Singapore-based E-scooter Startup Beam today announced that it has raised US$26 million in a Series A funding round led by Sequoia India and Hana Ventures, along with other investors from the Asia Pacific. Founded in 2018, the startup plans to use the new funds to expand its virtual docking systems. The model ensures that riders park the scooters in predetermined parking spots by offering incentives through the Beam mobile app.
Beam will also use part of the fresh capital to deploy its third-generation e-scooter Beam Saturn across the Asia Pacific and grow its mobility fleets in Korea, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. The company said it will also roll out new features focused on keeping parked e-scooters safe for pedestrians to minimize vehicle loss.
Beam, like Bounce and Yulu in India, offers electric scooters in the aforementioned five markets. Electric and gasoline scooters have become popular in several Asian nations and elsewhere as people look for alternative transportation mediums to move around faster and at less cost.
While these vehicles make inroads into various markets, it’s also not uncommon to find these scooters abandoned carelessly in the streets. Beam said unlike other startups, it incentivizes its riders through in-app offers to park the scooters at predetermined spots.
“The success of any new technology depends on mass acceptance, and the quicker and better we can ensure e-scooters are used and parked where they should be, the more welcoming city residents will be,” Deb Gangopadhyay, co-founder and chief technology officer at Beam, said.
Beam will also enhance its initiative called Beam Safe Academy, introducing online training and expanding its real-world scooter training program to ensure rider and pedestrian safety. The startup noted that amid Covid-19, shared open-air mobility provided by e-scooters remains a safe and affordable transportation option.
“I’m really excited about our new technology and its ability to reduce the problems associated with randomly scattered scooters around a city. This helps us to further improve our industry-leading vehicle retention rates, reduce operational costs, and most importantly, benefit communities by keeping city streets neater,” said Beam co-founder and chief executive Alan Jiang.
Abheek Anand, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital India, said Beam’s collaboration with regulators, technology, and insights into the transportation landscape stand to give it an edge in the Asia Pacific region.
The startup’s fundraising comes at a time when many young firms, especially those operating in the transportation category, in Asia are struggling to raise capital. Beam said it had implemented stringent cleaning and operations practices to limit the possibility of virus transmission to allay riders’ concerns.