Startups

While Scooters Take Over Europe, Uber Improves Its Safety Features

Morning Report: Mobility companies are making moves in Europe and mitigating safety risks.

It’s time for another mobility update.

First up, Taxify, an Estonia-based mobility company, thinks that it can take on the many last-mile industry players in Paris, according to TechCrunch. Taxify was founded in 2013 and operates a traditional car-based ridesharing service, but it has decided to make the jump into the dockless scooter space along with Lime and Bird.

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Taxify has raised a total of $177.2 million in known funding, per its Crunchbase profile. The vast majority of its haul was sourced from a $175 million corporate round in May 2018, putting the company’s valuation up to $1 billion, post-money. Investors in that round included Germany-based automotive company Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, Paris-based Korelya Capital, and the CEO of Transferwise Taavet Hinrikus. Prior to that round, Chinese ridesharing behemoth Didi Chuxing invested an undisclosed amount in Taxify in August 2017.

Of course, electric scooter companies Bird and Lime have yet to face the significant regulatory backlash in Europe that they have experienced in the U.S. San Francisco’s city government served scooter startups a cease and desist order, forcing Bird and others off city streets in June 2018. Last month, the SF government approved just two scooter companies, Scoot and Skip, with no plans to add Lime and Bird to the pack.

From A To B Safely

Uber, which has invested in dockless scooter company Lime, is focusing on making its traditional ridesharing app safer. Amidst the scandal that has erupted in China following the two separate murders of passengers using Didi Chuxing’s carpooling service, Didi Chuxing suspended its carpooling app to invest in its safety features. Uber is reportedly following suit. For riders who have been in a vehicle for an extended period of time, the app will do a check-in. Uber is also implementing anonymous pickup addresses to prevent potentially dangerous behavior, according to Bloomberg.

While scooter, bike, and ridesharing companies have raised billions of dollars, the real-world consequences of increasing convenience are apparent. Massive growth in the consumer mobility market in the future will likely be met with even more concern over regulation and safety.

Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias