Maria Montero

A 30-mile-per-hour electric bike to compete with …

Bird and Lime are moving forward, backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital. But there are still many companies hoping to dominate the still nascent micro mobility market, given the financial opportunity that is promising. Among them, three-year-old Bond Mobility, a Zurich, Switzerland-based start-up from Palo Alto, California, says its “high-performance” baseless electric bikes will leave e-scooters in the dust.

Investors think the company might be right – at least, they think it might be suitable for a certain type of customer who wants to get to where she is going faster. DENSO’s New Mobility Group, which includes Toyota and SoftBank, it only provided $ 20 million in Series A funding to newcomers, whose vehicles can travel up to 30 miles per hour. That’s twice what electric scooter companies have decided is a safe speed.

Electric mopeds like Scoot’s have a top speed of 30 miles per hour and require only a little instruction in the app. However, Bond doesn’t see them as direct competitors either, perhaps because they have to park in legal parking spaces, whereas dockless e-bikes can be parked almost anywhere (for better or for worse).

Whether it is a good idea to travel that fast on a bicycle in an urban environment is up to the customers. Although Bond’s bikes are only available at the moment in Zurich and Bern, Switzerland, they will soon be coming to the United States, the company says, and a loophole in California law may help. Namely, any bike that can’t go. Plus More than 30 miles per hour can be rented with just a car license in the golden state. Some states are even more relaxed when it comes to motor vehicles.

It is perhaps no coincidence that Bond founder Kirt McMaster has been a bit of a risk taker in the past. McMaster previously founded Cyanogen, a now-discontinued open source mobile operating system, built on the Android mobile platform and consumed at least $ 115 million in venture capital, including from Andreessen Horowitz, Tencent, and Benchmark, before closing. . December 2016.

By then McMaster, who once boasted to Cyanogen, “We’re putting a bullet in Google’s head,” was already gone. He was ousted months earlier and replaced by a new CEO for whom it was apparently too late to turn things around. Soon after, he turned his attention to the world of transportation.

Of course, Bond, which operates in Switzerland as Smide and uses hardware from the Swiss electric bike company Stromer, has yet to prove that it can compete on the US territory, let alone elsewhere in Europe. But McMaster apparently hasn’t lost his penchant for talking about its products in the meantime. As he told Business Insider earlier today, in his view, the “speed e-bike is the apex predator” that can kill the best-funded “scooter types” if all goes according to plan.

McMaster is smart to test. According to a recent McKinsey study, by 2030, the micro-mobility market is expected to reach $ 200 billion to $ 300 billion in the United States, from $ 100 billion to $ 150 billion in Europe. and from $ 30 billion to $ 50 billion in China.

It’s certainly much easier to scale micro-mobility assets than any type of car-based exchange business, as the same McKinsey study notes. Also, new Bond backers already have many of those types of bets.