Zipp Mobility bags €500,000 investment from Brian O’Driscoll and others

2 Sep 2020

Zipp Mobility founder, Charlie Gleeson. Image: Nick Bradshaw

Dublin-based dockless e-scooter start-up Zipp Mobility has secured €500,000, which will be used to ramp up trials in the UK.

Former Irish rugby star Brian O’Driscoll has backed a Dublin start-up hoping to make a name for itself in the e-scooter industry. Zipp Mobility, headquartered in NovaUCD at University College Dublin (UCD), announced today (2 September) that it has secured a total of €500,000 from investors including O’Driscoll and a New York-based investor.

Founded in 2019 by Charlie Gleeson, the company has now raised more than €1m in funding. The news comes just after the UK Department for Transport approved Zipp Mobility’s e-scooter for use in its trials of e-scooter sharing schemes, and the funding will be used for Zipp’s upcoming launches in the UK.

Gleeson graduated from the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business in 2019. In the same year he also completed NovaUCD’s mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs and the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme run by NovaUCD for early-stage start-up companies.

“This new funding puts Zipp in a really strong position to launch trials in the UK,” Gleeson said.

“These are exciting times for the Zipp Mobility team and this backing is a great mark of the momentum we are enjoying as a company.”

Progress in the UK

The start-up revealed in June that it had been backed by a London-based venture capital firm and private angel investors, raising €300,000 in seed funding, and had plans to grow the Zipp team.

The company’s e-scooter design includes an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, 10-inch airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking and a NanoSeptic handlebar that Zipp claims can reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission by 99.98pc. The dockless e-scooter has a lifespan of two years and the company has promised to recycle and reuse all of parts when they’re retired.

While discussions are still ongoing about legalising the use of e-scooters in Ireland, the UK government is accelerating trials of rented e-scooter schemes, in partnership with scooter companies such as Zipp Mobility.

These fast-tracked trials were introduced earlier this year in response to Covid-19, with the UK looking to explore transport methods that could ease pressure on public transport systems and allow for physical distancing.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic