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13 mobility startups that will boom in 2021, according to VCs

European startups in the mobility space have been riding the SPAC wave. For example, car marketplace Cazoo, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange at a valuation of $7bn and air mobility startup Lilium, which recently announced it will list on Nasdaq via a reverse merger, valuing it at $3.3bn.

Big funding rounds have also flooded the sector recently: food delivery startup Wolt raised a $530m funding round, flying taxi startup Volocopter bagged a $241m Series D round and last-mile logistics startup Instabox snagged a €75m Series B round.

But which European mobility startups should you keep a close eye on right now? To answer this question, a list of 13 mobility start-ups has been put together below.

The first 5 mobility startups to watch out in 2021

1. Manna Aero

Manna is based on the concept of helping merchants transport small to mid-sized cargo direct to the end-consumer with a fleet of autonomous drones. If and when drone-based last-mile transport becomes the norm, the benefits for companies and consumers will be enormous. Its cutting-edge tech that is already live in some Irish cities, with a really strong team of experienced operators, will yield tremendous benefits for consumers. Manna is working on vanguard-tech.

2. Humanising Autonomy 

The global standards for human-machine interaction are being built by Humanising Autonomy. It uses AI, behavioural psychology and computer vision to predict how humans and machines interact in complex settings, for example, autonomous vehicles in traffic. They initially focused a lot on autonomous vehicles (AV), now they are taking a wider robotics angle which is really exciting.

3. Lizy

In just a few years of the B2B secondhand car leasing startup Lizy being around, it has achieved an impressive footprint and gets great customer love. It has made the experience of ramping up a fleet quickly and in a cost-effective way, into a delightful experience that is “digital-first”. And since they’re an integral part of the circular economy, they can continue to take up a bigger role when expanding geographically. strong consumer proposition and excellent execution is needed to build a big business in cars or mobility, and the team has both. One of the mobility startups to really watch out.

4. Nyobolt

Nyobolt develops ultrafast batteries that can charge in minutes, based on niobium — a chemical element which is manufacturable at scale. One of the last things holding back mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is the range, expensive cost and volume requirements for getting a long-range. If Nyobolt can roll out the tech at scale we could see rapid shifts in the EV landscape. The company recently raised its Series A round from IQ Capital and is going after a few interesting markets that can provide a wedge into EVs, like Formula E cars and fleet operators.

5. Vanmoof

Amsterdam based Vanmoof, is building the next generation of ebikes for city travel. Its latest S3 and X3 bikes are fully connected, allowing users to adjust their bike settings, lock and unlock, update firmware and even track down the bike in case of theft with an exceptional 95% recovery rate. Vanmoof believes in e-mobility being in the early stages of city transport disruption and the founders, Taco and Ties Carlier have a great vision for delivering on that.

But there is more startups booming

6. Twaice

Sustainability has always been a key issue with the battery industry. In this regard, Munich-based Twaice will be invaluable for planning second and third life applications and for eventual recycling. Twaice has predictive battery analysis software that helps manufacturers in every sector of e-mobility to build optimized and sustainable electric powertrains. The Twaice software allows companies to design batteries for their specific vehicle use cases and simulate their performance over their lifetime to allow companies to plan a sustainable battery lifecycle strategy. Once in use, it can remotely monitor batteries’ performance and predict failure before it happens.

7. Axitech

For automotive manufacturers, customer experience is critical, and accidents, when they do unfortunately happen, are a stressful and frustrating time. Axitech is an Insurtech company. It has created software that can detect low-speed accidents and can immediately contact the driver, either through their vehicle or their phone, to guide them through the next steps. It helps with insurance, recording details, ordering tow trucks, and organizing repairs. Axitech is a great example of using connected vehicle data to deliver next-level customer experience in an industry that is traditionally all about reducing cost.

8. Pony

Urban electric micromobility has emerged as an alternative both to ride-hailing and driving a personal car in cities. Bordeaux-based Pony provides dockless self-service bicycles and electric scooters. The company announced in December a pre-sale of electric scooters and bicycles on its website and sold €1.3m worth of shared vehicles in under 6 hours. It’s also expanding to large European cities in the next few months, including Paris, Brussels and Lisbon. Unlike other major players, it operates a peer-to-peer ownership model, letting any of their users rent a Pony bike or scooter on its platform, ensuring that the profits remain in the local economy and also results in less vandalism. They also work closely with local authorities to cater to the local specificities of a city.

9. Zeelo

Zeelo is a London-based mobility startup which developed a smart staff commuting platform offering services to employers. They simultaneously tackle big environmental and social challenges with their solution as their tech enables smarter commuting services that can significantly reduce CO₂ emissions, but at the same time they also provide social mobility. This ensures that people don’t have to say no to a job because they don’t have a car or because they live in areas underserved by public transport.

10. Lilium

Lilium is one of those startups that leapfrog a whole generation into the next with its flying electric taxis. It is a prime example of the critical role that bold dreamers play in our society. They take something that is science fiction to most and turn it into reality. For those who have always wondered when flying taxis will be a reality and it is finally here in the form of Lilium!

11. Dance

Dance is a Berlin-based mobility startups ebike subscription for consumers. Ebike adoption is on the rise and the convenience of having a nice bike with service, repair and flexibility makes it receive customers’ love. Its team is impressive and includes Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung, the cofounders of Soundcloud.

12. Einride

Einride is building a fully electric transport vehicle to operate on public roads. Commercial transportation is a massive market and autonomous trucks have an even more near-term adoption than classic cars. Autonomous trucks can be already used in closed facilities today, but they’ll gradually evolve towards specific routes and then all public roads. This will shorten the time to market.

13. Laka

Laka is reinventing the traditional premium-based insurance pool model. It is addressing the fast-growing segment of cyclists and e-cyclists in Europe. As cycling becomes a mainstream mode of transportation for commuters, a new category of risk is created. To combat those, specialized insurance companies and new models that recognize fraudulent claims, are going to capture huge value in insuring for these new categories of risk. 

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