Macro trends are now crystal clear! Cities grow, traffic congestions are escalating, and the planet suffers. Global warming has become one of the biggest concerns.
As a result, micromobility is fast redefining the first and last-mile travels in urban areas across many countries.
In fact, e-mopeds and e-scooters have emerged as an effective alternative for short-distance commuting due to the easy accessibility, affordability, and zero emissions.
Right now, heaps of mobility startups are on the mission of developing a more sustainable urban transport system to create a seamless mobility experience while reducing pollution, congestion, and noise.
Stockholm-based, Vässla is one among them! The Swedish company that produces e-bikes and e-mopeds has secured $11M (approx €9M) in funding led by the Swedish investment group, Skabholmen Invest.
Others including Magnus Wiberg and Patrik Hedelin, who founded the growth capital firm eEquity, and several high-profile Nordic-based entrepreneurs and finance profiles, also participated.
To date, the company has raised a total of $6M , excluding this current round.
Skabholmen Invest is a Swedish family-owned investment company that focuses on small and mid companies in various sectors with underlying development potential.
Headed by Anders Pettersson, the company has previously backed nautical clothing brand Henri-Lloyd and digital signage company – Zeta Display. As a part of the funding round, Skabholmen Invest will be joining the Vässla board of directors.
Wilhelm Pettersson, CEO Skabholmen Invest, comments, “We truly believe that the future of urban planning will exclude personal cars. Micro mobility will change cities and transform urban living for good. Vässla is the shining star in this sector, and that’s why we chose to lead this funding round.”
In an exclusive interview with Silicon Canals, Rickard Bröms, founder, Vässla, says, “The current funding will allow Vässla to transform from a classic direct-to-consumer (DTC) retail model into a more scalable rental model with recurring revenues.”
The proceedings will go towards the launch of its Vässla Club rental platform. According to Bröms, the rental platform will be provided through the Vässla Club sharing app, which has fleet management capabilities, and users can gain access to Vässla bikes.
The Swedish micro-mobility startup will offer three separate options:
- Vässla Club for People: A monthly subscription service for end-users
- Vässla Club for Delivery: A weekly subscription service for delivery drivers
- Vässla Club for Enterprises: Hourly rental service for hotels, resorts, campsites, etc.
Talking about expansion, Bröms says, “We plan to launch the first stage of our Vässla Club, Vässla Club for People, either later this year or early 2022, in Stockholm and Berlin.”
The company is also planning to pilot its recently launched Vässla Bikes in various European cities, including Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg, and Madrid.
Further, Vässla also plans to expand into the United Kingdom market at a later date, pending government legislation on e-scooters which is due to be revealed in early 2022.
“We are currently present in Amsterdam with our beloved partner Lynk&Co and will continue to grow this partnership,” he says to Silicon Canals.
How was Vässla born?
Annoyed by the exhausting public transport experience, Rickard Bröms bought an electric moped as a solution to get to work.
Then, he discovered two things — Firstly, it was surprisingly difficult to find one to purchase, and secondly, it then took him 14 minutes instead of 45 minutes to get to work with the e-moped.
This knowledge was the basis for the birth of Vässla; it was founded in 2017.
Bröms shares, “I originally started Vässla with the intention of producing an e-moped, combining a reduced commute time with the environmental friendliness of an e-bike, but with comfort and convenience prioritised. The problem with electric pedal bikes is that your morning commute becomes a workout session – you arrive at work or your important meeting sweaty and tired. It’s no better than using packed trains or buses.”
He adds, “With Vässla, our e-moped solved a problem for the upper range of short trips, but wasn’t that optimal for the lower range. Now, with Vässla Bike, we’re fulfilling our vision to provide customers with a micro-mobility vehicle which is lighter, sleeker, and ideal for the thousands of short trips made every day.”
With the micromobility sector expanding rapidly, the Stockholm-based micro-mobility company looks to capitalise on a unique gap in the market.
However, the micromobility company needs to solve some problems regarding the categorisation within the micro-mobility sector, which varies with each country.
In this regard, Bröms explains, “A challenge that we have faced is the inconsistency between countries and their respective governments about the categorisations within the micromobility sector, meaning that e-mopeds and e-bikes are classified differently from country-to-country.”
He continues, “Vässla is passionate about finding a solution to this problem, and our Vässla bike aims to earn, claim and own this emerging category between the e-bike and the e-moped, which we believe has the potential to grow to the same size as the e-bike category.
Bröms further adds, “This is an ongoing issue, however, pending government legislation in the UK is due to be revealed in early 2022, so we are heading in the right direction, which is great news!”
Notably, Swedish company manufactures its e-scooters in Sweden and has been sold and active in the Nordics, Germany, Spain, and The Netherlands.
Bröms shares, “We do not disclose any specific financial numbers, but to date we have sold approximately 5,000 Vässla Mopeds and remain the market leader in Sweden, beating the global market leader, NIU.”
Vässla Bikes have a 250 – 450W rear hub motor, a maximum speed of 20-25 km/h, a battery range of 40km, and a total weight of 21.5kg excluding the portable battery, which weighs 3.5kg and they designed themselves.
The company offers e-mopeds in three variants – Vässla 2 (Blue), Standard Package, and Large Package.
However, Rickard Bröms didn’t disclose the revenue projection for this financial year. “We cannot disclose financial details currently, but the ambition is high, and we aim to reach substantial volumes on all our revenue streams this year.”
At present, the company employs around 35 people. “We are currently a team of 35 employees and counting, with new employees starting every week. The focus going forward will be on hiring software developers, battery engineers, drivetrain experts, and operations managers, of which we intend to employ all over Europe,” concludes Bröms.