Intelligence Platform For "Micro-Mobility" Sector
Superpedestrian is a "mobility" company with two products:
• A fleet of self-diagnosing electric scooters.
• And Intelligence software that helps companies that rent out bikes and scooters (“micro mobility” companies) better manage their business.
Superpedestrian is a later-stage startup. Companies like this have achieved more progress than early-stage startups. For example, they may be generating substantial revenues.
Superpedestrian is aiming to reach $500 million in revenues by 2021. This helps explain why it's raising money at what looks like a very high valuation: $120 million.
The company has already received funding from two prominent venture capital firms: Spark Capital and General Catalyst. Spark Capital’s portfolio includes Twitter, Slack, and Warby Parker. And General Catalyst has previously invested in Airbnb, Stripe, and Snapchat.
In addition, Superpedestrian has captured the prestigious Red Dot Design Award, an award given as part of an international competition for product design. Previous winners include Apple, BMW, Bose, Siemens, and Porsche.
(Please note: This particular startup is raising funds from accredited investors only. An accredited investor is someone with a net worth of at least $1 million, or annual income of at least $200,000, or $300,000 with their spouse.)
By 2050, nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.
As a result, there's rising demand for urban mobility, yet city roads are already at capacity. This problem is compounded by the growth of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, which have added thousands of cars to the road.
One solution to alleviate this congestion is “micro mobility” — a term used to describe compact forms of transportation like bikes and scooters.
In 2018, there were 80 million micro-mobility “trips” taken in the U.S., including more than 30 million scooter trips. This led to the emergence of more than 100 scooter-sharing businesses.
A handful of these companies have reached billion-dollar valuations, or been acquired for huge price tags.
Jump, for example, was acquired by Uber for $200 million. Bird recently raised funding at a $2.5 billion valuation, and Lime was recently valued at $2.4 billion.
According to McKinsey, a global consulting firm, the micro-mobility market is projected to reach $300 billion by 2030. And according to CB Insights, professional investors have put $8 billion into this industry since 2017.
But despite the increased interest in this sector, many companies in this industry are finding it difficult to become profitable. Even with substantial revenues, these companies are hindered with expenses like charging scooters and bikes electrically, making repairs, and dealing with theft or damage. So they operate at a financial loss.
Superpedestrian helps these companies reduce their primary expenses, enabling them to achieve profitability sooner. In fact, it can help businesses reduce their costs by 62%.
Superpedestrian is a “picks and shovels” business. Let me explain that term:
If you were an investor during the California gold rush in the 1850s, you had two options:
1. You could purchase a pick or a shovel and dig for gold...
2. Or you could sell picks and shovels to all the fortune hunters.
The second option carries much less risk — but it still offers big upside. And the same principle holds true today:
You could invest in a micro-mobility startup that's selling bikes or scooters...
Or you could invest in a company that *helps* those companies succeed — as is the case with Superpedestrian.
Superpedestrian’s system is a combination of custom-designed “smart” scooters and e-bikes, along with a software platform. These components work hand-in-hand to help micro-mobility companies trim costs.
The scooters feature a set of four micro-computers and dozens of sensors that monitor operations, diagnose and automatically resolve issues, and escalate repair requirements. Sensors can identify nearly 100 potential malfunctions in real-time, including short circuits, flat tires, failing batteries, and various electrical problems.
To further explain how this four-step process works, consider an example of a scooter that experiences an issue while transporting a rider. The four steps are as follows:
• Sense: Each scooter is able to sense specific issues while in operation. For example, it may recognize that it’s having trouble propelling a rider up a hill.
• Analyze: Next, the scooter is able to identify the issue — in this case, for example, a broken capacitor. It will then identify that a replacement part is needed.
• Protect: After identifying the issue, the scooter can protect itself and the rider. Continuing this example, the bike may reduce its maximum speed by 5% to ensure safe operation for the duration of the trip.
• Report: Finally, the issue is communicated to the company that owns the scooter, which can open a service ticket and address the issue.
Superpedestrian earns revenue by selling each scooter for roughly $650, and charging $10 per month per scooter for its software.
The company was founded at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, a research group specializing in robotics and data analytics. Superpedestrian’s team includes 31 robotics engineers with an average of 18 years experience.
The company has been issued 26 patents for its system, including ones for fleet data collection methods, security, and diagnostics tools.
Moving forward, the company believes its software could be used to support transportation companies outside of the micro-mobility market, such as ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.
In addition to his role with Superpedestrian, Assaf teaches at MIT as the Associate Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, a research group specializing in robotics and data analytics. He has held this position since 2004.
He has been awarded multiple patents for his inventions, and has co-authored more than 45 publications.
He received a degree from MIT.
Gil has 25 years of experience in product development, marketing, and global operations.
Before joining the team at Superpedestrian, he was Vice President of Global Services for FalconStor Software (OTCMKTS: FALC), a computer software company. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of CounterStorm, a security startup providing intrusion prevention systems to businesses.
Gil spent two years in a management position with Sapiens (NASDAQ: SPNS), a company developing computer software for the insurance industry. While there, he opened up new revenue streams and increased sales from $12 million to $23 million.
He spent three years with CA Technologies, a computer software company generating more than $4.2 billion in annual revenue. He served as VP of Channel Marketing for North America and VP of Product Management.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Ben Gurion University and an MBA from Baruch College.
Graham has been with Superpedestrian since February 2019.
Before that, he was a founding partner at Empire Angels, a NYC-based group of angel investors.
For six years, he served on the Board of Directors for ZoomCar, India’s largest shared car rental company. Prior to that, he co-founded LiftMetrix, a marketing and analytics company that was acquired by Hootsuite in February 2017.
Graham earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Finance from Boston College.
Early stage and growth equity fund, investor in Airbnb, Brightcove, ClassPass, GroupMe, Handy, Jet, Kayak, Oscar, Stripe, Venmo, & Warby Parker
A VC firm that's invested in Twitter, Slack, and Warby Parker.