Tier, the European e-scooter rental startup operating in 55 cities in 11 countries, has increased funding for the second time in four months.
The Berlin-based company has extended its Series B round from over $ 60 million in October to over $ 100 million. The additional capital is a mix of equity and debt financing provided by Moscow's RTP Global, London's Novator and an undisclosed US debt fund. Part one of Series B was jointly managed by Mubadala Capital and Goodwater Capital.
According to Tier, the additional funds will be invested in research and development in order to achieve further efficiency and vehicle development. The so-called “micromobility” startup will also strengthen its management team – the company recently hired a new CCO and COO – and continue M&A activities.
In addition, Tier will expand its vehicle fleet – possibly with new product categories for micromobility – to "enable more people and more cities across Europe to achieve sustainable mobility".
In January, Tier tacitly acquired the British startup Pushme Bikes, a manufacturer of removable batteries and other mobility-related hardware. The company was believed to be developing a network of "Last Mile" battery change stations, which appears to be directly related to Tier's recent move to expand its scooter fleet with new scooters that use replaceable batteries.
In a short WhatsApp conversation with Lawrence Leuschner, co-founder and CEO of Tier, he described the purchase of Pushme Bikes as an "Acqui-Hire" based on the design and development skills of the team, which will give Tier a necessary boost in the future hardware plans.
He also said that Tier had already replaced 80% of its fleet with interchangeable battery technology scooters when switching to interchangeable, battery-based e-scooters, which in turn contributed to significantly improved unit economics. This is because the scooters no longer have to be taken off the road and taken to a central location for charging and maintenance by van to be returned a few hours later. Instead, if possible, on-site maintenance is carried out, and empty batteries are simply replaced and transported by cargo e-bike (see illustration) to a central loading warehouse or in some cases to a nearby charging station.
Remarkably, unlike most e-scooter rental companies, Tier avoided gig economy staff who had been charging from the start and preferred to use a central system to maintain quality of service. "The gig economy is dead [in relation to e-scooter rentals]“Leuschner says emphatically and notes that interchangeable battery technology means that a central system makes even more sense.
And if you're wondering what Tier did to its old e-scooters after most of its fleet was replaced with newer hardware, Leuschner explained that the devices made by Okai go directly to German consumers for private use through the MyTier app Use to be resold. This may not be surprising since the Tier CEO previously founded reBuy, a European leader in used electronics.
Cue statement by Anton Inshutin, partner at RTP Global: “We were impressed by the team's careful focus on capital efficiency and the improvement of operational excellence. They have managed to deliver a first-class, unified economy that enables them to expand profitably in winter. We look forward to working with this impressive team, which is unrivaled in its execution as the company continues to grow. "