The Berlin-based e-scooter startup Tier Mobility has extended its Series B funding round to $100 million, up from an initial $60 million first announced in October, according to Bloomberg.
The mobility platform was first founded in late 2018, and already operates in 55 cities and 11 countries.
The new funding comes from equity and debt financing through RTP Global, Novator, and an undisclosed US debt fund. The earlier funding was led by Mubadala Capital and Goodwater Capital. The startup says the funding will drive research and development to boost efficiency and vehicle development.
As the top e-scooter platforms have surged in the US, including Bird, Lime, and Uber Jump, Europe has seen an abundance of homegrown competitors, including Circ and Voi. In January, California-based Bird announced plans to acquire Circ.
As the micro-mobility market has become increasingly crowded, it’s also begun to face a regulatory backlash. Montreal recently banned e-scooters entirely, citing frequent illegal parking. Many other cities have said the scooters are often left littering streets and sidewalks. Some US cities are limiting where they can be used, France has put in place rules to ensure scooters have proper lights and braking systems, and Germany has proposed requiring permits to park in public spaces.
Though Tier hasn’t raised as much capital as some of its top rivals, particularly those based across the Atlantic, the company has sought to distinguish itself in other ways. Tier has focused exclusively on Europe, and has emphasized efficiency and sustainability.
In January, the company acquired the UK firm PushMe Bikes, which produces replaceable batteries and other mobility hardware.
Speaking to TechCrunch, CEO and co-founder Lawrence Leuschner described the move as an “acqui-hire,” to access the company’s design and development expertise for Tier’s own hardware plans.
He said 80 percent of Tier’s scooters have been replaced by swappable battery models, which means they no longer need to be taken off the street and out of rotation for charging and maintenance.
Tier has also avoided the gig worker model, embraced by other mobility platforms, instead hiring its own staff for the operations crew that handles charging, maintenance, and distribution.
While early versions of the scooters offered a lifespan of just a few months, Tier’s scooters now last 18 to 24 months, with even more durability expected from the new swappable battery models.
“We are in the transportation system, and we have to take care of those scooters. We have to maintain them on a daily basis. That’s the only way we can guarantee safety [for] our riders responsibly and to the city and also the sustainability of our business and the scooters. There’s no part of the scooter we can’t repair. And because we operate with own warehouse and own maintenance and repair people, we have complete control of the supply chain.”
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