Forbes defined the Internet of Things (IoT) back in 2014 as “the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of”. Since smartphone penetration is growing steadily, the founders of Scooterson thought about connecting a vehicle to an app.
Based on one of the founders’ previous experience with building drones, they created an intuitive electric kick scooter managed through a predictive app that registers riding patterns and adjusts energy consumption. The light electrical vehicle is seamlessly adapted to today’s urban life and uses a combination of mobile technology and big data to enhance riders’ experience, maximise energy efficiency and safety. Scooterson has no acceleration lever or gear shifter – it simply understands how fast to go by analysing the rider’s body moves.
The product’s main features are:
- Intelligent – intuitive speed control, predictive routeing, energy efficient, auto-lock, adaptive lights;
- Connected – smartphone and smartwatch connected, sharing options, keyless contact;
- Ultralight – proprietary frame made from CNC-machined aerospace aluminium and Carbon/Kevlar reinforced polymer;
- Performant – 30 miles range, 16 mph max speed (limited), 3 hours charging time;
- No need for license or registration in most countries.
Scooterson was part of MVP Academy batch of 2016. Their attendance in the accelerator program helped them further build a strong team of advisors consisting of very high-profile professionals in the automotive industry.
Meet the Team behind the Product
The Visionary – Mihnea De Vries (photo right), Founder and COO, is the one who gave birth to Scooterson. He is a seasoned founder with several startups under his belt. Back in ’96, he founded the first Internet Service Provider in Arad, his hometown. Then he founded a drone startup for aerial cinematography.
The Hustler – Cristian Munteanu (photo left), Co-Founder and CEO, is in charge with turning Scooterson into a one billion dollars company. An experienced founder, Cristian took his previous startup – a big data company developing algorithms for the travel industry – all the way from Bucharest to Silicon Valley, where he pitched world’s most famous venture capitalists and launched on the stage of the industry’s premier event.
The team was lucky to have the early support of Flavius Balaj, the first person who believed in the potential of Scooterson and invested the money needed to take it from sketches to prototype.
Scooterson is the perfect personal and sustainable transportation solution for people who live in highly populated urban areas in the US and EU, who are health and environment conscious, educated, with medium and high income.
In 2014, more than 37 million electric motorcycles, bikes, and scooters were sold worldwide (Navigant Research). And the market is booming. For example, starting with 2025 the Netherlands will ban all gas powered vehicles (cars, motorcycles and scooters) – that’s a huge opportunity and Scooterson is perfectly positioned to take advantage of it.
Current Stage of Product Development
Scooterson is currently taking pre-orders for the first limited series of 300 units. More than 50 people made a deposit so far and reserved a spot on the list of first Scooterson riders. More and more are joining every day. Pre-orders are open until the end of October, production will start in November and shipment is planned for February 2017.
They will officially launch Scooterson in mid-January 2017, on the stage of CES Las Vegas. Until then, they will soft launch in Europe (Bucharest) at the end of May and in Asia (Singapore) in mid-June.
Some of their competitors are Scoot, Gogoro and Scrooser. What sets Scooterson apart though is the fact that they have come up with a few unique selling points: a distinctive design, a high-performance product and an affordable price for its category. Their IP is protected by patents in both the US and the EU.
They sell Scooterson to end-customers directly via their online store Scooterson.com and through an international network of dealers. They are currently enrolling dealers on 3 continents – focusing on North America and the European Union, but also selected countries in Asia. 15 companies showed interest in opening Scooterson franchises so far in locations such as Miami, Tel Aviv and Oxford.
They have raised an angel round that helped them build the prototypes, test them, get all the required certifications, patent the IP and do the key hires. They are currently closing a Seed Round with VCs in Singapore and the US in order to start mass production. Series A will follow early next year.
Their biggest challenge to date has been doing all the proceedings to enter the mass-production phase, which they are currently going through. That’s a very complicated stage in the development of a hardware company, requiring not only technical competencies but also significant budgets. The next challenge that lies ahead of them is raising a Seed Round to reach their next milestones.
The MVP Academy experience
Not only did they build a strong network by attending MVP Academy accelerator, but they also learnt some key lessons to help them in their further development: that perseverance is key, hard work is a must and giving back it a spirit, to sum it up shortly.
“It was great being surrounded by a selected group of young entrepreneurs, as part of an acceleration program that reached its maturity,” said Cristian Munteanu, Co-Founder & CEO of Scooterson, about his experience as part of MVP Academy Batch of 2016.
What does the future hold?
They’re planning to conquer the world, as they enthusiastically point out. The next step for the Scooterson team is to relocate their business to the US and raise a Series A that will take them one step closer to reaching their goal: becoming the Tesla of two-wheeled vehicles.
Taking into consideration their rock-solid foundation, as well as their vision and perseverance, their ambitious dreams seem nothing but realizable. If it’s someone that can do it, it’s the Scooterson team!
Part of MVP Academy Batch of 2016, Scooterson also attended How to Web Startup Spotlight back in 2015. Applications are now open for the next edition of the deal-making program, so if you’re a promising tech startup looking to close deals and accelerate your business, don’t miss the chance to share the stage with the best & brightest European tech startups. Apply by September 25!
Watch Scooterson’s pitch at MVP Academy Demo day!