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Hello and welcome back to The Station, a newsletter that deals with all current and future opportunities for people and packages to get from point A to point B.
The dog days of summer are just around the corner. Technically speaking, we will only enter this period on July 22nd. In normal times, the holiday season would start well and the hit of summer would be established and a regular guest at every beach party, grill and dance club. That is not exactly what is happening this summer. However, we have a successful financial instrument of the season. The SPAC or Special Purpose Acquisition Company is the "Seniorita" this summer. Wherever you turn, it is.
More on the SPACs and other fun things below. Vamos!
Contact me at any time by email at email@example.com to exchange thoughts, criticism, opinions or tips. You can also send me a direct message on Twitter – @kirstenkorosec.
We know that COVID-19 has changed the way we work and move around cities when we leave our homes. The number of drivers of public transport has dropped in many dense urban areas. This also applies to riding scooters and bicycles together, although there are signs that these two modes of transport are recovering.
Micromobility company Lime looked at the driver data in the month before the block began and compared it with the month after. Wayne Ting, CEO of Lime, mentioned some emerging trends in a blog post this week. People ride scooters 34% longer and 18% further; and they use them for recreation and errands. Lime also discovered that travel in neighborhoods started more often than in the pre-COVID period.
And bikes, as we've mentioned here, are back and more popular than ever. According to Lime, e-bike rental was used record-breaking, with users taking longer trips and bicycles being used more often. In London, Lime recorded the highest consumption ever in a single day with over 4,000 new users last month.
While Lime's survey appears to be self-serving, the data was compelling enough to change how, and especially where, it works. The company removed the bikes and scooters from areas that are usually dominated by tourists and brought them to the neighborhood. New flex passes have also been introduced and some of these jump bikes are finally being brought back to the cities.
In other micromobility news …
theinformationsuperhighway's Catherine Shu is examining the Taiwan-based company in the mopeds arena WeMo and his plans to expand internationally.
Now shared electric scooter startup Indulge yourself received a permit that would allow him to operate in San Francisco from August. Revel will start with a fleet of 432 mopeds that have a new paint job and a more powerful engine to help riders climb the city's incredibly steep hills.
A new brand with the name has emerged over there in the bicycle world Superstrata This hopes to highlight with its 3D printed carbon fiber unibody based on precise measurements from each customer. Superstrata informed theinformationsuperhighway that this would result in more than 250,000 unique combinations
But Superstrata is not just a new bike startup. It is a new brand under Arevo, the Bay Area start-up for additive manufacturing. Superstrata is designed to demonstrate Arevo's foray into manufacturing as a service and additive manufacturing of composites.
The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition will hold its two-day summit practically next month. Registration costs $ 50. While many of the discussions will have a local focus, these are universal issues that cities in the United States and beyond are facing. Expect discussions about slow road movements, justice, bike path design, and safety.
offer of the week
Do you remember January when it looked like direct listings were the preferred way to get a company public? Welp, direct listings are out and SPACs are in.
Electric car maker Fisker is the latest example of this trend. The company, which has just raised $ 50 million from investors, has signed an agreement to merge with Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp. , a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by a subsidiary of Apollo Global Management Inc. As a result, Fisker will become a $ 2.9 billion stock corporation. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Fisker said this will provide the funding needed to put its first product, the fully electric Fisker Ocean SUV, into production in late 2022.
The agreement is the youngest company to target SPACs instead of a traditional IPO process. The online used car marketplace start-up Shift Technologies, Velodyne Lidar and Nikola Motor all went public by partnering with a special acquisition company.
SPACs are not new, even if you are new to them. Would a SPAC with a different name smell so sweet? Why yes, yes it would. These have been around for decades and they have different names, including "Blind Pools" and "Clean Shell Companies". These blank check companies – see another name – are companies that have no defined business plan or purpose other than raising money from public markets to acquire a private company.
Other offers that caught our attention this week …
Adam Neumann, The controversial co-founder and former CEO of WeWork is back and is investing in the common economy. This time with a focus on mobility.
Neumann's family office, 166 2nd Financial Services, invested $ 10 million in GoTo Global as part of a $ 19 million Series B round. GoTo Global is a shared mobility company that operates in Israel and Malta and plans to expand to Europe later this year. The company strives to cover the full range of shared vehicles from cars and mopeds to bicycles and electric scooters.
Neumann has a 33% stake in GoTo Global and can appoint a board member on his behalf. The existing shareholder Shagrir Group Vehicle Services, a listed Israeli company, also participated in the round.
driver, a British startup that offers private users access to flexible car subscriptions GBP 20.5 million ($ 25.7 million) in a round of financing co-led by Target Global, RTP Global (the Russian company formerly known as ru-Net) and Autotech Ventures. The new investors Channel 4 Ventures and Rider Global as well as former supporters Cherry Ventures, BP Ventures, Partech, Version One and Forward Partners also participated. Drover did not disclose his rating. The company has raised £ 27.5 million to date.
Chinese electric car manufacturer Li car has proposed a $ 100 million IPO and plans to be listed on the Nasdaq. (missed this submission last Friday). The company recently raised $ 550 million.
Navistar The self-driving truck startup TuSimple deepened its two-year relationship and announced plans to develop and produce autonomous tractor units by 2024. Navistar also participated in TuSimple. It is planned to no longer retrofit the Navistar International commercial vehicles currently used by TuSimple, but to develop tractor units that have been specially developed for autonomous operation.
Start of self-driving trucks Plus.ai is in talks to raise $ 60 million, The Information reported. Fundraising for the company based in China and the United States is still being negotiated. Hong Kong-based investment and securities firm Guotai Junan International is expected to lead the round in which Plus.ai could be worth between $ 600 and $ 1 billion.
Skydio raised $ 100 million in a Series C financing round led by Next47. New investors Levitate Capital and NTT DOCOMO Ventures joined the round with existing supporters a16z, IVP and Playground. The funds will be used to accelerate product development efforts and extend the market launch strategy beyond consumer applications to drone technology for businesses and the public sector.
Over acquired Routematch, an Atlanta-based company that provides software to transit agencies as the hail company wants to offer more SaaS-related services to cities. Expect more SaaS offerings for public transportation.
Uber did not disclose the terms of the contract. This doesn't seem to be a small "Acqui Hire" where a company is bought to attract some talented people. Instead, Uber makes a strategic acquisition for a company that has developed software that is used by more than 500 transit agencies. The 170-strong company continues to operate and CEO Pepper Harward remains in place.
More Uber news. This time the company is said to have spoken to investors about a stake in the Uber Freight Division, Bloomberg reported. Discussions are currently underway to procure $ 500 million, a round that would allow the freight business to independently valued approximately $ 4 billion when closed.
The startup spotlight is like a mini version of my “Startup Editions” newsletter that was sent out earlier this month. I don't use a scientific method to select these startups, and if I do, it may not even be tied to a specific announcement. If I see something interesting, I'll put it here.
What brings me to Onfleet A SaaS company that has created a platform for last mile delivery services in a variety of industries. The software platform handles the logistics of delivery such as route planning, shipping, real-time tracking, analysis and communication for companies such as Imperfect Foods, MedMen and Total Wine & More. As you may guess, deliveries are hot right now. However, this doesn't mean that Onfleet didn't have to adapt.
Co-founder and CEO Khaled Naim and I talked about how the company had to change in response to COVID-19 some time ago. For example, the company created a contactless signature feature that was introduced in early May. Now corporate customers can include a special URL in the SMS notifications that are sent to recipients when a driver approaches their destination. The user, for example a person who is waiting for the delivery of wine or beer, is then asked to sign the package on his phone. According to Naim, this is an important addition to regulated industries such as alcohol, cannabis and pharmaceuticals, where a signature is required by law. These are important segments for the company.
Onfleet has detonated since March and now has an average of more than one delivery per second during the week, with peaks of more than three deliveries per second, said Naim.
The worldwide delivery volume increases with remarkable peaks in alcohol, cannabis, grocery stores, pharmacies, ready meals, meal sets and restaurants. He added that a handful of sectors like catering, laundry and dry cleaning were hit pretty hard by COVID-19.
New segments are also emerging. For example, seafood retailers and breweries that once delivered to restaurants have shifted to business-to-consumer businesses. The supply of pet food is also increasing as local pet stores find new ways to generate revenue.
"Many of our customers are overwhelmed and are trying to meet increasing demand while struggling with a lack of drivers," said Naim.
In response, Onfleet created a job exchange for delivery drivers to connect drivers with delivery appearances worldwide. And as global demand grew, Onfleet had to add four languages to its driver app, including Italian, German, Dutch, and Arabic. French and Spanish have been available for some time.
If you have a mobility startup that has adapted its business model due to COVID-19, or have interesting data to share, send me an email. As always, I never promise coverage, but I'll take a look.
Notable readings and other delicacies
More transport news! Let us begin.
AutoXThe autonomous vehicle startup supported by Alibaba has received permission in California to start driverless testing on public roads in a limited area in San Jose.
German Legislators are preparing laws that could commercialize driverless vehicle technology by next summer. The pioneering legislation, if passed, would provide a long overdue framework that covers both homologation and road traffic requirements for the robot axis, in which the computer controls the vehicle at all times, Automotive News Europe reported.
Nuro has published a blog in Medium on food deserts and the role that autonomous delivery providers will play in providing healthier options to underserved communities. The company calculated how many stores could theoretically be reached within 30 minutes by all major supermarkets using a self-driving delivery vehicle that could drive at speeds of up to 75 km / h. Nuro compared this data to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data on locations in the food desert. The startup said it could reach 14 million low-income households in food deserts nationwide, or 70% of the total low-income population in food deserts. (Again, this is all theoretical. I pointed this out to illustrate the potential scope and ambitions of the company.)
FOR SURE published a report titled Promoting Economic Opportunities through Autonomous Vehicle Technology, which aimed to better understand transportation challenges in low-income communities. The study concluded that about two thirds of Americans live in areas that are out of their way due to largely invisible transportation costs. SAFE naturally sees autonomous vehicles as a way out. The hypothesis is that AV transportation could reduce household costs by up to $ 5,600 per household.
Berkeley takes police officers out of traffic surveillance and replaces them with unarmed employees of a newly formed Ministry of Transport according to the streets blog.
Silicon Valley cities San Jose, Cupertino, and Santa Clara have considered a transit system that connects the growing airport with key employers and other high-profile destinations along the Stevens Creek Boulevard corridor, which also includes Apple's headquarters. The group asked companies to submit proposals for innovative modes of transport. A consultant commissioned to evaluate the proposals of companies including The Boring Company, BYD and Bombardier has released its results. The San Jose Mercury News lists the top suggestions, including personal pod cars, hyperloops, and driverless shuttles.
Dan BrouilletteThe U.S. Secretary of Energy announced federal funding of $ 139 million for 55 projects to support advanced vehicle technologies. Six of these innovative projects are led by teams in Michigan.
BMW has signed a long-term $ 2.3 billion battery cell contract with Swedish company Northvolt. The battery cells are manufactured in Europe at the Northvolt plant under construction in northern Sweden.
Nissan moves on from the sheet. The automaker introduced the Nissan Ariya, an all-electric SUV with an estimated range of 300 miles and a starting price of $ 40,000, marking the beginning of a four-year plan aimed at growth and profitability. The Nissan Ariya will initially be sold in Japan in mid-2021, before going to dealerships in the U.S. and Canada later in the year, the company said at a digital event in Yokohama, Japan.
Tesla has received more than $ 61 million in tax incentives when a $ 1.1 billion factory is built near Austin, Texas. Commissioners in Travis County, home of Austin and the possible next Tesla factory, approved over 10 years of property tax relief worth at least $ 14.7 million, and possibly more, on Tuesday. The incentives add to the $ 46.6 million in property tax cuts that the The Del Valle School District Board was approved earlier this month.
Elon Musk contested a German court ruling prohibiting the company from using "website" or other advertising terms such as autopilot or "full potential for autonomous driving".
Automaker rethink the interior of vehicles, reports the WSJ.
Ford restarted Bronco after a 24-year hiatus. There has been a plethora of reports about Bronco 2, Bronco 4, and Bronco Sport – including my story, about how much the automaker relied on nostalgia, customization, functional design, and technology.
And finally, automakers have turned to advanced driver assistance systems, while autonomous vehicle technology companies are continuing the trend towards commercially used Level 4 trucks and robot axles. This is a trend that I first noticed in late 2018 and early 2019. Now it's in full swing as automakers try to offer hands-free but driver-oriented systems. Reuters examines the effects and challenges of this pursuit.
Until next week.