Dublin dockless e-scooter start-up Zipp Mobility raises €300,000

18 Jun 2020

Charlie Gleeson. Image: Zipp Mobility

Zipp Mobility has raised €300,000 in seed funding to help the business capitalise on emerging opportunities for e-scooters in the UK market.

Today (18 June), Dublin-based dockless e-scooter start-up Zipp Mobility announced that it has raised €300,000 in seed funding. The start-up plans to use the financing to expand its team and target the UK e-scooter market.

Zipp Mobility’s funding round was led by a London-based venture capital firm and private angel investors.

Based in University College Dublin (UCD) at NovaUCD’s Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, the start-up is now eyeing the UK market as the country explores ways to reduce congestion and provide greener transport options after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, the UK government announced plans to accelerate trials of rented e-scooter schemes to any region of the country that wants to introduce a scheme in partnership with scooter companies. These trials were originally planned for June 2021 in four areas of the UK.

Seizing the opportunity

Founded by Charlie Gleeson in 2019, Zipp Mobility positions itself as a solution to the ‘last mile’ problem, acting as the link between public transport stops and a commuter’s final destination.

Gleeson is a recent graduate from the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, who completed NovaUCD’s mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs and was a finalist in the UCD VentureLaunch programme in 2019. His start-up is now recognised by Enterprise Ireland as a high-potential start-up (HPSU).

“We had originally planned to trial our e-scooters with students on Irish campuses, including UCD, earlier this year, but then Covid-19 arrived,” Gleeson said. “Following on from the recent announcement by the UK government to bring forward and expand their e-scooter trials country-wide, we have now pivoted to focus on the UK market.”

To capitalise on the emerging opportunities, Gleeson plans to grow the Zipp team. David Maloney, who has more than 20 years of experience in business development at IBM, has recently joined the start-up, along with head of growth and government affairs William O’Brien and financial analyst Ben Duffy, who are both recent graduates from UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business.

“We are delighted to have secured this seed funding, which has enabled us to expand our team to six people,” Gleeson said. “Our team is now focused on securing e-scooter licences to provide affordable and less congested micro-mobility alternatives in cities across the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.”

E-scooter service

The start-up’s solution relies on users downloading the Zipp Mobility app, using its built-in GPS locator to find the nearest scooter and scanning a QR code to unlock it.

Zipp Mobility’s scooters are designed to withstand the wear and tear of frequent use, according to the start-up, and will be equipped with swappable batteries that can easily be changed.

“While our current focus is on the UK market, Irish university campuses are particularly attractive locations in which Zipp Mobility can build a strong customer base,” Gleeson said. “Tapping into such a concentrated pool of young people is fertile ground for proving e-scooter demand on a wider scale.”

He added that trials on college campuses could help convince Irish Government bodies of the “viability and safety” of such a service. He is still planning on-campus trials for the future.

“I warmly welcome the commitment to legislate for e-scooters as highlighted in the recently published programme for Government document,” Gleeson concluded. “I hope this legislation will be introduced as soon as possible within the lifetime of the next Government.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic