Superpedestrian raises $125m as it eyes Ireland for R&D base

1 Feb 2022

Link e-scooters. Image: Superpedestrian

Boston-based Superpedestrian said last year that it plans to bring R&D to Ireland with an initial €15m investment.

US transportation robotics company Superpedestrian, which wants to open a European R&D base in Ireland, has raised $125m in funding.

The fresh investment, announced today (1 February), will be used to expand the company’s own Link shared e-scooter service, boost its R&D, and roll out scooters with a new safety system in 25 cities across the US and Europe.

Existing investors Spark Capital, General Catalyst and Citi (via the Citi Impact Fund) were joined in the funding round by new backers Jefferies, Antara Capital, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV and FM Capital.

Boston-based Superpedestrian was spun out from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 by Assaf Biderman to combine robotics and AI with mobility.

The company later launched its Link range of e-scooters with a vehicle intelligence platform that aims to prevent common e-scooter accidents. Superpedestrian’s latest safety system, Pedestrian Defense, collects data from multiple vehicle sensors and integrates it with the vehicle intelligence system to detect unsafe riding behaviour and take real-time action.

Irish plans

Last June, The Irish Times reported that Superpedestrian was considering setting up a European R&D base in Ireland in a move that could create up to 100 jobs as part of an initial €15m investment. The company was also one of a host of micromobility players with plans to roll out e-scooter sharing services on Irish roads once legislation passed.

“We do a lot of our R&D and engineering in Massachusetts, and we are looking at mirroring the R&D aspect of that in Ireland,” Jean Andrews, head of policy for Ireland the UK, told The Irish Times last year. “We’re looking at the whole kit and caboodle of working on both hardware and software here.”

In its funding announcement today, Superpedestrian confirmed that it is still looking at establishing a European R&D centre of excellence in Ireland. Andrews added that the company is also “really looking forward” to bringing its e-scooter services to the country.

Following successful field tests of Pedestrian Defense in recent months, the system will now be integrated into Superpedestrian’s Link fleet of e-scooters, which has already launched in 57 cities.

“Over the past nine years, we have developed a unique software platform that addresses the core challenges of electric vehicle fleets,” Andrews said.

“From predictive-maintenance and repair automation to fine-grain locationing and curb management, our platform is rich with advanced capabilities that enable safer and more reliable transportation solutions,” she added.

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic