e-scooter startup Beam secures US$26mil Series-A round
By Digital News Asia June 1, 2020
- Sequoia India-led funding round will be used to expand APAC footprint
- Third-gen e-scooter, the Beam Saturn to incorporate more safety features
Micromobility startup, Beam, that offers shared e-scooters, has announced a Series-A round of US$26 million (RM112 million) led by Sequoia India and Hana Ventures, with investors across the APAC region.
The Singapore-based startup will be using the new financing round to expand its footprint in Malaysia, Australia, Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan.
This follows its 2018 US$6.4 million (RM27.7 million) seed round that was led by Sequoia India, as well as Founders Fund, ZhenFund and Class 5 globals.
“Beam’s key members have demonstrated unique operation approaches in dealing with business growth and regulatory hurdles around the APAC region. Simultaneously, the industry has rapidly evolved due to its growing hardware and software infrastructure. We believe the amalgamation of these situations will make Beam the industry leader in micromobility,” notes Han Ventures’ director and head of Global Investment Henry Choi.
"We're grateful to our incredibly supportive investors who believe in our unique 'virtual dock' approach to micromobility and continue to support us through a very uncertain macroeconomic environment,” says Beam cofounder and CEO Alan Jiang.
“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 vehicle retention rates, reduce operational costs, and most importantly, benefits communities by keeping city streets neater.”
Jiang refers to the startup’s ‘virtual dock’ approach, which incentivises its riders through in-app to park the scooters at pre-determined spots, thus reducing the common issue of shared e-scooters being recklessly left on the streets or obstructing walkways.
In a press release, Beam states that it will also be progressively rolling out features that are focused on keeping Beam e-scooters safe for pedestrians when parked on city streets, while helping minimise vehicle losses.
“Beam has to work as hard to limit the downsides of e-scooters for non-riders as they do to enhance the upside for riders. 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. We have designed our business and our product around that insight, and it is what makes us different,” Beam’s cofounder and CTO Deb Gangopadhyay adds.
Beyond that, the company states that it will continue to make the safety of riders and pedestrians its top priority through enhancing its “Beam Safe Academy” initiative, which includes introducing a number of online training tools and further expanding the rider training program in the region.
Beam will also be accelerating the introduction of its third-generation e-scooter, called the Beam Saturn which incorporates more safety features such as aviation-grade aluminium frame, 25-centimeter tubeless safety tyres, high grip rear-wheel drive, and a dual mechanical and electronic braking system.
As for its approach towards a Covid-19 new normal, Beam has implemented stringent cleaning and operations practices to limit the possibility of virus transmission.
E-scooter sharing services are on the rise in the APAC region. In Malaysia alone, Singapore-based Neuron Mobility and Beam both launched in the country last year, with locally-operated Tryke joining the fray late 2019. Grab has similarly introduced their own e-scooter sharing services in Indonesia. However, these operators are facing regulatory speed bumps in Southeast Asia.