By Scott Shepard, Chief Commercial Officer of Free2Move
“Move fast and break things”. This mantra worked, didn’t it? It certainly gave us countless new startups and mobility options. But we’re coming to realize that this business model perhaps isn’t quite sustainable in the long run. As European mobility startups flush with ideas are looking to pitch to VCs flush with cash, everyone is having a collective hangover.
New European mobility startups looking for early (or multiple) investment rounds are better understanding the complexity of setting up ventures for the long haul. As a result, stakeholders on both sides of the negotiation table are starting to move past the hype and ask more informed questions regarding the financial viability of such options.
The dust is starting to settle on the micromobility market, and we’re seeing a rapid transformation from the standard VC mandate of “growth over profit” to a more surgical view towards revenue and standard business health KPIs. This is taking the form of many different approaches, including best practices such as:
- Public Private Partnerships
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Bike and Scooter Balancing
- Improved Unit Economics
- Additional Cost Savings (Operations, Maintenance, etc)
It is important to remember that for new startups to succeed in the European market, the most import rule is that collaboration is highly important. As witnessed by the recent success of several scooter launches across Europe, the common denominator was the fact that each and every operator had proactively reached out to the cities beforehand to establish and open and productive dialogue.
Cities want new mobility startups to be successful. Therefore by establishing public private partnerships from the start, everyone wins. As the public sector is responsible for the public safety and quality of infrastructure, along with long range planning and investment to support a range of initiatives (such as quality of life, environmental quality, economic development, etc), new mobility startups and operators would be wise to better understand and align with these urban goals and objectives.
Taking a collaborative approach ensures that all parties are on board and there are no gaps in the performance (and viability) of such opportunities. By learning from the mistakes of the “move fast and break things” approach, we can better realize the value of shared mobility startups and investments and provide inhabitants with better incentives to stop using their own automobiles.