06 sep Multi-million investment in Amsterdam share bicycle start-up Urbee
“Mobility start-up Urbee, thanks to an investment of EUR 2.1 million Euros, is going to provide Amsterdam with 1500 electric share bicycles”
Recent articles, such as ‘Amsterdam citizen smokes 6 cigarettes of second-hand smoke a day due to polluted air’ (Het Parool August 2016) and ‘Amsterdam most-polluted city in the Netherlands’ (Het Parool May 2016) demonstrate that the air quality in Amsterdam is below par.
The Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund, together with Qwic, Dutch Bicycle Rental and Skopei, invests EUR 2.1 million Euros in the mobility start-up Urbee for the roll-out of an innovative share system of electric bicycles, starting in Amsterdam.
Eighty percent of car trips cover less than 20 kilometres, whereas the electric bicycles are perfect for distances of up to 20 kilometres. Urbee aims to reduce CO2 emissions in the city by swapping cars for electric bicycles. Urbee is a network of innovative electric share bicycles with a smart lock and touch pad, without a bicycle key. Users locate a bicycle through the App, reserve it, and open the bicycle with the reservation code that has been sent. The platform guarantees a perfect state of repair and a fully charged battery before use. If the battery status of a bike is too low, it is taken out of the reservation system. Defects can be reported through the App and a new bicycle will be allocated.
Other than the share systems we know from abroad, Urbee is a demand-based flexible network which is not bound by a fixed (and expensive) infrastructure. The bicycles are easy to store, in existing storage facilities, where possible. The Urbee bicycle, the smart lock and the platform are the result of intensive cooperation between the three founding parties Qwic, Dutch manufacturer of innovative electric bicycles and winner of the ‘best electric bicycle’ test, Dutch Bicycle Rental, leader of the Dutch bike rental market and Skopei, developer of hardware and software solutions for the mobility market, who want to tackle air pollution in cities together with new mobility start-up Urbee.
The first 300 bicycles will be put into service in the autumn of 2016, in the form of a soft launch. The actual introduction is scheduled for the spring of 2017 with the roll-out of another 750 bicycles to a total of 1,150 bicycles in 2017. In the years thereafter, this will be expanded to 1,500 bicycles. Since a lot of car traffic is business-related, Urbee initially focuses on businesses and business locations. The first network points are mainly multi-tenant business buildings (such as WTC Amsterdam), but also hotels (A&O Hotel en Hostel), catering establishments (Coffeemania) and apartment complexes (Oranjekwartier Amsterdam Nieuw West, of e.g. Maarsen Groep and Wonam). According to Managing Director Fleur Schraven (formerly of KPN, Bugaboo, Minivegas) “Urbee offers users carefree, flexible and clean mobility within the city and a serious alternative to the car. It saves time and money in terms of travelling and parking and makes for happier and fitter users. In addition, Urbee contributes to a cleaner and more liveable Amsterdam.” Abdeluheb Choho, alderman responsible for Sustainability: “Recently, the municipal authorities announced a comprehensive package of measures, such as environmental zones, in order to improve air quality in the city and reduce CO2 emissions. As part of our efforts, we focus on collaboration with all parties in the city, particularly on entrepreneurs who take personal responsibility. Urbee shows that smart solutions that benefit the entire city are within reach.”
Urbee is the brand name under which Ebike Network B.V., formed by Hartmobile B.V. (Qwic) and Dutch Bicycle Rental B.V., markets its electric bicycle share system. Urbee aims to reduce CO2 emissions in the city by swapping cars for electric bicycles.
About the Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund
The Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund (AKEF) focuses on investments in projects in the fields of energy conservation, sustainable energy generation and energy efficiency in Amsterdam. Only projects that create a significant and demonstrable reduction in CO₂ emissions qualify for financing. The ACEF was formed with the primary objective of contributing to the sustainability ambition of the Municipality of Amsterdam. Management and administration of the fund have been outsourced to e3. e3 is an independent investment company with a focus on sustainable energy, energy conservation and regional development and invests through various regional energy funds. The team consists of experienced investment professionals with backgrounds in private equity / venture capital and project financing.