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Hi and welcome back to The Station. Remembrance Day will come this Monday, a holiday intended to honor military personnel who died while serving in the US Armed Forces. Over the years, it has grown for many Americans who use a three-day weekend to light a grill, go camping, head to the beach, local amusement parks or travel. This was an unofficial start to the summer – even though we still have more than three weeks of spring.
Every year around this time, AAA provides estimates for trips over the weekend. For the first time in 20 years, AAA said it would not issue a Memorial Day trip forecast, because the accuracy of the economic data used to make the forecast had been undermined by COVID-19.
Travel forecasts often reflect economic conditions or at least certain aspects. For example, Memorial Day 2009 holds the record for the lowest travel volume in nearly 31 million tourists. Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend, the second highest travel volume recorded since 2000, when the organization began tracking this data.
I will wear my prognosticator cap for a while knowing that I might be wrong (I’m sure you will remind me later). I hope this weekend will be a low-key travel holiday, but I fully anticipate this summer will mark the return of overland travel. And that’s not just my estimate for the U.S. I hope Europeans will get closer to home and choose a path and maybe train a trip through long-haul flights for their summer holidays. It has all kinds of implications, positive and negative. And that is why I will spend some time in the coming weeks driving a variety of new SUV models to find valuable vehicles traveling overland.
This past week I drove the VW Atlas Cross Sport V6 SEL 2020 (premium trim), a smaller, easily approachable three-row Atlas version. I will share some thoughts about it next week. After that, I will drive the Land Cruiser 2020 standard trim. Do you have a vehicle suggestion? Reach out and I’ll try to put it in my queue.
Reach out and send me an email at [email protected] to share thoughts, criticisms, give opinions or tips. You can also send messages directly to me on Twitter – @kirstenkorosec.
Should we go down there? Vamos
Micromobility did some good actions this week so let’s dive in. Here in San Francisco, Bird’s Scoot employs 300 electric kick scooters. By Memorial Day weekend, Scoot will have 500 electric scooters available. In addition, Scoot expands its scooter service area to serve more parts of San Francisco.
While in Atlanta, GoX and Tortoise worked together to deploy an electric teleoperative scooter. At Peachtree Corners, GoX riders can call a scooter equipped with technology from Tortoise. As Keaks explained, aka Kirsten Korosec, earlier this week, motorists can ask the scooter to come to them and once they are done, the scooter will drive itself back to the parking lot.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Tier brings integrated helmets to its electric scooters. Foldable helmets fit inside a box mounted on a scooter under the handlebars. This month, Tier plans to deploy 200 scooters equipped with helmets in Paris and Berlin. During the summer, Tier will deploy 5,000 additional scooters equipped with helmets. In addition, given concerns about COVID-19, Tier is experimenting with standalone antibacterial and disinfecting handlebar technology from Protexus. Tier is testing these handlebars in Paris and Bordeaux.
Also, don’t miss my analysis of why micro mobility might return stronger after a pandemic.
– Megan Rose Dickey
This week’s deal
Vroom, an online used car market that has raised around $ 700 million since 2013, applied for an IPO this week. (Yes, the IPO qualifies as a transaction in my book). He plans to trade on Nasdaq under VRM with Goldman Sachs as the main underwriter.
Vroom is an interesting company that I have written for years now. And there are times when I wonder if it will fold at all. The company managed to continue raising funds, most recently $ 254 million in December 2019 in the H Series round which the company valued around $ 1.5 billion.
The view on S-1 shows modest growth, increased losses and thin gross margins. Eck!
Here are the brief details:
Vroom’s revenue grew 39.3% in 2019 compared to 2018. During the same period, its gross margin fell from 7.1% to 4.9%. The company’s net loss as a percent of revenue rose from 10% in 2018 to 12% in 2019. (That does not include costs associated with “increasing exchangeable preferred shares that can be exchanged.” By calculating non-cash costs, add $ 13 million loss 2018 Vroom and $ 132.8 million for its 2019 figure.)
In the first quarter of 2020, Vroom generated revenue of $ 375.8 million, which led to a gross profit of $ 18.4 million, or around 4.9% of revenue. It also reported a net loss of $ 41.1 million in the first quarter, making it a run-rate for losing more money in 2020 than in 2019.
TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm looked behind Vroom’s hood and found out why the company was going into the public market during this turbulent time. Let me see.
Missfresh, a Chinese food delivery company supported by Tencent, is approaching $ 500 million in new funding.
Xwing’s autonomous flight startup was locked in a $ 10 million funding round before COVID-19 reached. Now the San Francisco-based startup is using capital to recruit talented employees and increase the development of its software stack as it aims for commercial operations later this year – awaiting FAA approval. The Series A funding round was led by R7 Partners, with participation from early stage VC Alven, Eniac Ventures and Thales Corporate Ventures.
Fly Now Pay Later, a London-based fintech startup focused on travel, raising £ 5 million in Series A equity funding and another £ 30 million in debt funding.
French startup Angell has signed a broad partnership with SEB, the French industrial company behind All-Clad, Krups, Moulinex, Rowenta, Tefal and others. As part of the agreement, SEB will produce Angell electric bicycles at a factory near Dijon, France. The SEB investment unit, the SEB Alliance, also invests in Angell. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Angell said it plans to raise between $ 7.6 and $ 21.7 million with a group of investors including SEB.
Layoffs, business interruptions, and people
Signage is displayed at the Hertz Global Holdings Inc. rental counter. at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, USA, on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Photo: Getty Images
Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, a move that we have been anticipating for a while now. Bankruptcy protection stems from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is why.
After business trips and other trips are stopped, Hertz suddenly sits on an unused asset – lots and lots of cars. Not just the income tap is turned off. The price of used cars has gone down, further devaluing its fleet.
The company said that they have more than $ 1 billion in cash, which will be used to keep businesses operating through the bankruptcy process. Hertz also said its main international operating areas, including Europe, Australia and New Zealand, were not included in the Chapter 11 U.S. process, nor the location of the franchise.
Indian travel company Ola has seen a 95% decline in revenue in the past two months because India implemented a home stay rule for 1.3 billion of its citizens at the end of March. You can guess what happened as a result. Co-founder and CEO Ola Bhavish Aggarwal said in an internal e-mail the company cut 1,400 jobs in India, or 35% of its workforce in the domestic market.
India’s top food delivery startup, Swiggy, reduced 1,100 jobs and reduced several adjacent businesses because it appeared to reduce the costs of surviving a coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s something in front of the “new” job …
There is a lot of attention on autonomous shipping robots. These companies will surely struggle to be profitable. Shipping on request is a difficult business. But COVID-19 may have inadvertently expanded the workforce to these companies.
Delivery startups on request Postmates have seen an increase in demand for autonomous shipping robots known as Serve, which operates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company uses teleoperators, humans who monitor and guide autonomous robots remotely. COVID-19 asked Postmates to establish teleoperation centers in each employee’s home. The post mates see the potential to reach new groups of workers.
Tortoise, which we mentioned earlier at Micromobbin ‘, saw the same potential, according to its founder and CEO Dmitry Shevelenko.
A small bird
We hear (and see) things. But we are not selfish. We share!
For those unfamiliar with “little birds,” this is a periodic section that shares insider tips that have been examined. This week out of the world of super-hyped on-demand delivery. This is a business that might see a lot of demand. But demand does not always match profitability.
Take Postmates for example. The company has raised about $ 900 million to date, including a $ 225 million round announced in October that has a company value of around $ 2.5 billion. But now it seems that ordinary shares are trading at a 45% discount on the secondary market, according to our sources.
Early investors do take money from the table from time to time. But that can also point to other issues worthy of attention. The post mates submitted confidential IPO documents in February 2019, but the plan was postponed. The company is also fighting for market share against giants like Doordash. The Uber-Grubhub merger will put it on DoorDash.
That makes Postmates fourth. And Primack at Axios noted “various sources” had told him that the company was seeking funding of around $ 100 million in new private market funding.
Another important bit
Here are some other items that caught my attention …
Amazon joined the Indian online food delivery market as local Swiggy and Zomato players reduced their workforce to control the coronavirus pandemic and a few months after Uber Eats left the country.
GM has a “big team” that works on an advanced version of its hands-free driving assistance system, Super Cruise, which will expand its capabilities off the highway and implement it on city streets, said vice president of global product development product maker Doug Parks during a web-broadcast interview at the Citi 2020 Car Future Symposium.
Cake, a Stockholm-based mobility startup, debuted on Kalk OR, a 150 pound two-wheeled, battery-powered vehicle designed for agile off-road driving and available in the legal-road version.
Nauto has launched a new feature in the driver behavior learning platform designed to detect collisions that will occur to help reduce rear end accidents. It works by taking data on driver behavior, vehicle movement, traffic elements, and contextual data to help predict and prevent collisions.
The organizer of the New York International Auto Show, which had hoped to hold a rescheduled event in August, had decided to cancel the entire year. This event has been officially canceled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee announced Friday. The next performance will take place April 2 to April 11, 2021. The press days are March 31 and April 1.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company raised the price of the “Self-Driving Driving” package from the Autopilot driver assistance package by around $ 1,000 on July 1. This has happened before and it will happen, I promise it will happen again. The Verge has good details about the reason. I, of course, care about financial reasons. At present, Tesla can only calculate about half of the revenue it generates from FSD. The other half is deferred income – money that Tesla can recognize in the balance sheet at a later date.
Wunder Mobility, a Hamburg-based startup that provides a variety of mobility services, from carpooling to electric scooter rentals, announced the launch of Wunder Vehicle and a business-to-business partnership with Chinese EV producer Yadea. Wunder Vehicle is a service that gives customers a kind of tool to launch fleet sharing companies. The company provides software, marketing plans, data, financing options, and electric vehicles, which will come from Yadea.
Rad Power Bikes launches the latest iteration of its electric charge bikes. RadWagon 4 has been completely redesigned from the ground up. VC truck Reilly Brennan recently described this on Twitter as a possible F-150 of micromobility. We hope to test it soon.
Image Credit: Rad Power Bikes
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