By Sam Cash
Voi has raised a $160 million Series C and we’re delighted to continue to be part of their journey.
Voi is on the way to being Europe’s leading micromobility company — as evidenced by their incredible growth, leading market position and the impressive pace in which they have been winning city contracts against competitors.
Micromobility has grown from a interesting consumer proposition a few years ago into a viable, large scale business with massive upside for consumers and cities. With the positive impacts on users lives, accelerated by covid, as well as the impact on the environment — we remain hugely excited for Voi and the team. Let’s revisit the simple thesis on why we invested, and how it remains true today:
- 🚀 Insane execution speed: Voi is simply the fastest at scaling into new cities. In Europe, they were one of the first to market and have been moving at hyper speed since; their scaling, execution and user cohort growth are unprecedented. At the time of writing, they’re in more than 40 cities. The team has managed to deal with the complexities of launching in multiple cities, whilst continuing to grow cohorts in existing locations. Voi has become Europe’s preferred operator, winning over two thirds of city license tenders across Europe, including recent wins in Birmingham, Liverpool, Bern and Cambridge. They’re also leading in terms of fleet efficiency across active markets.
- ️🏛 Close government regulations: One key hypothesis behind backing a European company is that governments will favour local players and maintaining these relationships as a positive actor will be key. Some cities have grown somewhat weary of private transportation companies, introducing varying regulations. VOI insists on working closely with local governments from day zero and remain mindful of the city-specific regulations and idiosyncrasies. They’ve gone so far as establishing an industry-specific Code of Conduct in Stockholm and other cities, based on their best practices. VOI leads by example and we’re confident this is the path to sustainable growth.
- 🚀🙎🚀Amazing team: Fredrik, Douglas, Carro, Filip, Adam & the rest of the team are some of the hungriest entrepreneurs we’ve met. They’re fighting so many battles in expansion, product, supply chain, hiring and regulatory work — and they continually exceed expectations. The team has proven themselves in terms of recruiting, having hired top talent from companies such as Uber, Bird, Spotify, amongst others. The team is truly international and currently comprised of twenty seven different nationalities. They’ve been a pleasure to work with, and are truly Scandinavian in marrying ambition, values, hunger with humility and humour (be sure to check out their jobs page -> here)
- ⛄️ The coldest market is sometimes the best market: The European winner in shared micromobility needs to have a strong home base. Initially, we thought that the cold and dark Nordics may not be the best market to be in but winter usage has been markedly consistent. The seasonality impact has been much lower than expected and VOI’s customer base is highly engaged and loyal. Contrary to our initial beliefs, the Nordics turns out to be a great home base.
- ⚒️ Fast and high-quality in-house development: VOI have been building integrated full-stack capabilities in-house since the outset, key ingredients like their back-end, connectivity module and new form factors. They’ve built a community of ‘VOI Hunters’ to help with network rebalancing, the vital recharging and relocation of scooters. We’re in awe of the speed in which, both physical and digital products have improved. The company continues to find the right balance between to speed to market, product quality and network uptime
Additionally, we think the highly complementary investor syndicate — Creandum, Balderton, Vostok, LocalGlobe, Raine, Project A & an all-star line up of angels — further adds to the list of why VOI will continue as the European leader.
Beyond being excited about further supporting VOI in their expansion, we’re also excited about the opportunities this current wave of shared mobility provides.
Beyond being excited about partnering and supporting VOI in their expansion, we’re also excited about the opportunities this current wave of shared mobility provides.
By 2030, 70% of Europe’s population will live in cities, representing 80%+ of GDP and the majority GDP growth. This continued economic centralisation and urbanisation, will greatly exacerbate issues such as pollution, congestion and income inequality.
In Europe, growing cities continue to be structured socio-economically from the center outwards, those with means tend to be placed physically closer to economic prosperity. Mobility serves a broader purpose of providing freedom and connection to opportunity. Whilst it’s the early innings of the current mobility wave, we’re excited about the future. There are a number of themes we’re interested in — if you’re building in any of these we’d love to chat:
- Improving UX: a slew of new private transport options provides both consumer choice and an increasingly complex constellation of apps — how can the consumer experience be improved?
- Tools for governments: it’s clear today that local governments need better tools to understand the evolving demands of their cities and inhabitants
- Shared transport for the forgotten many: whilst new forms of shared mobility have appealed to the mass-affluent, we’re fascinated by use cases catering to those who don’t have access to these new mobility networks
- Logistics and delivery: global logistics and delivery is a large, complex and fractured market which is a significant contributor to global CO2 emissions — how might technology bring efficiency to this space?
This article was first published in May 2019, and was updated in December 2020.