TIER, the European micro-mobility leader, recently announced the completion of a $250 million Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Existing investors including Mubadala Investment Company’s financial investment arm, Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital, White Star Capital, Novator and RTP Global also participated in the round.
Since its 2018 launch, TIER has established itself as the European market leader in e-scooters, as it deployed 60.000 e-scooters across 80 cities in ten countries. The Berlin-based company is already profitable and will use the investment to accelerate the company’s vision to Change Mobility for Good. TIER is revolutionising urban transport with innovative new technologies and micro-mobility solutions that significantly reduce car traffic and free cities from emissions and congestion.
The focus of this new funding will be to significantly extend the company’s leading coverage in Europe, to accelerate its ambitious expansion into strategic growth markets and to fast track its TIER Energy Network; a groundbreaking innovation that will see thousands of charging stations installed in cities across Europe to power electric vehicles in the most efficient and sustainable way. In addition to the closed series C investment round, TIER is currently in the process of securing a significant debt facility to fund vehicle expansion.
In the UK e-scooter trials continue in selected cities, despite a small number of deaths. The strategy from government and councils to replace cars with scooters and bicycles continues to gather pace, backed by Marxist activist groups like Extinction Rebellion. However, scooters simply do not offer practical transport for families who require bulky amounts of shopping each week, nor are they safe transport for women who fear physical attack, especially after dark. E-scooters are undeniably fun commuter transport for single persons without luggage, but mixing 15mph gadgets with heavy delivery lorries and buses isn’t sensible, people will die. Insurers must realise that is a very real risk if e-scooters become mass transport.
In theory insurers can offer cover on e-scooters based on personal details given via a hiring/rideshare app. But those details don’t tell insurers anything about the rider’s road experience; do they have a licence to drive, or ride a motorcycle? Have they ANY two-wheeled device experience at all, or had training? Are they wearing a BSI approved safety helmet or clothing, have they hired a scooter before with another operator, and was there an accident, theft or pedestrian claim?
The rush to force people to use e-scooters, not cars, means that many novices will inevitably suffer serious accidents, often with life-changing consequences. Insurers should be wary of utopian dreams and the evangelical tone used by the promoters of urban transport solutions which go against human nature and ignore potentially fatal safety concerns.