Toronto-based micro-mobility software startup Joyride has raised about $4.6 million CAD ($3.7 million USD) in funding to build on its recent growth and capitalize on the rise in demand for mobility solutions like bikes and scooters.
The all-equity round, which Joyride said was oversubscribed, was led by Mexico-based Proeza Ventures and the San Francisco-based Urban Innovation Fund. It also saw participation from Mexico’s Liil Ventures, Eva Lau and Wattpad co-founder Allen Lau through Two Small Fish Ventures, and former Shopify CMO and CPO Craig Miller through his personal fund, Something Good Ventures.
During the pandemic, Joyride more than doubled the number of operators and countries it serves, the size of its team, and its revenue.
The round follows a record year of growth for the Joyride, spurred by a sharp increase in the demand for electric scooters, bikes, and mopeds during COVID-19. In an interview, Joyride’s founder and CEO Vince Cifani told BetaKit the startup had reached “an inflection point” in the industry, and needed to secure more capital to accelerate its growth.
Founded in 2014, Joyride offers a white-label product that allows operators to launch, manage, and grow public or private fleets of scooters, bikes, e-bikes, and mopeds. Joyride’s solutions include a branded rider app, backend analytics, multimodal vehicle integrations, and insurance access.
Joyride currently serves scooter and bike-sharing operators in over 160 markets across the world. Some offer city or college town-focused systems for the general public, while others provide private B2B fleets to residences, hotels, or workplaces.
Most of the operators the startup serves are based in Europe and the United States, in areas with strong cycling infrastructure where bike-sharing has been widely accepted. Joyride generates revenue through a traditional SaaS business model, as operators pay a fee per vehicle, per month.
“We wanted to use this capital to help onboard new operators faster and to expand a lot faster,” said Cifani, who added that it will help Joyride get one step closer to its goal of bringing micro-mobility to 10,000 cities.
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To achieve these aims, Joyride plans to add more software engineers, grow its support team, bolster sales and marketing team, and onboard new service partners in the insurance, hardware, and financing spaces. The startup intends to add at least 20 more employees, mainly in Toronto.
Joyride referred to the $4.6 million CAD funding round as a “post-seed” investment, given that it followed a $1 million CAD unannounced seed round from 2019, as well as some small undisclosed angel investments prior to that. Cifani said Joyride plans to raise a larger Series A round “in the near future.” In January, Joyride received $282,000 in provincial and industry contributions to build its electric scooter docking integration system, which Cifani said it launched earlier this year.
During the pandemic, Joyride experienced solid growth, more than doubling the number of operators and countries it serves, the size of its team, and its revenue.
“What’s really interesting is that demand to launch this type of business has grown about four [times], since pre-pandemic levels,” said Cifani, who added that per week, Joyride gets over 150 inbound requests from new, potential operators looking to launch a micro-mobility system.
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The CEO said some of Joyride’s operators have grown in size by five to 10 times since last year. He attributed this growth to a combination of lockdowns and the public health concerns associated with using public transit or ride-hailing services during COVID-19.
“Joyride eliminates market pain points, saving companies significant operating costs through automated tools, turnkey tech and powerful analytics,” said Rodolfo Dieck, managing director at Proeza Ventures. “It’s exciting to watch the company and its customers expand to new markets, including hotels and campuses, and we look forward to building long-term success together.”
“In the pre-COVID time, we are already seeing strong adoption of micro mobility in many cities,” Eva Lau, founding partner of Two Small Fish Ventures, told BetaKit. “As many countries continue to ease their COVID-19 restrictions, the demand of micro mobility continues to grow. I am very excited [for Joyride] as they capture the opportunities ahead.”
According to Cifani, there are two current limiting factors affecting Joyride’s growth: shipping vehicles and handling payments. To address these issues, Joyride plans to use some of its new capital to pursue partnerships and launch integrations with shipping and payments providers.
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“In terms of growth, I was super impressed with [Joyride’s] numbers because this happened during a pandemic,” said Miller. “If anything, we’re starting to see governments open up to the idea of trying things differently. My hope is even conservative places like Canada, at least on the transportation side, will start allowing this and experimenting with it and seeing where it goes.”
Cifani expressed excitement about having Miller join the round. “Shopify, what they’ve done in the e-commerce space, is a fantastic model for what we’re trying to do in the mobility space,” said the CEO.
Going forward, Cifani anticipates demand for scooters and bikes will continue to remain strong. Post-pandemic, Cifani said he doesn’t expect public transit systems to see the same level of ridership they saw prior to COVID-19.
“If you bring scooter-sharing or bike-sharing to a city, it’s hard to just take it away,” said Cifani. “I think people have found that it’s such a great way to get around. It’s a fun way to get around, it’s environmentally-friendly, and cities need more modes of transportation like this.”
Feature image courtesy of Joyride