Impact-driven mobility startup HumanForest has just secured over €13.6 million ($15 million) to expand its product offering. The London-based company, which is B-Corp certified has grown at an impressive rate since its launch 18 months ago.
Urban mobility is undergoing a major shift at the moment. It’s now being defined by convenience, sustainability, and shared modes of transport.
On a mission to provide affordable mobility services to all while reducing air pollution, HumanForest is a UK-based startup that in 2021 launched its new fleet of truly green, fun and safe electric bikes in London, and has also made major partnerships, such as with Deliveroo to expand. The firm additionally has an advertising platform which diversifies its income. We chatted with Caroline Seton, co-founder and Head of Growth, last year to learn more and today, she was able to provide extra details on this raise to us.
Today, HumanForest has announced a $15 million Series A raise as it consolidates its position in the market, and pedals us forward towards a new, greener, transport future.
The Series A includes a £5m project finance facility from Triodos Bank UK, and £7m equity investment from global family offices,TheVentureCity’s Founder and CEO, Laura González-Estéfani, and Cabify co-founder, Vicente Pascual participated in the round, along with global family offices including LarrainVial and Santa Cecilia.
Agustin Guilisasti, CEO & Founder at HumanForest, said: “Sustainable micro-mobility is a force for good in cities but to bring meaningful change it must be affordable and accessible. This funding round has accelerated our expansion, bringing affordable and sustainable mobility to even more Londoners, whilst enhancing our capital efficient approach to growth. Deeply aligned with our commitment to a more sustainable future, Triodos Bank is a natural partner for us and an important part of our expansion into Europe.”
HumanForest uses technology to improve battery life and reduce the waste of rental e-bikes. It aims to make e-biking accessible, with a pricing model that means every user can cycle for free for ten minutes per day, every day. In September 2021, it successfully launched 800 zero-emission, fully electric bikes across London.
To make rides even more affordable, the startup recently launched an advertising platform which provides the company with additional revenue.
This focus on accessibility, alongside an embedded commitment to sustainability (and B Corp accreditation), makes HumanForest stand out in the growing mobility market.
The startup also takes an approach of leading with impact – which has helped create a loyal and engaged community. Consumers across Europe and the UK are looking at ways to make micro, eco-friendly behavioural changes, and so sustainable offerings like HumanForest e-bikes enable the transition, in an accessible, affordable way.
In the HumanForest story, which launched in 2021, partnerships have played an important role in both growing the company and expanding the reach of sustainable transport. This is also being achieved via its advertising platform which succinctly connects economic return and environmental impact.
According to Caroline Seton, co-founder and Head of Growth, these partnerships and collaborations are fundamental: “Our responsible digital marketing platform, HumanForest Impact, is integral to our growth strategy as it facilitates HumanForest’s unique proposition of providing every customer with 10 free minutes of riding every day.”
“The capabilities of our adtech platform are extensive. For example, we have recently built HumanForest RewardStream which allows users to watch in-app partner videos in exchange for extra free minutes of riding.”
“On a broader level, connecting our sustainably-minded partners with users extends our environmental commitments as we’re able to encourage even more positive lifestyle changes to our riders.”
With this new funding, the startup plans to double the size of its e-bike fleet to meet the growing demand for its services. The company has quickly grown its market share in London, now reaching 300,000 new users, completing almost 2 million trips and winning licences in nine Boroughs. HumanForest will launch in Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Merton and Southwark shortly and renewed its licence to operate in the City of London last month.
Amandine Tetot, Head of Project Finance at Triodos Bank UK, said: “As a bank that is looking to finance systemic transformation, we have clear ambitions to expand our portfolio into pioneering projects and financing structures to support decarbonisation solutions. HumanForest is a fantastic example of a company that is innovating shared modes of transport to tackle urban pollution while increasing access to affordable transport – thereby contributing to more liveable cities. It’s exciting to be able to support HumanForest to reach more people across London and beyond.”
The equity component will be invested in technology, further developing the company’s advertising technology platform and User App. The platform allows companies to use their ad spend to provide 10 minutes of free cycling daily to HumanForest users, supporting the modal shift needed to decarbonise transport.
Laura González-Estéfani, Founder of TheVentureCity, said: “When I met the Founders of HumanForest, Cabify Alumni, I thought – wow Chilean talent for the world! I have seen the founding team build the company over the past year with austerity, resilience and fully focused on data, never focused on the crazy context. No challenge is big enough for this team – they are building something very very special; they truly are trailblazers in this space.”
Vicente Pascual, Co-founder of Cabify and Board Director and Investor at HumanForest, said: “It has been a pleasure working side by side with Agustin for over a decade. Through its advertising tech platform and broad customer appeal, HumanForest is a second-generation micro-mobility company on the cusp of profitable growth.”
Speaking to Caroline, Co-founder and Head of Growth, we were able to get a further inside look at the future of mobility and where HumanForest sees itself in this exciting market.
Speaking to the future, Caroline commented that the firm is “working towards a future where all modes of shared travel are seamlessly integrated with public transport, allowing cars to be eliminated from cities.” It’s an aim that certainly aligns with how many cities are transitioning in current urban planning decisions. From Barcelona to London, more green zones are being opened up, vehicles are going electric, and green cities are becoming the present.
For HumanForest, the next few years will see it strengthing its foothold in London before launching in key European cities, bringing affordable and sustainable travel to the rest of the world.