Zipp Mobility is gearing up to launch its shared e-bikes and e-scooters in Ireland and worldwide, with all the vigor of a new start-up with a youthful founder.
“Mobility done correctly” is Zipp Mobility’s main objective, according to Charlie Gleeson, the company’s founder and CEO.
“To put it another way, we’ve devoted our time finding answers to micromobility’s most pressing issues, with a focus on safety, sustainability, and a community-centered approach.”
Following a strong year in 2019, McKinsey predicts the shared micromobility market will be worth $500 billion by 2030. While this sector has suffered as a result of the recent restrictions on migration, it is nevertheless predicted to make a significant post-pandemic comeback.
Most e-scooter companies, according to Gleeson, target markets with populations of over 500,000 people. Zipp, on the other hand, is doing the exact opposite.
“In Europe, there are only 83 cities with populations of over 500,000,” Gleeson remarked. “However, there are over 930 cities with populations of fewer than 500,000 people. This encapsulates how much larger this less competitive market potential is overall.”
Since 2019, the 26-year-old entrepreneur has been working on his first business venture. “I finished with a BComm from University College Dublin and saw moving into NovaUCD, the university’s business area, as a logical development,” he added. And it is still there that Zipp resides now.
The Dublin-based company presently operates shared e-scooters and e-bikes in towns and cities around the United Kingdom and Poland, with ambitions to grow in these locations as well as prepare for future launches in Spain and Ireland.
Zipp’s procedure is similar to those of its competitors. Users may find an e-scooter or e-bike using the Zipp Mobility app, then scan a QR code to activate the vehicle and begin moving.
The cars’ Internet of Things technology connects with Zipp’s fleet management system. “We can manage the speed of the scooters, restrict their movements to specific locations, check fleet health, and more using this technology,” Gleeson explained.
“We employ geofencing technology to fence in each city’s operational area by identifying and enforcing’slow speed zones,’ restricted zones, parking bays, and so on.”
In places across Europe with dockless shared mobility programs, a common concern is how scooters may end up cluttering the streets after being dumped recklessly when no longer in use. Gleeson referred to it as “vehicle litter” and said it’s “one of the industry’s major issues.”
Zipp has built ‘virtual parking spaces’ to remedy the issue.
Gleeson noted, “These are simply painted parking spots dispersed over the town or city in which we operate.” “We make it mandatory for consumers to start and complete their travels in our parking spots using GPS technology.”
Through Luna, a fellow Irish start-up, Zipp is adding accurate location and computer vision technologies into its scooters. It has also teamed up with Gleeson’s alma mater’s Energy Institute to do e-scooter safety studies.
Finally, Gleeson founded Zipp Mobility to encourage more environmentally friendly transportation. “We want a bigger percentage of travelers to choose ecologically friendly and enjoyable scooters instead of other less environmentally favorable modes of transportation,” he added. “We want to operate all over the world in five years, replacing tens of millions of automobile trips each year and employing hundreds of people in the process.”
But first, let’s talk about raising funds. Zipp has raised over €2.1 million in funding to far and is now raising a Series A to further its European development.
Private investors, including Balderton Capital founder Barry Maloney and former rugby star Brian O’Driscoll, have provided funding so far, as well as Enterprise Ireland backing.
Raising funding was a fresh learning experience for Gleeson, as it is for any first-time entrepreneur, however it helped since micromobility is a quickly developing area and Zipp had a distinct pitch.
Another obstacle has been directing a team that is rapidly expanding. “We went from one to twenty people in four months, which was a little wild,” Gleeson remarked. He went on to say that having strong infrastructure in place aided in doing this smoothly.
“I’m lucky to say we’ve had a fantastic last 18 months,” he remarked, citing many statistics to support his claim. In just a few months, Zipp Mobility has completed hundreds of thousands of travels. The team currently has a total of 25 members and will continue to expand this year. Free Now has teamed with the Dublin start-up ahead of its anticipated launch in Ireland later this year.
To have reached to this point, Gleeson thanks NovaUCD, Dublin BIC, Local Enterprise Offices, and Enterprise Ireland for their help at each level of his startup journey.
“Not enough people are aware that this support network exists,” he added. “I feel that if more individuals were aware of the resources accessible to early-stage entrepreneurs, more people would start their own enterprises.”