German micro-mobility startup Tier announced on Tuesday that it has raised $250m (£190m) in Series C funding to accelerate expansion of its fleets of electric scooters.
The latest round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund, with current investors including Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital, White Star Capital, Novator, and RTP Global also participating in the C round.
The company declined to comment on its valuation at this point; it raised around $100m in the previous round.
The company, which was co-founded in Berlin in 2018 by Lawrence Leuschner, Matthias Laug and Julian Blessin, said it achieved profitability this year, thanks to their transition to swappable batteries in e-scooters and optimising their processes to make them more efficient.
“I would say we achieved profitability despite COVID having a very significant impact in terms of reducing rides, so we made these structural changes that have allowed us to be long-run profitable even in periods of very low consumer demand,” Tier’s chief financial officer Alex Gayer told Yahoo Finance UK. “That allowed us to continue to operate our services throughout the depths of the first lockdown.”
Gayer said that movement around most cities in Europe is still significantly reduced compared to what it was pre-coronavirus, but that Tier has seen a slight acceleration in consumer adoption, as people opted for single-occupancy type vehicles over mass transit.
Tier, now has 60,000 e-scooters across 80 cities in 10 countries, and is aiming for 100,000 in the coming years.
“Through Covid, as the infrastructure in cities has adapted and we’ve seen increased investment in things like bike lanes, cities find a natural way of fitting micro-mobility vehicles in with the fabric of the city and everybody is getting used to how to operate this new vehicle,” Gayer said.
Tier said it will use the new investment to extend its coverage in Europe, speed up expansion into strategic growth markets and fast track its TIER Energy Network of chargers in European city streets.
“Micro-mobility fills a large gap left by traditional urban car usage and presents a viable alternative to legacy transit systems,” said Yanni Pipilis, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “TIER has a proven track record in establishing long standing partnerships with cities and regulators, combined with a technology-led approach to develop leading customer propositions.”
Tier, which became a carbon-neutral company at the start of this year, was the first e-scooter company to use swappable batteries in October 2019. This meant that they could be more eco-friendly by picking up empty batteries and charging them using cargo bikes instead of taking scooters back to their facilities to recharge them.
Since batteries last longer than the scooter, using swappable batteries means they do not have to be thrown away if the scooter frame breaks.
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