should look to metro hubs that are accessible to everyone, with multiple departures and arrivals per day.

These VTOLs also require far more space for takeoff and landing — which means intracity travel won’t be feasible without massive infrastructure investments, a fact pointed out by countless urban air mobility analysts and even folks at NASA. For it to work, cities would have to turn a huge percentage of their rooftops into miniairports, which would require years of disruption.

That isn’t the only option, though. Engineers are developing compact VTOLs with the agility of a helicopter and the size and relative safety (and interior machinery) of a car. These vehicles have the best chance to prove the viability of VTOLs. Imagine an ambulance arriving at the scene of an accident via air — landing in a parking-spot-sized space directly next to the accident — and swiftly moving the injured to a hospital in another part of the city.

Instead of looking to airports as the model for advanced air mobility, we should look to metro hubs that are accessible to everyone, with multiple departures and arrivals per day. However, this kind of passenger turnover only works at scale if there are numerous eVTOLs coming and going — just like a train station. This just isn’t feasible unless most of those eVTOLS are smaller than a passenger van.

Consider the ground, not just the skyline

Decades from now, city infrastructure will look very different. Vertiports within the city that can accommodate VTOLs of all sizes and distance capabilities will be commonplace in the modern metropolis. But these train stations for the sky require enormous vision and forward thinking on the part of city planners, civil engineers, policymakers and politicians, as well as citizens demanding alternative forms of transportation.

Current prototypes require dramatic resurfacing of the city’s skyline for safe takeoff and landing at scale, but it does not have to be this way. The street infrastructure required to bring VTOLs to city dwellers is too often overlooked.

Cities need to consider the spaces and cases for VTOLs. We need to think about the city as we know it now — how can we design a vehicle that fits naturally within the environment that already exists? Is there space to create a vehicle that coexists with the city’s people as well as its birds? One quiet enough that anyone would welcome on their apartment rooftop?

Big vision, small footprint

A smaller eVTOL isn’t just more agile and safer in dense spaces, it also allows for more vehicles per square foot, more flights per hour, and more people moved across town per day in a more affordable way.

Before we can build the vertiport of the future, we must first use what already exists today to prove the case for urban air mobility. We need to be deliberate in matching the technology to the infrastructure that city dwellers know and expect, not vice versa. This means an eco-friendly VTOL that can land not just on helipads, piers and parking lots, but literally anywhere an SUV might fit.

Size alone is not enough. We must think about alternative fuel sources. Batteries are one, but they’re also inefficient, and the ecological impact of battery production, storage and disposal make them far from perfect. Some VTOL developers have proposed hydrogen as a fuel source; I welcome this and encourage more investment toward innovation in hydrogen-powered aviation. The larger commercial aviation market is already taking big steps toward hydrogen-fueled airliners, and VTOL developers have no excuse not to do the same.

Finally, we have to start with a truly efficient VTOL that can have the biggest impact in the shortest time frame, and where time is of the essence: Emergency services. The promise of flying cars to improve people’s lives must be made apparent and available in the most essential of use cases first.

This will not only make an immediate, positive impact, it will also help pave the way for acceptance, infrastructure and large-scale commercialization for VTOLs of every size and use case. Indeed, it will realize the dream of the flying car.

#aircraft, #column, #emerging-technologies, #flying-car, #mobility, #mobility-technologies, #opinion, #tc, #transport, #transportation, #uber, #urban-air-mobility, #urban-mobility, #vtol

#DealMonitor – Exit Games bekommt 50 Millionen – refurbed sammelt 54 Millionen ein – ottonova bekommt 40 Millionen ein

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 5. August werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.


Exit Games 
+++ Die amerikanische Spielefirma Skillz investiert 50 Millionen Euro in das Hamburger Gamesunternehmen Exit Games, das 2004 gegründet wurde. “Das Unternehmen war zuvor im alleinigen Besitz des Managements. Exit Games entwickelt die weltweit eingesetzte Photon Engine, die es Entwicklern ermöglicht, synchrone Multiplayer-Spiele in Echtzeit zu erstellen und zu hosten. Zu den fast 600.000 vertrauenswürdigen Partnern von Exit Games gehören einige der renommiertesten Spieleverlage und -entwickler der Welt wie EA, Square Enix und Ubisoft, die das Gameplay in über 700.000 Anwendungen unterstützen”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

+++ Das finnische Unternehmen Evli Growth Partners, das kalifornische Unternehmen Almaz Capital, Hermes GPE, C4 Ventures, SevenVentures, Alpha Associates, Monkfish Equity, Kreos Capital, Isomer Capital und Creas Impact Fund investierern 54 Millionen US-Dollar in das Wiener Startuü refurbed. Das 2017 von Peter Windischhofer, Kilian Kaminski und Jürgen Riedl gegründete Unternehmen kümmert sich um “refurbished Electronics”. Erst im März dieses Jahres sammelte die Jungfirma 15,6 Millionen Euro ein.

+++ Earlybird Venture Capital und die Altinvestoren investieren 40 Millionen Euro in ottonova – siehe FinanceFWD. “Darin enthalten ist die Wandlung eines Darlehens, ungefähr die Hälfte der Summe fließt allerdings tatsächlich frisch in die Firma”, heißt es im Artikel. Die digitale private Krankenversicherung aus München, die 2017 an den Start ging, war die erste Neugründung einer Krankenversicherung in Deutschland seit fast zwei Jahrzehnten. Zuletzt investierten Debeka, HV Capital, Vorwerk Ventures, btov und SevenVentures 60 Millionen Euro in das InsurTech, das von Roman Rittweger gegründet wurde. Mehr über ottonova

+++ Abacon Capital, gehört zum Büll Family Office, und Co. investieren 18 Millionen Euro in Wirelane – siehe Gründerszene. Das Münchner Unternehmen, das 2016 von Constantin Schwaab gegründet wurde, bietet kostenlose Ladesäulen an. Vito Ventures, Coparion, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) und Ritter Starkstromtechnik investierten zuletzt 4 Millionen Euro in das Startup. 2019 übernahm Wirelane das gescheiterte E-Mobilität-Startup Eluminocity.

+++ IBB Ventures, J.C.M.B., Scope Hanson und Janosch film & medien investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in Wonderz. Das Berliner Startup, das 2017 gegründet wurde, bitete mit der B2C WunderBox ein Toll an, um Inhalte auf mobilen Geräten zu veröffentlichen. “So können Buchverlage, Fernsehsender, Influencer, Film-, Spiele-, und TV-Produzenten ihr Angebot mit geringem finanziellen Risiko diversifizieren und erreichen ein größeres Publikum weltweit”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

+++  Der Mannheimer Geldgeber Styx Urban Investments investiert eine sechsstelligen Summe _blaenk. Das Kölner RetailTech- und E-Commerce-Startup pisitioniert sich als hybrider B2B2C-Marktplatz für Lifestyle Produkte – online und offline. “Marken können sich in dem _blaenk-Marktplatz via ‘Retail as a Service’ flexibel einbuchen. Von Ladenbau über Personal, bis hin zu der Online-Shop Integration, Payment-Abwicklung und Fulfillment übernimmt _blaenk alle Prozesse”, heißt es in der Selbstbeschreibung der Jungfirma. _blaenk wurde 2020 von Martin Bressem gegründet.


+++ Das Berliner Gesundheitsunternehmen Doctari übernimmt Viantro, eine Karriere-Plattform von Ärzten für Ärzte. Viantro mit Sitz in Heidelberg wuerde 2012 von Kim Kernbichler gegründet. Doctari hatte zuletzt auch Planerio übernommen. Das Münchner Unternehmen, das 2016 mit Stefan Klußmann und Robert Grüter gegründet wurde, möchte das “Personalmanagement in Praxen, Kliniken und Pflegeeinrichtungen revolutionieren”.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#_blaenk, #abacon-capital, #aktuell, #berlin, #doctari, #earlybird-venture-capital, #exit-games, #games, #hamburg, #ibb-ventures, #insurtech, #j-c-m-b, #koln, #mobility, #munchen, #ottonova, #refurbed, #scope-hanson, #skillz, #venture-capital, #viantro, #wirelane, #wonderz

#Brandneu – 6 neue Startups: Filics, nuclicore, Boxlab, imotana, palamo, be+

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Filics aus München entwickelt ein fahrerloses Transportsystem für den Logistikbereich. “Zwei mechanisch nicht verbundene Kufen fahren unabhängig voneinander in Euro-Paletten ein, heben diese an und verfahren die Ladung auf direktem Wege personensicher und digital steuerbar”, teilt das Startup mit.

Bei nuclicore handelt es sich um eine No-Code Versicherungssoftware. Mit dieser können Versicherungsunternehmen – ohne eine Zeile Code zu schreiben- ihre eigenen maßgeschneiderten Software-Applikationen erstellen. Das Startup aus Frankfurt am Main wuerde von Eberhard Riesenkampff und Anel Bejtovic gegründet.

Die Jungfirma Boxlab, eine Ausgründung aus dem BASF-Inkubator Chemovator, optimiert Etiketten- und Packmittelprozesse in den Bereichen Beschaffung, Lagerung, Handling und Entsorgung. Das Unternehmen wurde von Mischa Feig und Lisa Raschke gegründet.

imotana kann sich jeder seine eigenen Fußballschuhe designen. “Um einen perfekten Fit der Fußballschuhe zu erreichen, werden die Schuhe genau auf einen 3D-Scan der Fu?ße des Spielers angepasst”, schreibt das Startup. Hinter dem Unternehmen stecken Benjamin Dorsch und T1TAN-Macher Matthias Leibitz.

palamo kümmert sich um Etiketten und Verpackungen. Die Jungfirma, ein Ableger von all4labels, teilt dazu mit: “Wir begleiten Dich auf dem Weg zu Deiner perfekten Verpackung mit einer Vielzahl an unterschiedlichen Materialien, nachhaltigen Optionen und zusätzlichen Design und Legal Services”.

be+ aus Schwabach, das von Frank Nobis gegründet wurde, kümmert sich darum, “Benefit-Programme im Unternehmen einfach nutzbar zu machen”. Dabei verspricht die Jungfirma: “Auch aktuelle Themen – wie die Corona-Testpflicht im Unternehmen – wird digital auf der Plattform abgebildet”.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #be, #boxlab, #brandneu, #filics, #frankfurt-am-main, #herbolzheim, #hr, #imotana, #insurtech, #logistik, #ludwigshafen, #mobility, #munchen, #no-code, #nuclicore, #palamo, #schwabach, #witzhave

All the tech that went into turning Columbus, Ohio into a ‘Smart City’

The U.S. Department of Transportation launched a Smart City Challenge in 2015, which asked mid-sized cities across the country to come up with ideas for novel smart transportation systems that would use data and tech to improve mobility. Out of 78 applicants, Columbus, Ohio emerged as the winner.

In 2016, the city of just under a million residents was then awarded a $50 million grant to turn its proposal into a reality. $40 million came from the DOT, and $10 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. 

In mid-June, the program ended, but Columbus said the city would continue to work as a “collaborative innovation lab,” using city funds to integrate technology to address societal problems. But what does that mean in reality? 

Columbus’s ‘Smart City’ looks nothing like the rapidly developing prototype Toyota is developing, Woven City, at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, but it’s not supposed to. 

“We really focus on not just demonstrating technology for technology’s sake, but to look at the challenges we are facing in our city around mobility and transportation and use our award to focus on some of those challenges,” Mandy Bishop, Smart Columbus program manager, told TechCrunch. 

Those challenges involve lack of accessibility to mobility options, areas underserved by public transit, parking challenges, and terrible drivers with high collision rates. As you might expect, a lot of startups are involved in solving those challenges; Here’s who’s involved and what they bring to the table. 

The Pivot app, built by Etch

Etch is a Columbus-based geospatial solutions startup. Founded in 2018, the company cut its teeth with Smart Columbus, creating a multi-modal transport app that helps users plan trips throughout central Ohio using buses, ride hailing, carpool, micromobility or personal vehicle. 

“The mobility problem in Columbus is access to mobility and people not understanding or knowing what options are available to them,” Darlene Magold, CEO and co-founder of Etch, told TechCrunch. “Part of our mission was to show the community what was available and give them options to sort those options based on cost or other information.”

The app is based on open source tools like OpenStreetMap and OpenTripPlanner. Etch uses the former to get up-to-date crowdsourced information from the community about what’s happening in a given area, similar to Waze. The latter is used to find itineraries for different forms of mobility.

“Because we are open source, the integration with Uber, Lyft and other mobility providers really gives users a lot of options so they can actually see what mobility options are available, other than their own vehicle if they have one. It takes away that anxiety of traveling and using that mixed mode of travel, knowing in real time where the bus is or where to find a scooter, and  like using Uber or renting a bike or scooter.”

$1.25 million of the total federal funds went to the Pivot app, which has 3,849 downloads to date, and the city will continue to fund the development and use of Pivot.

Smart Columbus Operating System, made by Pillar Technology

Columbus hired local smart embedded software company Pillar Technology, which was acquired by Accenture in 2018, to further develop the existing Smart Columbus operating system. The $15.9 million open source platform that hosts the city’s mobility data, including over 2,000 datasets and 209 visualizations, launched in April 2019. 

“The program will continue through at least January 2022 as Columbus works to develop mobility and transportation use cases and further define the value and use of the operating system,” said Bishop.

The Smart Columbus OS invites others to add their data to the set while also calling for crowdsourced solutions to problems like how to bring down crash rates or how to optimize city parking. 

Park Columbus, made with ParkMobile

ParkMobile is an Atlanta-based provider of smart parking solutions. For Smart Columbus, the startup created Park Columbus, an event parking management app, to help free up traffic and pollution from cars circling around looking for parking. Users can find, reserve and pay for parking all on the app. 

Smart Columbus’s event parking management program built enhancements within ParkMobile’s existing offering, according to a spokesperson for the city. The $1.3 million project had over 30,000 downloads from October 2020 to March 2021. The city will continue to fund the app which will also display on-street parking via predictive analytic technology. 

Smart Mobility Hubs, built by Orange Barrel Media

The Smart Mobility Hubs are interactive digital kiosks designed by Orange Barrel Media, a company that builds media displays to integrate into urban landscapes. The hubs bring the city’s transportation options together at a single location, like a physical manifestation of the Pivot app, which can actually also be accessed via the kiosks. The kiosks, which took another $1.3 million chunk out of the total federal grant pool, also have free WiFI and listings of restaurants, shops and activities. 

Orange Barrel’s media displays can vary from something community oriented like its kiosks to advertising to art. According to Smart Columbus, the kiosks, placed at six key locations, had over 65,000 interactions from July 2020 to March 2021, but the city hopes that number will drastically increase in the post-pandemic era. The hubs also include the city’s bike share program, CoGo, which offers both pedal and e-bikes, bike racks, designated dockless scooter share and bike share parking, rideshare pickup and drop off zones, car sharing parking and EV charging stations.

Connected vehicle environment, in partnership with Siemens

Ohio has some of the worst drivers in the nation. This year, the state highway patrol released details about distracted driving in the state, and found 70,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving since 2016, with more than 2,000 involving serious injuries or fatalities. In 2019, an insurance agency rated Columbus the fourth worst driving in the country.

This might explain why the city wanted to experiment with connected vehicles. From October 2020 to March 2021, Columbus partnered with Siemens who provided both onboard and roadside units in creating a Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) environment. Connected vehicles would “talk” to each other and to 85 intersections, seven of which have the highest crash rates in central Ohio. The project cost about $11.3 million. 

“We were looking at 11 different applications including red light signal warning, school zone notifications, intersection collision warning, freight signal priority and transit signal priority, using the connected vehicle technology,” said Bishop. 

“We deployed about 1,100 vehicles in a region that has about a million residents, so we did not anticipate seeing a decreased crash rate, but we did see drivers using the signals coming from the connected vehicle environment to not run traffic signals, so we’re really seeing improvements in driver behavior, which ultimately we would anticipate long term to effectively improve safety.”

Linden LEAP, made by Easy Mile

Smart Columbus’s autonomous shuttle service, the Linden LEAP, cost about $2.3 million and ran from February 2020 until March 2021, with some breaks in between. Initially, two shuttles hitting four stops operated in the Linden neighborhood to provide transportation to underserved communities. That only lasted about two weeks before a passenger was somehow thrust from their seat when the vehicle, going no more than 25 miles per hour, stopped short. Then the pandemic happened, and it was a human shuttle service no longer. From July until the end of the program, the Linden LEAP pivoted to deliver 3,598 food pantry boxes or almost 130,000 meals. 

The city will not continue to pay for the autonomous shuttle service now that federal funding has ended. 

“The city is not historically a transit operator, so we’re really staying close to how CoTa looks to incorporate connected and autonomous and electric technology into their fleets moving forward,” said Bishop. “Our anticipation is that the next demonstrations would be private sector led or ultimately led by our transit authority.”

French startup Easy Mile ran the Level 3 autonomous technology behind the shuttle, according to a spokesperson for the company. The Society of Automobile Engineers describes Level 3 as still requiring a human operator in the driver’s seat. 

Columbus’s dalliance with autonomy initially began in late 2018 when Smart Columbus partnered with DriveOhio and May Mobility to launch the Smart Circuit, the city’s OG self-driving shuttle. The shuttle ran a 1.5 mile route circling the Scioto Mile downtown, giving out over 16,000 free rides to certain cultural landmarks until September 2019. 

Smart Circuit only cost about $500,000, but the city spent another $400,000 on general development for the entire autonomous shuttle program.

Prenatal Trip Assistance, built by Kaizen Health

Kaizen Health, a woman-owned technology firm, built its initial application after being dissatisfied with transportation options available to people undergoing health treatments. The Chicago-based company applied its model of streamlining the experience of ordering non-emergency, multimodal medical transportation for pregnant women and families.  

The program got $1.3 million in Smart Columbus funds from June 2019 to January 2021, but only had about 143 participants due to the pandemic, but that includes over 800 medical care trips and over 300 pharmacy, grocery or other service-related trips. In a state that averaged 6.9 deaths for every 1,000 babies the year this program began, it’s a good thing the participating Medicaid managed care organizations are now modernizing how they deliver non-emergency transportation services, including access to such a mobile application.

Mobility assistance for people with cognitive disabilities, in partnership with Wayfinder

The tech partner for the final project was Wayfinder, a navigation app that was acquired by Vodafone in 2019. The Mobility Assistance for People with Cognitive Disabilities (MAPCD) study worked with Wayfinder to create a highly detailed, turn-by-turn navigation app specifically built for those who have cognitive disabilities, making it safer for those people to be more independent. 

The pilot cost nearly $500,000 and lasted from April 2019 to April 2020. Thirty-one participants used the app to get more comfortable using public transport. According to a spokesperson for the city, Columbus is working with potential partners to find a way to sustain the program. 

Looking towards the future

One of the focuses of Smart Columbus was also electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure. The money from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and AEP Ohio, the state’s utility provider, helped incentivize and encourage multi-unit dwellings, workplaces and public sites to install charging stations. Smart Columbus exceeded its goal of 900 EV charging stations, as well as its goal for 1.8% of new car sales to be electric, reaching 2.34% in November, 2019.

“In the future I think something that’s here to stay is really ensuring that we’re solving resident challenges in a way that makes sense for our community,” said Bishop.

#may-mobility, #mobility, #smart-cities, #smart-city, #tc, #transportation

#DealMonitor – Aitme sammelt 9 Millionen ein – Xilinx kauft Silexica – ImmoScout24 übernimmt wg-suche.de

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 15. Juni werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.


+++ HV Capital, Vorwerk Ventures, Global Founders Capital (GFC) und La Famiglia sowie Business Angel Oliver Ringleben investieren 9 Millionen Dollar in das Robotik-Startup Aitme. Insgesamt flossen nun schon  rund 12,5 Millionen Dollar in den Kantinen-Roboter. “Das frisch gewonnene Kapital wird Aitme für die Produktweiterentwicklung und nationaler Expansion im deutschen Markt nutzen”, teilt das Startup mit. Das von Foodora-Gründer Emanuel Pallua und Julian Stoß, zuletzt myTaxi, gegründete Unternehmen bietet vollautomatisierte Küchen für Unternehmen an. 20 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für Aitme. Mehr über Aitme

+++ Ein ganzer Schwung Angel- und Promi-Investoren investiert in Dance – darunter Chance the Rapper, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sujay Jaswa, Julian Hönig, Lea-Sophie Cramer, Maisie Williams, Suneil Setiya, Greg Skinner und will.i.am. “Dance ist stolz darauf mit Koryphäen aus verschiedenen Branchen, Ländern und mit verschiedenen Hintergründen zusammenzuarbeiten”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Hinter Dance verbirgt sich ein Subscription-Service für E-Bikes, der von Alexander Ljung und Eric Quidenus sowie Jimdo-Macher Christian Springub gegründet wurde. Und auch Planet A Ventures investiert nun offiziell in Dance – wie im März exklusiv im Insider-Podcast berichtetMehr über Dance

+++ Das Unternehmen Strategis, das sich um Vertriebs- und Verwaltungslösungen in der Immobilienwirtschaft kümmert, investiert in FinList. Das junge Unternehmen positioniert sich als “digitaler Atlas für gewerbliche Immobilienfinanzierung”. Das Team beschreibt das Konzept so: “Finanzierungssuchende aus Deutschland und Österreich können hier Informationen zu passenden europäischen Kreditgebern für Fremd- und Nachrangkapital erhalten”. Gegründet wurde das FinTech aus Hohen Neuendorf von Sandra Olschewski und Florian Hollm.


+++ Das amerikanische Unternehmen Xilinx, im Segment adaptives Computing unterwegs, übernimmt das Kölner Startup Silexica. Das Unternehmen, das 2014 gegründet wurde, entwickelt SLX-Programmierungstechnologien, die Unternehmen dabei unterstützen, intelligente Produkte wie selbstfahrende Autos vom Konzept bis zur Implementierung zu begleiten. Investoren wie EQT Ventures, Merus Capital, Paua Ventures, DSA Invest und der Seed Fonds Aachen investierten in den vergangen Jahren rund 28 Millionen in Silexica. “Silexica’s SLX FPGA tool suite empowers developers with an unparalleled development experience building applications on FPGAs and Adaptive SoCs. This technology will become integrated with the Xilinx Vitis™ unified software platform to substantially reduce the learning curve for software developers building sophisticated applications on Xilinx technology”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Der Verkaufspreis ist nicht bekannt. Mehr über Silexica

+++ Der Immobilien-Marktplatz ImmoScout24 übernimmt WG-suche.de komplett – siehe Gründerzene. “Für die Übernahme dürfte  ein Millionenbetrag geflossen sein”, heißt es im Artikel. ImmoScout24 stieg bereits 2017 bei wg-suche.de ein. Das Unternehmen sicherte sich damals 25 % an der jungen Firma, die WG-Zimmer und möblierte Wohnungen vermittelt. Die Investitionssumme lag vor vier Jahren im niedrigen siebenstelligen Bereich. Der WG-Dienst wurde zudem schon früh von You Is Now, dem inzwischen eingestellten Inkubator-Programm von Scout24, unterstützt. wg-suche.de ging 2012 an den Start. Gegründet wurde die Plattform von Natascha Wegelin (Madame Moneypenny) und Carsten Wagner.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aitme, #aktuell, #berlin, #dance, #exit, #finlist, #fintech, #global-founders-capital, #hohen-neuendorf, #hv-capital, #immoscout24, #koln, #la-famiglia, #mobility, #planet-a-ventures, #roboter, #silexica, #strategis, #venture-capital, #vorwerk-ventures, #wg-suche-de, #xilinx

For vehicle safety, the future is now

Every day in the United States, more than 100 people die because of a car crash. Some are teenagers, like the daughter of writer Michael Lewis and Tabitha Soren, and her boyfriend, who died in a wrong-way crash. Some are well known, like Kevin Clark, who played the drummer in “School of Rock,” who was hit and killed by a driver while biking. Others are not household names, like Janell Katesigwa, who was killed by a drunk driver in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and left behind four children.

Something else happens every day, too: a lack of congressional urgency to require available technology to prevent the next tragedy.

Sadly, what is stopping advanced technology from preventing these deaths is business as usual in Washington, which means a lot of talk about saving lives, but little action.

Vehicle safety is based on using layers of protection that have led to a five-fold reduction in the occurrence of car crash deaths in the United States over the last 50 years.

Existing advanced vehicle safety technology, such as driver monitoring systems, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings, can dramatically reduce crashes like the three described above — and the thousands of others that are a result of drunk, drugged, drowsy and distracted driving.

But only if the technology becomes standard equipment in new vehicles. When technology — underwritten by standards, bolstered by oversight and backstopped by accountability — can annually spare tens of thousands of families from tragedy, our federal government must act.

Over the coming weeks and months, Congress will debate the future of motor vehicles in the United States. The debate will be focused on renewing the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, which is also referred to as the “highway bill.”

But make no mistake: While issues such as the future of the gas tax and arcane parliamentary procedures will grab headlines, vital decisions will be made about whether the growing and preventable public health crisis of car crash deaths will be prioritized or once again considered non-essential.

Despite the estimated 38,680 highway fatalities last year, which represented a 7.2% increase over 2019, some federal policymakers have failed to focus on available remedies that would result in fewer funerals and a reduction in lifelong debilitating injuries.

Perhaps the delay is a result of too many in Congress who believe the only available solution is rushing unsupervised driverless vehicles into the marketplace. Even if a green light for mass driverless vehicle production were given today, it would be decades before they could make a significant impact on improving overall safety. This single-minded focus on a unicorn to fix all transportation issues misunderstands the technical challenges and misreads the public mood.

A recent AAA survey found 86% of respondents would not trust riding in driverless vehicles, while another found consumers do not feel comfortable sharing the road with them. The technology industry’s habit of beta-testing unproven software on the public, combined with car companies’ track record of delaying safety in exchange for profit, will not increase consumer trust of the safety, inclusivity and equity of driverless technology.

Vehicle safety is based on using layers of protection that have led to a five-fold reduction in the occurrence of car crash deaths in the United States over the last 50 years. Seatbelts and airbags protect you when you crash. Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes help you avoid rolling over. Regulations provide minimum levels of performance and recalls serve as a backstop to provide oversight when there is a defect.

It is hard to remember, but there was once a time when dual braking systems, intended to provide a safe stop even in the event of a catastrophic failure of one braking system, were considered revolutionary. Now such a layer of protection is standard.

At a time when the promise of automated vehicle technology could make or break America’s place atop the automobile industry, many in Congress want to ignore history and cut away layers of protection to rush driverless vehicles into the marketplace. One Senate proposal creates a fast track for manufacturers to sell tens of thousands of automated vehicles based on a flimsy promise that their vehicle is as safe as the least safe vehicle meeting current minimum standards. No one should forget that the Ford Pinto met all the minimum standards when it was recalled for exploding upon impact when hit from behind. Driverless vehicles should be held to a higher standard than the minimum.

Congress has an opportunity to help build public trust in the safety of driverless technology by requiring existing innovations that will be the building blocks of driverless vehicles into cars right away, with immediate benefits. For example, in the future, automated vehicles will need driver monitoring systems to make smooth handoffs between machine and driver, automated braking to avoid crashes and lane-keeping technology to keep vehicles where they belong. Today these systems, when working correctly, can help limit crashes by assisting human drivers, just as someday these features may assist computer drivers. Using technology to save lives now does not preclude saving more lives later.

As Congress begins to actively debate the future of the automobile industry, there is a lot of talk about upgrading roads, encouraging electric battery-powered vehicles and accelerating the introduction of driverless cars. Yet, there is not nearly enough talk about what is needed to make us all safer sooner.

There have been a variety of reasonable bills introduced to help the U.S. catch up to the rest of the developed world when it comes to vehicle safety and safeguarding pedestrians. They include improving the safety of our back-seat passengers in crashes, better recall procedures, and more robust and transparent data collection, along with requiring advanced safety features now common around the world.

Unfortunately, we have a long way to go and no time to waste. The European Union, despite a larger population and an almost identical number of vehicles and land size, had under 19,000 crash deaths last year, less than half of the U.S. death toll. Further, the EU’s record-low vehicle-related deaths came without a single driverless vehicle on the road, but with robust consumer information and a regulatory scheme that mandates safety.

In the U.S., however, car manufacturers concerned about challenges from new market entrants — foreign and domestic — are lobbying for looser regulations and immunity from responsibility for automated vehicle crashes. Congress must push the industry to move quickly to protect lives before profits and stand behind their products when things inevitably go wrong. The best time to appropriately assign accountability regarding who will be held responsible if a car with a computer driver kills your loved ones, or a systemwide defect impacts an entire driverless fleet, is before the crash.

Moreover, history demonstrates that thoughtful requirements for all vehicles, crafted in a way to keep pace with major innovations in the automobile industry, have always been necessary to ensure vehicle safety is not reserved for the rich alone.

Federal legislation requiring objective performance standards based on data collected from driverless cars being tested on public streets can provide a path to this future. Yet Congress seems poised to do little, or nothing, once again. It is time for policy makers to reconcile the notion that the long-term viability of the driverless vehicle industry and keeping public roads safer now with incremental improvements, federal oversight and legal responsibility are not opposing ideas but necessary partners.

There is no question the U.S. can lead in the coming era of vehicle innovation while improving safety for all drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Success in this ambitious task will require moving forward quickly with existing safety technology and dispensing with the idea that innovations, safety and accountability are incompatible when, in fact, each is integral to the long-term success of the other.

#adas, #autonomous-vehicles, #column, #driverless-vehicles, #mobility, #opinion, #road-safety, #self-driving-car, #tc, #transportation

Extra Crunch roundup: EU insurtech, 30 years of ‘Crossing the Chasm,’ embedded finance’s endgame

This morning, Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm dug into the EU insurtech market, interviewing European VCs and collating the biggest recent rounds to take the temperature of the waters across the pond:

  • Alex Timm, CEO, Root
  • Dan Preston, CEO, MetroMile
  • Luca Bocchio, partner, Accel
  • Florian Graillot, investor, Astorya.vc
  • Stephen Brittain, director and founder, Insurtech Gateway

Several European-based insurtech startups entered unicorn territory this year, such as Bought By Many, which offers pet insurance; London-based Zego; and Alan, a French startup that raised a $220 million round.

According to Brittain, EU startups in this sector are “still at the very early stages of innovation,” having only shown “a fraction of what’s possible” in a market that is “as large as banking.” Interestingly, he predicted that AI will play a larger role in the future as companies deploy it for fraud detection, improved customer experiences and processing claims more quickly.

“We are fully expecting the next generation of AI-driven business to unlock real-time risk analysis, pricing and claims resolution in the next few years,” he said.

Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch; I hope you have a safe, relaxing weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch

What do these 4 IPOs tell us about the state of the market?

Earlier this week, The Exchange assessed the looming Monday.com IPO before reading the tea leaves about that flotation and three others to sum up the overall state of the market.

So what do the Marqeta, Monday.com, Zeta Global and 1stDibs debuts tell us? We may have been too conservative.

Toast’s Aman Narang and BVP’s Kent Bennett on how customer obsession is everything

Image Credits: Bessemer Venture Partners / Toast

On a recent episode of Extra Crunch Live, we spoke to Toast founder Aman Narang and Kent Bennett of Bessemer Venture Partners about how they came together for a deal, what makes the difference for both founders and investors when fundraising, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned so far.

The episode also featured the Extra Crunch Live Pitch-Off, where audience members pitched their products to Bennett and Narang and received live feedback.

Extra Crunch Live is open to everyone each Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT, but only Extra Crunch members are able to stream these sessions afterward and watch previous shows on-demand in our episode library.

AI startup investment is on pace for a record year

Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim solicited feedback from investors to get a temperature on the market for AI startup investments.

“The startup investing market is crowded, expensive and rapid-fire today as venture capitalists work to preempt one another, hoping to deploy funds into hot companies before their competitors,” they write. “The AI startup market may be even hotter than the average technology niche.”

But that’s not surprising. The Exchange was on it.

“In the wake of the Microsoft-Nuance deal, The Exchange reported that it would be reasonable to anticipate an even more active and competitive market for AI-powered startups,” Alex and Anna note. “Our thesis was that after Redmond dropped nearly $20 billion for the AI company, investors would have a fresh incentive to invest in upstarts with an AI focus or strong AI component; exits, especially large transactions, have a way of spurring investor interest in related companies.”

Their expectation is coming true: Investors reported a fierce market for AI startups.

Dear Sophie: What is a diversity green card and how do I apply for one?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I started a tech company about two years ago, and ever since I’ve dreamed of expanding my company in the United States.

I would love to have a green card. Someone mentioned that I should apply for a diversity green card. Would you please provide me with more details about it and how to apply?

— Technical in Tanzania

How to start a company in 4 days

Turtle (real) with a rocket on the back, a match (real flame) is about to ignite it. No turtles were harmed in the making of this stock image.

Image Credits: MediaProduction (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Pulley founder and three-time YC alum Yin Wu offers a tactical guide to getting a startup running in four days. Yes, just four days.

“The logistics of setting up a startup should be simple, because over the long run, complicated equity setups and cap tables cost more money in legal fees and administration time,” Wu notes.

Read on for guidance on how to get your business going in less than a week.

Health clouds are set to play a key role in healthcare innovation

Health clouds are important for innovation in healthcare

Image Credits: Natali_Mis / Getty Images

Innovaccer founder and CEO Abhinav Shashank and CTO Mike Sutten write in a guest column that the U.S. healthcare industry is in the middle of a massive transformation.

This shift, they write, “is being stimulated by federal mandates, technological innovation, and the need to improve clinical outcomes and communication between providers, patients and payers.”

Improving healthcare now means we need to process tremendous amounts of healthcare data. How do we do it? The cloud, which “plays a pivotal role in meeting the current needs of healthcare organizations.”

What SOSV’s Climate Tech 100 tells founders about investors in the space

Climate tech presents a trillion-dollar opportunity

Image Credits: MrJub / Getty Images

SOSV’s Benjamin Joffe and Meghan Hind round up a “who’s who” from the venture capital firm’s SOSV Climate Tech 100, a list of the best startups addressing climate change that SOSV has supported from the very beginning.

“What can founders learn from the list about climate tech investors? In other words, who invested in the Climate Tech 100?” they ask.

The fintech endgame: New supercompanies combine the best of software and financials

Image Credits: Donald Iain Smith (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Now that we can transact from anywhere, a new, hybrid class of software companies with embedded financial services are scooping up consumers — and investors are following the action.

Using data from a Battery Ventures report about “the intersection of software and financial services,” this post examines why these companies can be so hard to value and offers a framework for better understanding their business models and investor appeal.

After 30 years, ‘Crossing the Chasm’ is due for a refresh

Hoover Dam area, Mike O'Callaghan, Pat Tillman bridge.

Image Credits: Grant Faint (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Geoffrey Moore’s “Chasm,” a framework for marketing technology products that has been one of the canonical foundational concepts to product-market fit for three decades, needs a bit of an upgrade, Flybridge Capital’s Jeff Bussgang writes.

“I have been reflecting on why it is that we venture capitalists and founders keep making the same mistake over and over again — a mistake that has become even more glaring in recent years,” he writes.

Bussgang goes on to consider the Chasm — and propose tweaks for thinking about market size in the modern era.

#climate-tech, #entrepreneurship, #extra-crunch-roundup, #fintech, #insurance, #insurtech, #mobility, #startups, #tc, #transportation, #venture-capital

Aurora brings in outsiders to boost safety efforts, public trust of driverless vehicles

Aurora, the autonomous vehicle company that acquired Uber ATG last year, has assembled a team of outside experts, shared new details about its operations in a self-assessment safety report and launched a website as part of a broader effort to win over consumers wary of the technology that they may someday share the road with, or even use.

Aurora said Thursday it has tapped experts in aviation safety, insurance, medicine and automotive safety — all people from outside of the niche AV industry — to provide an outside perspective on the company’s overall approach to safety, to look for gaps in its system and advise on the best ways to share its progress and record with regulators and the public. The advisory group is designed to augment Aurora’s existing safety efforts, which includes on-road testing and development.

“I think for a while we’ve almost done the ‘Field of Dreams’ analysis where it’s like, ‘well if we build it they will come, just look at iPhones,’” Nat Beuse, Aurora’s head of safety said in a recent interview with TechCrunch. “We are always comparing it to these other consumer products, and I’m not so sure that is actually how we win over the hearts and minds of consumers in every single community in the United States.”

Beuse, who previously led the safety team at Uber ATG and once oversaw automated-vehicle developments at the U.S. Department of Transportation, said the goal is for driverless vehicles — whether that’s robotaxis shuttling people or trucks hauling freight — to be adopted broadly. That can’t happen, he said, without being able to measure and show the public that the technology is safe. He noted that public trust is one of the two biggest threats he sees to the AV industry.

“If all we worry about is a small number of people who get exposed to [AVs] we will never see the benefits of this technology and the broad scale, sweeping changes and the impact that it can have on our lives in a beneficial way,” he said. “We have to do a lot more there [gaining public trust]. Beuse added that gaining public trust should be done in concert with the government.

“I think for too long it’s been, ‘You, industry, you solve it. You’re building this stuff,’” he said. “And I really think it’s a partnership. Of course, we’re building the tech, we have a huge responsibility, but also the government has a huge, huge role to play and helping us kind of get the public on board.”

The members of the safety advisory board include Intelligent Transportation Society of America President and CEO Shailen Bhatt, Dave Carbaugh, the former chief pilot for flight-operations safety at Boeing and Victoria Chibuogu Nneji, the lead engineer and innovation strategist at Edge Case Research. Other members include Biologue President Jeff Runge, who is also a former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Adrian Lund, managing member of HITCH42, LLC and former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and GHS Aviation Group CEO George Snyder.

The committee, which has already been meeting, is comprised of people who “don’t live and breathe the tech,” Beuse said.

Most importantly, for Aurora and the rest of the industry, is addressing the looming question of ‘how safe is safe enough?’ when it comes to driverless vehicles. One metric that has been adopted, and increasingly criticized, is comparing vehicle miles traveled and vehicle miles per “disengagement,” an industry jargon term that means a human safety operator has taken over from the computer driving the vehicle.

“We’ve been pretty adamant that that’s not a real metric because you can drive around in a parking lot and generate some interactions and that’s a whole lot different than if you’re driving in a city — and oh by the way, that’s a whole lot different if you’re driving on the highway,” Beuse explained.

Aurora is part of the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC), which includes Daimler, Ford, GM, Honda, Lyft, Motional, SAE and Toyota, that is working to come up with better safety metrics. The new Aurora safety advisory board isn’t working directly on the AVSC project, however it is providing general guidance that could help in this effort.

While there is still more work to be done to validate these new metrics, the group does have a handful that it thinks are pretty promising, Beuse said.

#aurora, #automotive, #autonomous-vehicles, #driverless-vehicles, #mobility, #self-driving-cars, #self-driving-trucks, #tc

#DealMonitor – Celonis sammelt 1 Milliarde ein – Tier Mobility bekommt 60 Millionen – Cognigy sammelt 44 Millionen ein

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 2. Juni werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.


+++ Durable Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price Associates, Franklin Templeton, Splunk Ventures und “eine Gruppe weiterer Investoren” sowie Altinvestoren wie Arena Holdings investieren 1 Milliarde US-Dollar in das Process Mining-Grownup Celonis. Eine solche Summe sammelte bisher noch kein Startup auf seinen Schlag ein. Die Bewertung liegt bei 11 Milliarden Dollar. Damit ist Celonis das erste deutsche Decacorn. Mit dem Begriff werden Unternehmen beschrieben, die mindestens mit 10 Milliarden US-Dollar bewertet werden. Mehr im ausführlichen Artikel zum Decacorn-Investment

Tier Mobility
+++ Goldman Sachs stellt dem millionenschweren Berliner Mobility-Startup Tier, das E-Scooter und Roller anbietet, eine sogenannte Asset-Backed-Finanzierung in Höhe von 60 Millionen US-Dollar zur Verfügung. “The debt facility from the leading investment banking, securities and investment management firm is the first of such scale in micro-mobility and will fuel TIER’s e-scooter fleet expansion for 2021”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Investoren wie SoftBank, Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital und White Star Capital investierten bereits in Tier. Das Unternehmen wurde 2018 von Lawrence Leuschner, Matthias Laug und Julian Blessin gegründet. Mehr über Tier Mobility

+++ Insight Partners. DN Capital, Global Brain, Nordic Makers, Inventures und Digital Innovation and Growth investieren 44 Millionen US-Dollar in Cognigy. Das Düsseldorfer Unternehmen, das 2016 von Philipp Heltewig und Sascha Poggemann gegründet wurde, entwickelt einen Künstliche Intelligenz-Service, Kundenanfragen zu managen. Zu den Kunden des Unternehmens gehören unter anderem Lufthansa, BioNTech und Daimler. Bis Ende 2019 flossen bereits rund 6,5 Millionen Euro in Cognigy. Mit dem frischen Kapital möchte das Unternehmen “sein weltweites Kundenwachstum fördern, neue Partnerschaften vorantreiben und die marktführenden Funktionen seiner Plattform kontinuierlich weiterentwickeln, um die Einführung von Künstlicher Intelligenz auf Unternehmensebene zu beschleunigen”. Mehr über Cognigy

+++ Bayern Kapital, Ananda Impact Ventures, Findus Ventures, APEX Ventures und “ein Konsortium erfahrener Business Angels” investieren 5,8 Millionen Euro in OroraTech.Das Münchner Unternehmen positioniert sich als “kommerzieller Anbieter von Satelliten, die – mit Infrarot-Kameras ausgestattet – Buschfeuer überall auf der Welt frühzeitig entdecken und überwachen können”. Das junge Startup entstand als Spin-off des Raumfahrtlehrstuhls der TUM. Mehr über OroraTech

+++ Wecken & Cie., AC+X und das Schweizer Family Office Arventus sowie die Altinvestoren Patrizia und AM Alpha investieren 10 Millionen Euro in das PropTech Evana. “Das Unternehmen nutzt die Finanzierung, um Evana als führende Plattform für das digitale Daten- und Dokumenten-Management in Europa und Technologieführer für Künstliche Intelligenz in der Immobilienwirtschaft zu etablieren”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Das 2015 gegründete PropTech (Frankfurt am Main und Saarbrücken) beschäftigt mehr als 100 Mitarbeiter:innen.

+++ Der niederländische Investors Ponooc, der auch bei Swapfiets und Unu an Bord ist, investiert eine siebenstellige Summe in das Wiener Startup Bikemap. Die Jungfirma bezeichnet sich selbst als “bisher größte nutzer:innengenerierte Fahrradroutensammlung der Welt”. Die Bikemap-App, die 2014 gegründet wurde, bietet nach eigenen Angaben “mehr als sieben Millionen Routen in über 100 Ländern” an. 30 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten für das Unternehmen.

+++ Angel-Investoren wie Clemens Bollinger, Vahe Andonians, Armen Kocharyan, Ara Abrahamyan und Jörg-Matthias Butzlaff investieren 330.000 US-Dollar in WeProfit. Das Startup aus Frankfurt am Main bringt sich als “Software Development-Marktplatz” in Stellung. Über die Plattform können Unternehmen “passende und gescreente Geschäftspartner für Software Development-Projekte finden”. WeProfit wurde von Sahak Artazyan, Matteo Emmanuello und Arsen Abrahamyan gegründet.

+++ Der Berliner Geldgeber APX, hinter dem Axel Springer und Porsche stecken, investiert in Fyppit. Das Berliner Startup, das 2020 von Harsha Jagasia, Tobias Lehmann und Andy Seto gegründet wurde, bietet einen Online-Marktplatz an, bei dem Kundinnen und Kunden “Waren direkt von ihren lokalen Geschäften mit Lieferung am selben Tag bestellen können”.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #ananda-impact-ventures, #apex-ventures, #apx, #bayern-kapital, #berlin, #bikemap, #cognigy, #dusseldorf, #evana, #findus-ventures, #frankfurt-am-main, #fyppit, #global-brain, #goldman-sachs, #insight-partners-dn-capital, #inventures, #mobility, #nordic-makers, #ororatech, #ponooc, #proptech, #saarbrucken, #tier-mobility, #venture-capital, #weprofit, #wien

See what’s new from Wejo, CMC, iMerit, Plus, oVice, & Michigan at TechCrunch’s mobility event

We’re in the final run-up to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 on October 9, and the great stuff just keeps on coming. We’ve stacked the one-day agenda with plenty of programming to keep you engaged, informed and on track to build a stronger business. You’ll always find amazing speakers — some of the most innovative minds out there — on the main stage and in breakout sessions.

Dramatic pause for a pro tip: Don’t have a pass yet? Buy one here now for $125, before prices go up at the door.

“I enjoyed the big marquee speakers from companies like Uber, but it was the individual presentations where you really started to get into the meat of the conversation and see how these mobile partnerships come to life.” — Karin Maake, senior director of communications at FlashParking.

We have another exciting bit of news. We’re hosting pitch session for early-stage startup founders who exhibit in the expo at TC Sessions: Mobility. Each startup gets five minutes to pitch to attendees in a breakout session. Remember, this conference has a global reach — talk about visibility! Want to pitch? Buy an Early Stage Startup Exhibitor Package as we only have 2 packages left.

Alrighty then…let’s look at some of the breakout & main stage sessions waiting for you at TC Sessions: Mobility 20201.

Innovating Future Mobility for Global Scale

Wednesday, October 9, 10:00 am -10:50 am PDT

Learn how the CMC’s model of bringing their Clients’ new technologies to market is new and innovative, going beyond a typical demonstration or pilot program, to the point of product launch and sustaining market viability. Hear from an expert panel about how the CMC’s programming is unique, innovative, and game-changing.

  • Neal Best, Director of Client Services, California Mobility Center (CMC)
  • Bill Brandt, Business Development Advisor, Zeus Electric Chassis
  • Mark Rawson, Chief Operating Officer, California Mobility Center (CMC)
  • Scott Ungerer, Founder and Managing Director, EnerTech Capital

Public-Private Partnerships: Advancing the Future of Mobility and Electrification

Wednesday, October 9, 10:45 am -11:05 am PDT

The future of mobility starts with the next generation of transportation solutions. Attendees will hear from some of the most innovative names on opportunities that await when public and private entities team up to revolutionize the way we think about technology. Trevor Pawl, Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer, will be joined by Nina Grooms Lee, Chief Product Officer of May Mobility.

  • Nina Grooms Lee, Chief Product Officer, May Mobility
  • Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer, State of Michigan

How Edge Cases and Data Will Enable Autonomous Transportation in Cities Across the U.S.

Delivering Supervised Autonomous Trucks Globally

Wednesday, October 9, 12:40pm – 1:00pm PDT

Plus is applying autonomous driving technology to launch supervised autonomous trucks today in order to dramatically improve safety, efficiency and driver comfort, while addressing critical challenges in long-haul trucking — driver shortage and high turnover, rising fuel costs, and reaching sustainability goals. Mass production of our supervised autonomous driving solution, PlusDrive, starts this summer. In the next few years, tens of thousands of heavy trucks powered by PlusDrive will be on the road. Plus’s COO and Co-Founder Shawn Kerrigan will introduce PlusDrive and our progress of deploying this driver-in solution globally. He will also share our learnings from working together with world-leading OEMs and fleet partners to develop and deploy autonomous trucks at scale.

  • Shawn Kerrigan, COO and Co-Founder, Plus

How Edge Cases and Data Will Enable Autonomous Transportation in Cities Across the U.S.

Wednesday, October 9, 11:00 am – 11:50am

Data will play a vital role in solving the critical edge cases required to gain city approval and deploy autonomous transportation at scale. Pilot projects are underway across the U.S. and cities such as Las Vegas are leading the way for progressive policies, testing and adoption. But, how do these projects involving a limited number of vehicles gain city approval, expand to larger geographic areas, include more use cases and service more people? Join our expert panel discussion as we examine the progress, challenges and road ahead in harnessing data to enable multiple modes of autonomous transportation in major cities across the U.S.

  • Chris Barker, Founder & CEO, CBC
  • Radha Basu, Founder & CEO, iMerit
  • Michael Sherwood, CIO, City of Las Vegas

Making Mobility Data Accessible to Governmental Agencies to Meet New Transportation Demands

Wednesday, October 9, 1:45pm – 2:05pm

Wejo provides accurate and unbiased unique journey data, curated from millions of connected cars, to help local, state, province and federal government agencies visualize traffic and congestion conditions. Unlock a deeper understanding of mobility trends, to make better decisions, support policy development and solve problems more effectively for your towns and cities.

  • Brett Scott, VP of Partnerships

Will Remote Work Push Japan’s Rural Mobility Forward?

Wednesday, October 9, 1:45pm – 2:05pm

With remote work becoming the new normal and the mass movement from the city to the Japanese countryside, the trend of private car ownership is growing day by day. During this session, we’ll be hearing from Sae Hyung Jung, serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of oVice. oVice is an agile communication tool that facilitates hybrid remote and virtual meetups. Most notably, a hope that can trigger a sudden expansion in the Japanese mobility and vehicle infrastructure.

  • Sae Hyung Jung, Founder & CEO, oVice

#automation, #california, #car-ownership, #ceo, #chief, #chief-operating-officer, #driver, #flashparking, #may-mobility, #michigan, #mobility, #nina-grooms-lee, #officer, #plus, #robotics, #science-and-technology, #self-driving-cars, #self-driving-truck, #tc, #technology, #transport, #uber, #vp

#DealMonitor – Trade Republic sammelt 900 Millionen ein – Bewertung: 5 Milliarden

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 20. Mai werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.


Trade Republic
+++ Sequoia, TCV und Thrive Capital sowie die Altinvestoren Accel, Creandum, Founders Fund, also Peter Thiel, und Project A Ventures investieren 900 Millionen US-Dollar in Trade Republic. Die Bewertung liegt bei beachtlichen 5 Milliarden Dollar. Somit ist der Neobroker Trade Republic das neuste Unicorn im Lande. Über das Interesse von Sequoia, bei Trade Republic einzusteigen, hatten wir bereits Mitte Dezember im Insider-Podcast berichtet (siehe unten). Das Berliner FinTech, das 2015 von Christian Hecker, Thomas Pischke und Marco Cancellieri gegründet wurde, erhielt zuletzt 62 Millionen Euro – unter anderem von Accel und Founders Fund. Hinter Trade Republic verbirgt sich ein mobiler und provisionsfreier Broker mit dem Kunden mobil und provisionsfrei mit Aktien, ETFs und Derivate handeln können. “Der frühe Geldgeber Sino verkauft Anteile im Wert von rund 150 Millionen Dollar, 750 Millionen Dollar fließen in die Firma. Die Bewertung steigt dabei von 730 Millionen Dollar Ende des vergangenen Jahres auf 5,3 Milliarden Dollar”, schreibt FinanceFWD zum Mega-Investment. “Mit dieser Finanzierung werden wir unsere Mission vorantreiben, Millionen von Europäern einen sicheren, einfachen und kostenlosen Zugang zum Kapitalmarkt zu ermöglichen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Über 400 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken bereits für Trade Republic. Nach eigenen Angaben verfügt das Fintech in Deutschland, Frankreich und Österreich derzeit über “mehr als eine Million Kunden”. Mehr über Trade Republic

+++ Target Global, SeedX, main incubator und weitere Investoren investieren 3,6 Millionen Euro in Dabbel. Das PropTech aus Düsseldorf setzt künstliche Intelligenz ein, um die Energieeffizienz in gewerblichen Gebäuden zu steigern. Dazu entwickelt Dabbel “eine cloud-basierte, selbstlernende Gebäudemanagement-Software, die sich in bestehende Gebäudemanagement-Systeme einfügt und die Steuerung von Heiz- und Kühlsystemen auf eine Art und Weise übernimmt”.

+++ Emmanuel Thomassin, Christian Ga?rtner, Rex Jackson und Stine Rolstad Brenna investieren in den Carsharinganbieter Miles. Die Jungfirma unterscheidet sich von der vielen Konkurrenz vor allem durch sein Abrechnungssystem. Abgerechnet werden, anders als bei anderen Carsharing-Anbietern, nur die tatsächlich gefahrenen Kilometer, nicht die Fahrtzeit. In der Vergangenheit investierte vor allem Seriengründer und -investor Lukasz Gadowski in das Berliner Startup. Im vergangenen erwirtschaftete das Unternehmen nach eigenen Angaben einen Umsatz in Höhe von 20 Millionen Euro. Mehr über Miles

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #berlin, #carsharing, #fintech, #miles, #mobility, #neobroker, #proptech, #sequoia, #tcv, #thrive-capital, #trade-republic, #venture-capital

#Brandneu – 7 junge Startups, die man kennen sollte

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Das Passauer Startup Pionize kümmert sich um die große Smart Home-Welt. Die Plattform soll Onliner:innen “die langwierige Recherche zum passenden Smart Home-System” erleichtern. Nach einigen Fragen schlägt das Startup seinen Nutzer:innen ein “individualisiertes Smart Hom-System vor”.

Das junge Startup elvah bietet eine Ladeflatrate für Elektroautos an. “Für unsere Flatrate bezahlst du einen fixen, monatlichen Beitrag – egal wo und wann du lädst”, schreibt die Jungfirma aus Grafschaft, die von Gowrynath Sivaganeshamoorthy, Wilfried Röper, Sören Ziems gegründet wurde.

modelwise entwickelt mit Paitron eine Software für Ingenieure, die der Zielgruppe bei der Automatisierung von Sicherheitsanalysen helfen soll. Dabei setzen die Münchner auf “bestehende Modelle aus Standard-Modellierungsumgebungen”. So soll zusätzlicher Schulungsaufwand vermieden werden.

Das Berliner Startup Taktile, das von Maximilian Eber und Maik Taro Wehmeyer gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Art Low-Code-Plattform für Machine Learning. “Taktile enables enterprises to easily develop business critical Machine Learning applications”, teilt die Jungfirma in eigener Sache mit.

Sportstandort24 möchte Sportvereine und -unternehmen bei der Digitalisierung ihrer Angebote unterstützen. Die Gründer schreiben: “Mithilfe unserer innovativen Software hat Deine Organisation zum Beispiel zahlreiche Möglichkeiten, detaillierte Sportangebote einzustellen und zu verwalten”.

Das Münchner Startup wryte, das von Philipp Kramer und Matthias Schadhauser gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “Mitschrift-App mit automatisierter Speicherung”. Zielgruppe der Jungfirma sind Schüler:innen. Dabei organisiert wryte auch die Zuordnung zu Fächern und Heften.

Das Linzer Startup Sophia möchte Beratung “effizient und bequem machen”. Auf dem Marktplatz der Jungfirma finden Nutzer:innen anhand von Themen angeben, nach welcher Expertise sie suchen.Die Terminfindung erfolgt direkt im Anschluss. Der Austausch erfolgt dann über digitale Meeting-Räume.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #brandneu, #edtech, #elvah, #grafschaft, #internet-of-things, #linz, #meerbusch, #mobility, #modelwise, #munchen, #passau, #pionize, #smart-home, #sophia, #sportstandort24, #startup-radar, #taktile, #wryte

May Mobility’s Edwin Olson and Nina Grooms Lee and Toyota AI Ventures’ Jim Adler on validating your startup idea

When a founder has a work history that includes the name of the parent company of one of their key investors, you probably assume that was one of the first deals to come together. Not so with May Mobility and Toyota AI Ventures, which connected for the company’s second seed round, after May went out and raised its original seed purely on the strength of its own ideas and proposed solutions.

That’s one of the many interesting things we learned from speaking to May Mobility co-founder and CEO Edwin Olson, as well as Chief Product Officer Nina Grooms Lee and Toyota AI Ventures founding partner Jim Adler on an episode of Extra Crunch Live.

Extra Crunch Live goes down every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT. Our next episode is with Sequoia’s Shaun Maguire and Vise’s Samir Vasavada, and you can check out the upcoming schedule right here.

Meanwhile, read on for highlights from our chat with Olson, Grooms Lee and Adler, and then stay tuned at the end for a recording of the full session, including our live pitch-off.

A different approach to corporate VC

One thing Adler brought up early in the chat is that Toyota AI Ventures likely takes a different approach than most traditional corporate VCs, which are often thought of as being more incentivized by strategic alignment than by venture-scale returns. Adler says the firm he founded within the automaker’s corporate umbrella actually does behave much more like a traditional VC in some ways than many would assume.

#automotive, #ec-mobility-software, #ecl, #extra-crunch-live-recap, #may-mobility, #mobility, #startups, #tc, #toyota-ai-ventures, #transportation, #vc

Gogoro strikes deal with Yadea and DCJ to build a battery-swapping network in China

Less than a month after announcing a partnership with India’s largest two-wheeled vehicle maker, Gogoro is taking another big step in its global expansion plans. This time the market is China, where Gogoro’s technology, including its swappable smart batteries, will be used in scooters made by Dachangjiang Group (DCJ), one of the country’s biggest motorcycle makers, and Yadea, one of it top electric two-wheel companies. DCJ and Yadea will jointly invest $50 million in an operating company to develop new two-wheel vehicles with their own branding that use the Gogoro Network, including its batteries, drivetrains, controllers and other components.

“Think of it as DCJ and Yadea combining to create an AT&T,” Gogoro co-founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke told TechCrunch. “Gogoro will be the technology that powers them, so think about it like we’re the Ericsson.”

Last month, Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp announced a strategic partnership to build a battery-swapping network and electric two-wheeled vehicles in India. Gogoro’s new deals in India and China are the biggest steps it has taken for its global strategy since launching the first Gogoro Smartscooter in 2015.

Gogoro’s swappable batteries, its signature technology, means riders can replace their batteries for new ones at charging stations that are small enough to fit on a sidewalk. In Taipei City, where Gogoro is based, its swapping stations are a common sight, usually tucked against storefronts or by the side of gas stations and parking lots. Since Gogoro’s batteries are swappable, electric vehicles that use them don’t need to be parked to be charged. This addresses “range anxiety,” or consumer concerns about how far an electric vehicle can go before it needs to be charged again. The main challenge is making sure there are enough swapping stations to be convenient for riders of two-wheeled vehicles powered by the Gogoro Network.

DCJ and Yadea’s joint venture will launch first in Hangzhou, its pilot city, before expanding into other cities in 2022. Vehicle availability and pricing will be announced later.

Last year, China’s government introduced new regulations that require all new cars sold by 2035 to use “new energy” instead of fossil fuel. Combined, DCJ and Yadea have 47,000 retailers, covering 358 cities, or more than half the cities in China. Luke said this means once the joint venture expands beyond Hangzhou, it will be able to grow quickly.

Gogoro positions itself as a turnkey solution for other electric mobility companies, and its own brand was a way to develop its charging infrastructure and reputation. In Taiwan, where Gogoro-powered two-wheeled vehicles now account for nearly a quarter of monthly sales, its swappable batteries were first used in Gogoro Smartscooters before the technology was licensed to other makers like Kymco, Yamaha and Aeon.

“It was almost like a roundabout way to prove that the platform is feasible,” said Luke. “We had to build our own vehicles, our own retail chain and now we support 400,000 customers and 2,000 stations. That proof case enabled us to work with these larger partners, so when they asked us to pull up data, we could show them the unit economics, durability, stations and how it works. It took many years, but we were getting ready in the biggest way possible.”


DCJ ships about two million motorcycles a year and the joint venture marks the first time it will build an electric motorcycle. “They’ve been looking for technology to transition to electric, and we’ve been talking to them for almost two years to prove that our platform is the right platform for them to start the transition to electric vehicles,” said Luke.

Yadea sold more than 10 million electric two-wheelers in 2020, but wanted an alternative to lithium-ion batteries, he added. Along with Aima, Yadea is one of the best-known affordable electric two-wheeler brands in China, while Niu dominates the premium market.

Gogoro has raised about $480 million in funding since it was founded in 2011, with investors including HTC, Temasek Holdings and Generation Investment Management (GIM), the green-tech investment firm co-founded by former United States vice president Al Gore.

In a press statement, Gore, who is GIM’s chairman, said, “Gogoro’s partnership with Yadea and DCJ in China, which builds upon their existing work with Hero MotoCorp in India, sends a clear signal that the world’s two-wheel leaders are helping to fuel the sustainability revolution in Asia with smart battery swapping.”

#china, #dachangjiang-group, #dcj, #electric-scooters, #electric-two-wheelers, #electric-vehicles, #fundings-exits, #gogoro, #mobility, #startups, #tc, #yadea

The battle for voice recognition inside vehicles is heating up

Once a fringe feature found only in luxury vehicles, voice recognition has moved into the mainstream as more automakers promise a seamless connection between your car, home and all the devices in between. The opportunity to reach consumers in their vehicles — and collect all that data — has automakers, tech giants like Amazon and Google, as well as investors scrambling for a share of the connected cars market.

But this is just the beginning. Voice recognition is expected to be an essential feature in future autonomous vehicles, which will see drivers ultimately surrendering the ability to control the car mechanically. Other applications for voice recognition are also emerging, including automated drones, two-wheelers and even air taxis.

The upshot? A market with significant growth potential and opportunities for investors and companies of all sizes.

The opportunity

The share of cars featuring in-car connected services, which voice recognition requires, grew to 45% in 2020 from 30% in 2018, and is expected to reach 60% by 2024, according to IHS Markit. Automakers keen to improve the consumer experience are driving that growth, said Kyle Davis, IHS Markit’s senior analyst for vehicle experience and connected car, noting that “one of the biggest aspects of the user experience is voice.”

Voice recognition is becoming more common, but that doesn’t mean the technology is always received well by consumers. J.D. Power surveys consistently show consumers complaining about voice recognition systems in vehicles, said John Scumniotales, director of products and design for Alexa Auto at Amazon. Scumniotales sees this as an opportunity to improve that experience with Alexa, and help Amazon gain an even larger foothold in the marketplace.

While there are clear giants in the voice recognition field, there won’t ever be one system or type of digital assistant in vehicles, according to Greg Basich, associate director of Strategy Analytics’ global automotive practice. “You’re going to see multiple systems,” Basich said. “So it’s definitely a growing space.”

Startups will have to contend with behemoths like Google and Amazon, Basich said, adding, “It’s a tough market if you’re a startup (…) You need to be doing something very new or very different.”

In his view, automakers prefer to work with larger, more established companies that can provide long-term support for the technology once it’s in the vehicle. Amazon’s Scumniotales agrees, as the big companies are at a huge advantage since it takes a significant amount of investment to build the technology and then to do it at the scale required for the automotive industry.

Yet, a closer look indicates there is not only room for a number of players, but automakers aren’t always placing their bets on the biggest companies.

The players

Partnerships between automakers and Amazon Alexa or Google get much of the buzz. However, Cerence, a publicly traded company spun off from Nuance Communications in October 2019, actually controls 87% of the embedded virtual personal assistant market, according to Davis.

“The space is pretty small and we’re the largest and most entrenched player in it,” Cerence CTO Prateek Kathpal said in a recent interview. He believes that his company is small enough to take risks, innovate and not be hamstrung by funding issues like a traditional startup.

In January, the company unveiled Cerence Drive, its new platform for mobility assistants that integrates cloud and embedded technologies to provide what it describes as a more seamless and accurate AI voice-recognition experience. The system can support more than 70 languages and can understand commands when vehicle occupants are speaking multiple languages at the same time. It also can comprehend complex, multi-step queries and commands like, “Find directions to Starbucks and also call my mom.”

Cerence has landed a number of customers over the years, including BMW, which has been using the company’s technology since 2000. Simon Euringer, head of personal assistants and voice interaction at BMW, is particularly impressed by Cerence’s hybrid system, which operates both via an embedded system and in the cloud, and provides answers through whichever of the two systems is quicker at the time.

#amazon-alexa, #artificial-intelligence, #automotive, #connected-car, #ec-market-map, #ec-mobility-software, #google-assistant, #mobility, #speech-recognition, #transportation, #virtual-assistant, #voice-assistant, #voice-recognition

#Brandneu – 6 junge Startups, die wir ganz genau im Blick behalten

deutsche-startups.de präsentiert heute wieder einmal einige junge Startups, die zuletzt, also in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten an den Start gegangen sind, sowie Firmen, die zuletzt aus dem Stealth-Mode erwacht sind. Übrigens: Noch mehr neue Startups gibt es in unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar.

Bei craftsoles finden Onliner:innen handgefertigte orthopädische Einlagen. Das Startup, ein Ableger von meevo, einem Online-Sanitätshaus, schickt die benötigten Sets zur Vermessung dabei zu den Kunden. Danach fertigt das craftsoles-Team die Einlagen und schickt diese zum Kunden.

DeepScenario aus München, das von Florian Hirschmann gegründet wurde, möchte Unternehmen durch die intelligente Analyse von Luftbilddaten und der Erstellung von Verkehrsszenarien helfen, das Trendthema autonomes Fahren zu meistern. Dabei setzt die Jungfirma auf “real-world traffic data”, die verschiedene Szenarien abbilden.

Das Kölner Startup Planted möchten seinen “Kund:innen die Möglichkeit geben, aktiv etwas gegen die globale Erwärmung zu unternehmen”. Dazu pflanzt das Unternehmen, das von Jan Borchert, Heinrich Rauh, Cindy Schüller, Wilhelm Hammes gegründet wurde, Mischwälder und kompensiert so CO2-Emissionen.

Bei Mocica handelt es sich um ein Online-Kurs gegen Verspannungen, die durch das Arbeiten im Home Office entstanden sind. “Das Programm ist auf allen mobilen Endgeräten durchführbar und erfordert keine zeitliche Bindung”, teilt das Startup mit. Mocica wurde von Triggerdinger-Macher Maurice Calmano gegründet.

Das in Wien gegründete ClimateTech inoqo entwickelt eine App, die es Onliner:innen ermöglicht, die verursachten CO2-Emissionen von Produkten zu ermitteln. Das Startup wurde von Markus Linder, Doris Wimmer, Hélène Saurais, Simon Haberfellner, Bernhard Schandl und Elisa Gramlich gegründet.

Die Jungfirma Shöpy positioniert sich als “Marketplace für innovative Startup-Produkte im deutschsprachigen Raum”: Ins Leben gerufen wurde der Marktplatz von Christian Pittner. Der Jungunternehmer sieht sein Projekt als “direkten Angriff auf Amazon”.

Tipp: In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar sofort abonnieren!

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): Shutterstock


#aktuell, #brandneu, #climatetech, #craftsoles, #deepscenario, #e-health, #graz, #hamburg, #inoqo, #koln, #mobility, #mocica, #munchen, #planted, #shopy, #startup-radar, #wien

Autonomous vehicle pioneers Karl Iagnemma and Chris Urmson are coming to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

Long before the multi-million-dollar acquisitions and funding rounds pushed autonomous vehicles to the top of the hype cycle, Karl Iagnemma and Chris Urmson were researching and, later, developing the foundations of the technology.

These pioneers, Iagnemma coming from MIT, Urmson from Carnegie Mellon University — would eventually go on to launch their own autonomous vehicle startups in an aim to finally bring years of R&D to the public.

That task isn’t over quite yet. Urmson, who is co-founder and CEO of Aurora, and Iagnemma, who is president and CEO of Motional, are still working on unlocking the technical and business problems that stand in the way of commercialization.

TechCrunch is excited to announce that Urmson and Iagnemma will be joining us on the virtual stage of TC Sessions: Mobility 2021. The one-day event, scheduled for June 9, is bringing together engineers and founders, investors and CEOs who are working on all the present and future ways people and packages will get from Point A to Point B. Iagnemma and Urmson will come to discuss the past, the present challenges and what both aim to do in the future. We’ll tackle questions about the technical problems that remain to be solved, the war over talent, the best business models and applications of autonomous vehicles and maybe even hear a few stories from the early days of testing and launching a startup.

Both guests have a long list of accolades and accomplishments — and too many, to cover them all here.

Urmson has been working on AVs for more than 15 years. He earned his Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and his BSc in computer engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1998. He was a faculty member of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University where he worked with house-sized trucks, drove robots in the desert, and was the technical director of the DARPA Urban and Grand Challenge teams. Urmson has authored more than 60 patents and 50 publications.

He left CMU and was one of the founding members of Google’s self-driving program, serving as its CTO. In 2017, Urmson co-founded Aurora with Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell.

Iagnemma is also considered an authority on robotics and driverless vehicles. He was the director of the Robotic Mobility Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where his research resulted in more than 150 technical publications, 50 issued or filed patents, and numerous edited volumes, including books on the DARPA Grand Challenge and Urban Challenge autonomous vehicle competitions. He holds MS and PhD degrees from MIT, where he was a National Science Foundation fellow, and a BS from the University of Michigan, where he graduated first in his class.

In 2013, Iagnemma co-founded autonomous vehicle startup nuTonomy, one of the first to launch ride-hailing pilots. The company was acquired by Aptiv in late 2017. Aptiv and Hyundai formed the joint venture, which he now heads, in 2020. 

Iagnemma and Urmson are two of the many of the best and brightest minds in transportation who will be joining us on our virtual stage in June. Among the growing list of speakers is GM’s vp of global innovation Pam Fletcher, Scale AI CEO Alexandr Wang, Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt, investor and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, whose special purpose acquisition company just merged with Joby, investors Clara Brenner of Urban Innovation Fund, Quin Garcia of Autotech Ventures and Rachel Holt of Construct Capital, Starship Technologies co-founder and CEO/CTO Ahti Heinla, Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson, community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler, Remix co-founder and CEO Tiffany Chu and Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig.

Stay tuned for more announcements in the weeks leading up to the event. Early Bird sales ends tonight, May 7 at 11:59 pm PT. Be sure to book your tickets ASAP and save $100.

#alexandr-wang, #aptiv, #aurora, #automotive, #autonomous-vehicles, #autotech-ventures, #b, #carnegie-mellon-university, #ceo, #chris-urmson, #clara-brenner, #construct-capital, #cto, #director, #electric-vehicles, #frank-reig, #grand-challenge, #hyundai, #jesse-levinson, #joeben-bevirt, #karl-iagnemma, #linkedin, #massachusetts-institute-of-technology, #michigan, #mit, #mobility, #motional, #national-science-foundation, #nutonomy, #pam-fletcher, #quin-garcia, #rachel-holt, #reid-hoffman, #revel, #robotics-institute, #scale-ai, #science-and-technology, #self-driving-cars, #starship-technologies, #sterling-anderson, #tamika-l-butler, #technology, #tiffany-chu, #transportation, #uber-atg, #university-of-michigan, #urban-innovation-fund, #zoox

GM’s Pam Fletcher is coming to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 to talk about how to build a startup

GM might be best known for the millions of Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC-branded vehicles it designs, produces, finances and sells each year. But it also has a burgeoning incubator, where a team of 600 employees are working to develop 20 new businesses with a total addressable market of about $1.3 trillion.

A few of the first startup fruits have already come to bear, including OnStar Guardian, OnStar Insurance, GM Defense and most recently, BrightDrop — the commercial electric vehicle delivery business that launched in January. Pam Fletcher, a veteran at GM and vice president of the company’s Global Innovation team, is at the center of this effort and helped shepherd BrightDrop from idea to startup graduate. And she’s not done.

An engineer by training, Fletcher has been given a lofty directive to turn high-potential innovative ideas into scalable business ventures that drive growth and transform the GM business model beyond traditional automotive. And she’s coming to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, a virtual event scheduled for June 9, to talk about their strategy and what’s coming next.

Fletcher’s experience is broad and global. She has held a variety of leadership positions, guiding the development of GM’s electric vehicle and self-driving portfolio and technologies. Prior to joining the innovation incubator, she was vice president of global electric vehicles at GM. The teams she directed were responsible for the development of two generations of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt and the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV. Her team also led the development of Super Cruise, the automaker’s hands-free highway driver assist system as well as three generations of Cruise AVs.

She also serves as a corporate director of Coherent Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company based in Silicon Valley, and is also a board member of GM Defense LLC. Fletcher was named to Motor Trend’s 2018 and 2019 Power List of auto industry leaders and was one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” of 2017. She serves on the Board of Advisors for the College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Fletcher is just one of many of the best and brightest minds in transportation who will be joining us on our virtual stage in June. Among the growing list of speakers is TechCrunch Scale AI CEO Alexandr Wang, Joby Aviation founder and CEO JonBen Bevirt, investor and Linked founder Reid Hoffman, whose special purpose acquisition company just merged with Joby, investors Clara Brenner of Urban Innovation Fund, Quin Garcia of Autotech Ventures and Rachel Holt of Construct Capital, Starship Technologies co-founder and CEO/CTO Ahti Heinla, Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson, community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler, Remix co-founder and CEO Tiffany Chu and Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig.

Stay tuned for more announcements in the weeks leading up to the event. Early Bird sales end this Thursday, May 6. Be sure to book your tickets ASAP and save $100.

#automotive, #autonomous-vehicles, #cruise, #electric-vehicles, #gm, #joby-aviation, #mary-barra, #mobility, #onstar, #tc, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021, #transportation, #zoox

Revel’s Frank Reig shares how he built his business and what he’s planning

It’s only been three years since they hit the streets and Revel’s blue electric mopeds have already become a common sight in New York, San Francisco and a growing number of U.S. cities. However, Revel founder and CEO Frank Reig has set his sights far beyond building a shared moped service.

In fact, since the beginning of 2021, Revel has launched an e-bike subscription service, an EV charging station venture and an all-electric rideshare service driven by a fleet of 50 Teslas.

So we caught up with Reig to talk about what he learned from building the company, how Revel’s business strategy has evolved, and what lies ahead.

Before we get to the good stuff, here’s some background:

The idea for Revel seems like it came from the classic entrepreneur’s guidebook: Reig had a need that no existing company addressed. He’d seen mopeds used as major, if not dominant, forms of transportation as he traveled around Europe, Asia and Latin America, and he wondered why this logical (and fun) mode of transport was largely absent from American cities in general, and in his hometown, New York City, in particular.

So in 2018, Reig quit his job, raised $1.1 million from 57 people, and launched a small pilot program involving 68 mopeds in Brooklyn. In May 2019, he raised $4 million in VC funding, which helped him expand to 1,000 electric mopeds across Brooklyn and Queens. Revel secured another $33.8 million in September 2019, in a round that included funding from Ibex Investments, Toyota Ventures, Maniv Capital, Shell and Hyundai, according to Reig. This has allowed the founder to execute a grander plan to build an electric mobility company.

The company now operates more than 3,000 e-mopeds in New York City, and has another 3,000 across Washington, D.C., Miami, Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco.

TechCrunch: You’ve added three new business lines and told us previously that you have more on the way. That’s a lot.

Frank Reig: Yes, we have had a busy start to 2021! We began the year announcing our fast-charging stations across the city that will help fill the large gap in infrastructure to support the wide-scale adoption of EVs. We launched our e-bike subscription program to offer New Yorkers another way to navigate their city, and with our newly announced electric ride-sharing program, we are solving the “chicken and egg” problem of EV charging and demand. We are focused on building out these business lines and our moped business as well and very much looking forward to what is to come.

When shared micromobility companies expand, they often just offer different vehicles. You seem to be going, “Ok, we’ll offer a different vehicle — an e-bike, but it’s a subscription. And we’re also doing electric vehicle chargers, and let’s add an EV rideshare to the mix.” It’s pretty broad.

If we’re talking about electrifying mobility in major cities, it starts with infrastructure. And we’re the company rolling up our sleeves and doing it now by building that infrastructure and operating fleets. Because in a city like New York, the infrastructure does not exist for electric mobility.

There are a few Tesla superchargers around the city, usually behind parking paywalls, so you have to pay the garage to even use it. And, of course, you need a Tesla for that infrastructure to even be relevant. And when you think about other public fast-charging access points in the city, they are few and far between. We’re building 30 in one site and many more beyond that in 2021.

New York is a complicated city to operate in, so it’s easier for us to add e-bikes as a service because I already have the infrastructure and on-the-ground operations that we built with the mopeds. I have multiple warehouses throughout this city. I have full-time staff that I’ve employed, from field technicians to mechanics, and a fleet of over 3,000 vehicles on the streets in New York. So it’s a natural extension of the platform to be able to add another product to it, to reach a new type of user, or to supplement the use case of our current moped users. All we needed to do was finance some e-bikes, and then you have another line of business.

#e-bikes, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicles, #ev-charging-stations, #frank-reig, #micromobility, #mobility, #revel, #startups, #tc, #transportation

Score a Free 30-day Extra Crunch membership when you buy a pass to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

Does the science, technology — and yes, art — of creating new ways to transport people and parcels get your EV motor running? Then join us on June 9 at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021.

We’ll pack the day with interactive presentations and breakout sessions. Explore new tech, find emerging trends, discover what’s catching investor interest — and learn about evolving regulatory issues that affect the way mobility startups engage with cities and towns around the globe.

Buy your pass and take advantage of this extra perk — one free month of access to Extra Crunch, our members-only program featuring exclusive daily articles for founders and startup teams. Can you say value add? Yes, yes you can.

Pro Tip 1: Did you already buy a pass? No worries — we’ll email existing pass holders details on how they can claim their free Extra Crunch membership. All new ticket purchasers will receive information via email immediately after they complete their purchase.

Pro Tip 2: Do you already subscribe to Extra Crunch? Simply email extracrunch@techcrunch.com, tell us you’re an existing Extra Crunch member who bought a ticket to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, and we’ll happily extend your membership.

TechCrunch always delivers the top experts in their field, and this event is no exception. You’ll connect and engage with the mobility movers, shakers, influencers and makers. It’s an opportunity to expand your network, find funding, forge new partnerships and yes, scope out your competition, too.

Here’s a peek at just some of the super speakers who will grace TC Mobility 2021’s virtual stage.

Can mobility be accessible, equitable and profitable? We tapped three heavy hitters to tackle this hot topic: Tamika L. Butler, a community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer, Remix Co-founder and CEO, Tiffany Chu and Frank Reig, Revel co-founder and CEO.

Joby Aviation founder, JoeBen Bevirt and Reid Hoffman, a LinkedIn co-founder and an investor who knows a thing or two about SPACs, will share their expertise on building a startup, keeping it secret while raising funds, the future of flight and, of course, SPACs.

What do people say about their Mobility experience? Rachael Wilcox, a creative producer at Volvo Cars — and a serial TC Sessions: Mobility attendee — told us why she makes it a point to attend every year.

“I go to TC Sessions: Mobility to find new and interesting companies, make new business connections and look for startups with investment potential. It’s an opportunity to expand my knowledge and inform my work.”

TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 takes place on June 9. Early bird savings remain in effect until May 5, at 11:59 pm (PT). Buy your pass now, save money and enjoy one month of free access to Extra Crunch. Yay!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#articles, #business, #co-founder, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #frank-reig, #linkedin, #mobility, #private-equity, #reid-hoffman, #revel, #startup-company, #tamika-l-butler, #tc, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021, #tiffany-chu, #volvo-cars

Citi Bike rival JOCO brings shared, docked e-bikes to NYC

Move over Citi Bike, there’s a new docked, shared bike service in town — only this one is all electric. Next week, JOCO will be the first shared operator in New York City to launch a network of e-bike stations on private property for public use.

The service, powered by shared mobility platform Vulog, will start with 30 stations and 300 e-bikes located around Manhattan, expanding to 100 stations and 1,000 bikes by June. This is not the first new shared operator to hit the streets of New York this year. Last week, the city announced the winning companies of the e-scooter pilot in the Bronx. But while Bird, Lime and Veo are restricted to operating in a section of the Bronx, far from any Citi Bike territory, JOCO is under no such constraints.

The company’s bikes will initially be stationed at parking garages around the city, including at Icon Parking garages, the city’s largest parking operators, but the company says it hopes to expand to residential and commercial buildings in the near future. The company essentially pays landlords to provide this amenity, while absolving them from having to operate or maintain the e-bikes.

“What differentiates us from Citi Bike is, first of all, our bikes are 100% electric, 100% premium,” co-founder Jonathan “Johnny” Cohen from New York told TechCrunch. (The two co-founders are both named Johnathan Cohen — one is from New York, the other from London. JOCO…get it?). “You can reserve our bikes in advance, and as we’re on private property, there are hand sanitizer at our stations, the bikes aren’t getting rained on every night, they’re a bit cleaner and easier to access.”

A map of JOCO's launch e-bike dock locations

A map of JOCO’s 30 launch e-bike dock locations in NYC.

Citi Bike’s fleet is about 30% electric. To charge the e-bikes, the Lyft-owned company must manually take the drained vehicles from their stations to charge them, whereas JOCO’s vehicles are charged at the stations. Like Citi Bike, each e-bike can last for about 30 miles on a charge.

“That’s enough to get around Manhattan several times,” said London Jo (another moniker for differentiating between the two John/Jon Cohens). “We expect our vehicles to always be charged and ready to go for the customer. It defeats the purpose when you’re taking a bike that’s extremely sustainable, and then come along in a gas-burning vehicle to swap the battery. We’re looking to be a truly environmentally friendly company and provide a more consistent and reliable service.”

Founded in 2019 and funded privately by a group of former CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and specifically investors with technology and real estate backgrounds, JOCO offers e-bikes at a price point that’s comparable, if not directly competitive, to Citi Bike. It’ll cost riders $1 to unlock the bike and .25 cents a minute, so a 10 minute ride will come out to $3.50. If you can find an electric Citi Bike, it’ll cost a rider $3.50 to unlock and .18 cents a minute, which comes out to about $5.30.

“That’s significantly cheaper in our opinion for a brand new, gorgeous, full electric premium bike,” said NY Jo.

Neither company charges unlock fees for members. JOCO’s monthly membership is $49 per month with unlimited use, and Citi Bike’s is $20 per month, with monthly members continuing to pay 18 cents per minute, and annual members paying 12 cents per minute. Under Citi Bike’s annual membership, if a rider is averaging out about five 10-minute rides per week, the monthly spend is comparable between the two companies.

“Citi Bike has been