Singapore personal mobility startup Beam has bagged a $6.4-million seed funding round to bring e-scooter sharing services to the island state.
The investment was led by Sequoia Capital India, Founders Fund, ZhenFund and Class 5 Global, with participation from Arbor Ventures, Insignia Ventures Partners, 500 Startups, Gobi Partners, K2 Global, Pascal Capital, Maloekoe Ventures and Cherubic Ventures.
Proceeds from the financing will help Beam roll out its scooter fleet, develop its mobile app, and grow the team for local operations, the company said in a statement.
Bean was founded by Alan Jiang, former CEO of APAC for Chinese bike sharing unicorn Ofo, who also played a key role in launching Uber across Asia, including China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
The company’s CTO, Deb Gangopadhyay, has deep experience in SaaS startups in Silicon Valley and has managed some of the world’s top grossing mobile products while at Pocket Gems.
Beginning with e-scooters, Beam looks to expand to other transportation options.
“We want to change the fundamental way that people move around Asian cities. Our goal with Beam is to create a shared mobility platform focused on providing real transportation options,” said Jiang.
Abheek Anand, managing director of Sequoia Capital, commented: “Shared personal mobility is a promising solution to the largely unsolved problem of first and last mile transportation. The founders of Beam have a deeply relevant background and a compelling vision for what urban transportation should look like.”
Sequoia has previously participated in a $12-million funding round for India-based two-wheeler service provider Bounce and invested in US scooter rental unicorn Bird.
A total of $111 billion has been poured into mobility technology companies since 2010, 60 per cent of which was a bet on autonomous and sharing solutions, according to McKinsey research.
SoftBank Vision Fund has become a notable investor in mobility in Asia, having garnered investments in the likes of Ola, Grab and Kuaidi Dache.
In Singapore, the Land Transport Authority recently asked bike sharing companies to submit applications for licences. It will also impose conditions on the maximum fleet size. Six operators, including Mobike, Ofo, SG Bike, Anywheel, GrabCycle and Qiqi ZhiXiang, have received licences and been approved collective fleet size of 55,500 vehicles.
Under the Smart Nation programme by the Singapore government, an e-scooter rental initiative is being rolled out in partnership with German startup Floatility to transform the city’s transportation landscape.
The e-scooter frenzy is coming to Asia due to the mass urbanisation in the region, and US rivals are ramping up their expansion plans in the region. Sequoia Capital-backed Bird is reportedly preparing for recruitment in Singapore, India, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea.