It is still full on the bike paths. Scooter Circ, Voi and Lime rolls through the German streets, and now a real heavyweight in the competition. The value of the rental company Bird, the “New York Times estimates that” at 2.26 billion euros. Worldwide the company headquartered in Santa Monica has several hundreds of thousands of scooters in use. In Germany, the Bird is stronger than the competition at the Start, because the company uses self-developed and built Scooter. In Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne Bird starts with a small fleet, and a further Roller and cities to follow. We spoke with the Europe-in-chief Patrick Studener
Mr. Studener, “Bird” is one of the pioneers of the Scooter movement. They started two years ago and are now used worldwide in well over a hundred cities. Now also in Germany. How it came to the stormy Expansion?
Yes, we started in Santa Monica small. Then, we have seen that the scooters are not only seen as a Hobby, as a fun device, but many people use the Scooter every day to get to work. Our founder Travis VanderZanden has thought: “If this works for us so well in Europe, the cities are inhabited poet.” Since the Problem with the traffic is even bigger, because L. A. is wide and usually not very highly cultivated.
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the International Situation from city to city is very different. For us, the people who live in cities, and no car to use, usually a month card and can use the public transport. A Scooter will cost you extra. Why should you use it regularly?
This is in fact very different. In Germany, there are in the large cities of a well-functioning public transport. Such a thing does not exist in the United States. European cities also have hundreds of kilometers of bike paths – not enough, but still. Elsewhere, there is not the even. Here, every office building and every company offer a possibility wheels to Scooter to turn it off. This is also a matter of course.
But they didn’t start with Germany, as they have left the USA. But with Paris and Tel Aviv. Why?
In Tel Aviv we had a special Situation. There had to be an explanation for the E-Scooter. There Scooter in the private possession of goods for a number of years, popular. There it is quite normal that someone has his Scooter from under the Desk. And Paris has declared that the city is due to the enormous traffic problems for all the concepts – as long as there are no cars.
But in both cities, the Scooter rental in the meantime, powerful against the wind. Residents are annoyed, and the local authorities respond. What do you say to the criticism?
there are two pages. The Users love the Scooter. In every city where we have started, we have noticed how quickly people have adopted these devices. Voluntarily and with enthusiasm. This is for a shift in Traffic quite well.
Added – your customers will love the Scooter feeling. But the Trouble is there yet.
of Course, but you can see that The entire industry is only two years old. So there are infinitely many things we can still improve. And we are working on. A topic that is often referred to, is where to Park the Scooter correctly? Where not to disturb you? In the Morning, when we put the charged devices out there and even if the user turns off the Scooter. Since rules need to be found. In Paris there are many Scooter and also problems with Parking. Now, the city has allocated 4500 Parking spaces. We have programmed in the App and provide our Birds there also. And if a customer finished a ride, he gets a message: “Hey, ten meters further, a correct Parking space!” And then there is also a small financial reward if he puts the Scooter in there.
In Germany are closed similar agreements between local authorities and distributors.
We believe that our customers want to hinder the local residents on purpose. At the end of the journey the User makes an image, and these photos, we can also analyze and in case of problems, there is a response. So there is a learning effect among the users, and then we have employees that we call “Bird-Watcher”, which go around the whole day and badly parked scooters correctly put. Since we are in a phase of adjustment. In General, we see that the Parking is better.
So, you see the Bird, at least on the right path. Another criticism of the low service life of the Scooter. Where is the sustainability when the devices are after three months are ready for the special waste?
This is a Problem we want to solve, we solved it already. A lot of people rely on the Numbers from 1.5 years ago. The industry moves very quickly. It is, first of all, the scooter kept for a very long time. Why was that? When we started, there were only two or three companies that have built Scooter in large numbers. We have tested everything, what you could buy off the rack and have taken the device Xioami and it is adapted slightly for our needs.
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but That was a device that was originally developed for private customers and not for the rental?
Yes, it was okay to start anything. However, we have seen quickly that there is a Scooter designed for the private customer, for the commercial rental operation is not suitable.
Since we need to be honest with you. This Scooter really have only two, three months in the commercial area of hold out, maybe four or five if you were lucky. Single run, even after over a year, but that is not the rule. We need to look at the sustainability and of course we want to be eco-friendly.
We have seen very quickly that we need something other than a Scooter of the rod, and then began to develop their own model. The Bird Zero, we have brought the end of 2018, out of it, then the Bird One came out. These devices you can not compare. There is a difference like day and night. The Birds will be one to two years in the rental, it is also economically a very different account.
The Bird of the Two, decides not significantly different from the scooters of the first Generation.
The Bird One you can buy as an individual customer. The differences to other models are striking. The units are very clean. There are no visible cables. The Bird Two are not even screws to see. What have you done?
The most noticeable for sure, that we have no joint on the steering rod more, this was a big weak point. Otherwise, we are working on very small things. Bearings, seals – the things of which we know, that you make in the practice of Trouble. In addition, we have service teams which work hard to keep our scooters for a very long time in perfect condition.
A longer life span of the Scooter is an important prerequisite for a long-term profit work. At the Moment you need to Finance your Expansion with venture capital, but eventually the business must also bring money. What are the requirements for it?
It is easy to grow quickly. The challenge is to be profitable. The important question is, how many trips must complete a Scooter in a day, and not necessarily how many scooters are in the city.
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you have an App, but unlike Airbnb, you interact in the Real Economy. You the Scooter, you build them, you need to wait for download and installation. These are real costs. How do you deal with it?
Exactly, Airbnb does not build the houses that they rent. It is important to know how many Scooter will be used. That’s why we have every day a different number of scooters in use. We have a dedicated weather team – if it rains, we are less scooters on the road. Even the rainy seasons are important. Scooter may not be useless around. The worst thing would be if the Scooter in the evening is where we have him on Tomorrow. We optimize our data. We know at any time where our scooters are and where the customers are looking for.
the question of the operating profit. How often the Scooter must be traveling, so that you are happy?
at The Moment, we take the global average of four dollars per ride and about a Dollar’s Profit. With three to four trips a day, we are happy, and we are working to bring this number up. This is much more important than the number of the Scooter.
there are Currently at least what felt like hundreds of scooters-rental companies and more. Your assessment: Will it stay that way?
this is a transition phase. Not every Start-up will come in a winning phase. We believe that only the larger companies develop their own Scooter, will survive in the long term. Smaller companies buy the Scooter of the rod, will have a hard time. We are not only in the App Business, but also in the Hardware Business. A Hardware cycle, not every small Start-up can imitate-up.
Here is also the amount of data and the ability to analyze and utilize it, the larger firms in the Hand is playing.
we to take. Also crucial is the Service. Not only for the User, but also for the local communities. The cities want Sharing Mobility work. You want mountains, no waste and no mess. I think the cities will respond to the duration, only partnerships with the “good” companies.
With the retail sale of scooters you also want to tap another source of income besides the rental. As you could read, do not make the Scooter stop. What is to come?
The E-Scooter does not solve all the traffic problems – it is a good solution for the last mile or a bit more. We have purchased a company, the E-Bikes and E-scooters manufactures. We will offer our users the Cruiser.
The Cruiser is a two-seater, electrically operated and he recalls a modern Version of the old Mini-motorbikes – he looks a little like the Donkey and the Dax by Honda.
The Cruiser is also available for trips of ten miles to the Right, a Scooter would be so perfect. Depending on the country, he is regarded legally as an E-Bike or electric Moped.
critics argue that because of the scooter, no one will leave his car at home, the critics say, it’s just pedestrians on the E-Scooter to rise. What do you say?
If someone lives within 1.5 to two kilometers from the S-Bahn, then he’s not going with the car to the train, and then travels ten kilometers of the railway. He’s going the whole route with the car and that’s why the last mile is so important. In addition, the rental is a special Situation. Someone who returns every day from the apartment to the office and then the same distance again, you will usually use a private means of transport – whether it is a car, a bike or an electric Scooter. A rental Scooter is intended for a different Situation. They come in the morning to the office, but dates and find a in the evening somewhere. And to get from there to the train, because you can borrow a Bird.
The micro-mobility develops. The scooters are a part of. Electric bikes another, and it is still very much to come more and more new vehicles, all of which are smaller than a car. With the infrastructure?
here, Too, we are in a transition phase. The Scooter have spread extremely quickly throughout the world. You can see just how fast in Germany, appropriate laws were enacted. Also with a lot of expertise.
The laws are. What is the real Situation on the streets?
I don’t have a city meet, not a Plan to reduce in the long term, the number of cars significantly. And will try for the car other mobility options to bring in.
at The Moment, 40 to 60 percent of the public area are the cars available. The whole area, not just for the roads. The cities also see that the road space must be re-distributed. Amsterdam will take place every year, 1500 Parking spaces from the inventory. Tel Aviv and Paris want to put all of the couple of Hundred metres to a car Park for Shared Mobility. This is going to happen.
Add to that the mentality comes from. I’m often asked why it is in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, so be sure to drive with the wheel, though many wheels are on the way. A point is the infrastructure, another is the mentality. In these cities, the motorists think that the road is only for you. There would be to do in other countries to. In Germany, many drivers think that the road belongs to them alone.
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