The Berlin-based mobility startup unu just secured $12 million Series B funding to begin the next phase of the company’s development: the launch of a second, networked product generation to address the mobility services market and the expansion of its international business. The funding round was ld by Ponooc and joined by existing investors such as Capnamic Ventures, IRIS Capital, Michael Baum and NRW.BANK.
In the first quarter of 2018, the European market for electric scooters grew by 51%, while sales of conventional scooters fell by 40%. The Berlin-based e-scooter startup contributed to this. Already more than 80 employees are working for the young company in Berlin.
The fresh capital will be used to support the next phase of the company’s evolution. unu is working in different product generations trying to tackle the trends that it believes are shaping the urban mobility in the future: e-mobility, mobility-as-a-service and autonomous driving. With the first product generation of unu, an electric scooter, electric mobility was successfully made accessible to the masses by putting 10,000 scooters on the road. Now, with the second product generation, networked electric vehicles are to be brought onto the market to offer mobility services such as scooter and p2p sharing – and thus compete with companies already established there.
To be able to roll out the second product generation on a large scale right from the start, unu has been able to conclude various local partnerships for mobility services. Numerous partnerships for public sharing cases in cities are in preparation that will boost the company’s footprint with multiple thousand sharing scooters in the coming years alone, demonstrating the successful transition from a pure hardware player into a hardware and software business.
The new capital will also enable unu to enter further markets. Since 2015, the Berlin-based company has successfully expanded into two of the most important European markets alongside Germany and Austria: France and the Netherlands. The company expects further growth from internationalization in order to solve urban mobility on a global scale.
The entry into the company’s next phase is supported by a brand relaunch. The first big step is a new website that not only heralds a brand relaunch, but also communicates the company’s vision and product strategy to the public for the first time.
Pascal Blum, the Co-Founder and CEO unu stated: “We are very pleased to welcome Ponooc as the main investor in this round. The team convinced us immediately because they know their way around the changing mobility market very well. Having made electric mobility accessible to the masses with the first product generation, we now want to network the second generation, so that our vehicles can also be used for Mobility-as-a-Service.”
Jörg Binnenbrücker, Founding Partner at the VC firm Capnamic, stated: “unu convinced us early on with their vision and continues to develop their product ever stronger and better. In addition, the company is driven by a great team. E-mobility will continue to revolutionize the future of cities in the next decade and unu is well positioned to benefit from it. Now, we want to take the next step together and help unu achieve even greater success.”
Founded in 2013 by Elias Atahi, Pascal Blum and Mathieu Caudal, unu started out as a manufacturer of electric scooters and is now the market leader in German-speaking countries. Today, the young company is working on various solutions for urban mobility. Their TÜV-certified scooter is affordable, drives silently and can be charged thanks to portable batteries at regular power outlets. The idea was born during the founders’ studies in Beijing, where limited mobility in a large city was particularly noticeable. unu has been successfully expanding abroad since 2015 and plans to more than double the number of its electric scooters on the roads.