Startup Exuberance or Valuable Market? Analyzing Micro-Mobility

Over the past few years investment capital in micro-mobility startups has been exponential. As of early 2019, over $5.7 billion dollars was invested in this market in less than four years. A majority of the investments are aimed at Chinese markets. There, the market has grown roughly three times as quickly as the ride hailing services, and several micro-mobility startups have received over $1 billion valuations. Besides the benefits of regular shared mobility (e.g ridesharing), micro-mobility research has indicated that it is preferable to consumers for two reasons: faster than car-based trips on short distances and the fresh air on the trip. This seems understandable taking under consideration that over 25% of the world’s population resides in urban areas with populations over one million. This population density, among other factors, has led cities to have average vehicle traffic speeds as slow as 9 miles per hour. This can make cars a frustrating asset to utilize.

Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors commented, “capturing these markets early proves vital for a sustainable growth strategy, and this is what we have seen happen in the past.”

Economically, the lower acquisition costs per unit make the economics behind micro-mobility favorable and easier to scale; an electric scooter or bike is only a fraction of the cost of a car. Additionally, routes less than five miles make up around 55% of trips in China, the EU and the United States. While it is unreasonable to estimate a complete takeover of transportation in these trips due to weather, convenience, scope and availability, a small percentage in the overall market still represents tremendous value. Some analysts have estimated a market size totaling over $300 billion USD.