Scooters, a standard sight on the streets of Taiwan, give commuters an alternative choice to vehicles within the nation’s densely-populated cities. However additionally they contribute to air pollution and jam-packed parking areas. Over the previous few yr, a number of corporations haven taken on the problem of making extra environmentally-friendly options to conventional fuel scooters. Gogoro might be best-known internationally for its electrical SmartScooters, which are actually the class’s top-sellers in Taiwan. Whereas much less recognized exterior of the nation, nevertheless, scooter-sharing startup WeMo has grown steadily since launching in 2016. It now has a fleet of greater than 7,000 scooters in three of Taiwan’s largest cities and says customers take about a million rides monthly.

WeMo just lately introduced it has raised a multi-million Collection A led by AppWorks, making it the Taiwanese enterprise capital agency’s first good mobility funding. The funding is getting used to increase past Taipei Metropolis, New Taipei Metropolis and Kaohsiung, WeMo’s present markets, with plans to go worldwide, too, launching first in Southeast Asian international locations.

In Taiwan, WeMo competes with iRent, a automotive and scooter rental service, in addition to GoShare, the mobility-sharing platform Gogoro launched a yr in the past.

WeMo co-founder and chief govt officer Jeffrey Wu advised TechCrunch that his firm differentiates as a result of from the start, it has centered on creating good tech particularly for sharing scooters.

As an alternative of growing their very own electrical automobiles, like Gogoro, WeMo partnered with Kymco, one among Taiwan’s largest scooters manufacturers. Every scooter is provided with an internet-connected black field that was developed in-house by WeMo.

The black packing containers allow WeMo to handle its fleet’s batteries, whereas offering knowledge from rides, together with site visitors and highway high quality (for instance, it detects when streets are bumpy) that may be shared with policymakers to enhance transportation infrastructure. The black packing containers additionally join with WeMo’s consumer app, displaying the place scooters can be found, unlocking them and sending alerts about site visitors situations.

WeMo started engaged on its service in 2015, a few yr earlier than launching with an preliminary fleet of 200 automobiles. Earlier than cofounding WeMo, Wu was a guide at McKinsey and Firm.

“I used to be going again to my background of being a technique guide and on the time, my co-founder and I made a decision we wished to do one thing in Taiwan that was very totally different from how folks had practiced enterprise previously, as a result of there have been lots of totally different macro-trends altering the atmosphere,” he mentioned.

“Clearly the shared economic system sector was simply booming and on the similar time, mobile-first expertise was starting to prevail. However we realized that the transportation sector had not modified in a really, very very long time, so we thought if we’re in a position to make use of the sharing economic system or pay-as-you-go idea coupled with inexperienced automobiles, and supply that on an enormous scale to shoppers, we may transfer to a greener, smarter and extra handy type of transportation.”

Wu additionally sensed a market alternative due to the variety of unused scooters he noticed parked on the facet of streets day after day. Regardless of being one of the widespread transportation strategies in Taiwan, discovering parking in main cities is commonly a problem, which suggests many scooters are underutilized.

WeMo fleets are situated in parking heaps, and scooters may be unlocked by means of the consumer app. Rental charges have totally different tiers, together with per minute and hourly charges and month-to-month plans. The app is on the market in Chinese language and English, to serve native riders in addition to vacationers. Riders also can now register accounts and lease scooters by means of LINE, probably the most widely-used messaging app in Taiwan.

To organize for increasing into new markets, Wu mentioned a part of WeMo’s new funding is getting used to increase its analysis and growth heart in Taiwan. The corporate plans to rent as much as 100 {hardware} and software program engineers, particularly ones who’ve expertise in self-driving expertise, automobile telematics and machine studying. Wu mentioned WeMo’s plan is to be a “mobility-as-a-service” platform, working with companions to launch scooter-sharing companies in new markets.

“Over the previous 5 years, folks have turn out to be used to shared mobility companies, however 5 years in the past it wasn’t such a developed area, so we needed to give you the expertise and functions,” Wu mentioned. “Now we’re taking a look at what the way forward for mobility ought to appear to be, and the way we use IoT expertise to increase exterior of transportation and use our knowledge to assist customers maneuver extra simply of their cities.”

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