Beam is a Singaporean e-scooter sharing startup that was launched in July 2018 by CEO Alan Jiang and CTO Deb Gangopadhyay.
When they launched the e-scooters in Malaysia in early 2019, we wondered how they would avoid the fate that befell bike-sharing startups here.
Some of the issues we had with bike-sharing were abandoned bikes all over the place and poorly maintained vehicles (probably due to vandalism and neglect).
However, one year later, Beam is showing that not only are they still around, they’re growing.
Picking Up Speed
Vulcan Post reached out to Ng Hui Lin, Launcher at Beam Malaysia, after getting wind of a new e-scooter model launch and expansion plans.
Hui Lin shared that they’ve since expanded their operating areas and increased the number of e-scooters and parking spots across KL city, of which they have over 70 now.
After receiving requests from their riders to expand their services to Selangor, Beam made its first move into the state by setting up in Bandar Utama.
“Our deployment strategies are data-driven. We want to put scooters where our riders want them to be,” Hui Lin said.
Demand only plays one part though; connectivity and areas where Beam can add value by expanding transportation options and/or providing first and last-mile solutions are also determinants as to where Beam will move to.
While they’ve identified Selangor to have great potential in that sense, it comes with its own challenges.
“Unlike KL city which has higher density, Selangor area is more spread out. We will need to set up more spots to make sure our scooters are easily accessible,” she said, adding that they’re happy to take on these challenges.
In Bandar Utama, you’ll be able to locate the scooters in the following areas:
- 1 Utama’s New Wing and Old Wing (Malaysia’s largest shopping mall)
- 8 First Avenue (Plaza IBM & KPMG Tower)
- First Avenue (1st Private Commercial ‘Green Building’ office tower)
Riders Come First
We complain about the Malaysian weather and public transport a lot, so I was curious as to who exactly is using Beam’s e-scooters.
“Our riders are from all walks of life. We have working professionals, students, business owners, expats, tourists, etc. riding our scooters every day,” Hui Lin shared.
At the time of writing, Hui Lin stated that they have over 60,000 users in Malaysia alone.
After collecting feedback from them, the team has also made some changes to their service.
Hui Lin said, “Due to popular demand, we have come out with different top-up credit packages that offer some pretty great discounts. We have also extended our operating hours to 24/7 recently.”
This change in operating hours has also affected their current operations.
Now, their on-ground operations team works 24 hours round the clock to collect and charge e-scooters that are below the rideable battery level threshold.
Based on demand patterns, they will then redistribute the fully charged e-scooters throughout the day.
To make things easier for the team, they do encourage Beam riders to park responsibly at designated parking spots.
“For example, in Bandar Utama, riders are required to end their trips by scanning the QR code at our parking spots,” Hui Lin said.
Following their expansion, they’ve also launched a new model of Beam e-scooters.
Called ‘The Beam Saturn’, these e-scooters come equipped with a dual braking system, an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, and 10-inch high endurance safety tires, all designed with rider safety in mind.
And per their operations all along, Beam still offers rider insurance that is integrated into the cost of their e-scooter rental, which costs RM2.50 to unlock and RM0.75/minute of use.
Not too long ago, Malaysia saw the birth of its first local e-scooter sharing startup with Tryke.
With another Singaporean player, Neuron Mobility also present in Malaysia, this actually had me curious about how great the demand was for e-scooters here.
I posed this question on Facebook a while back, asking if any locals actually saw and used these e-scooters, and to my surprise, I received replies speaking for the convenience of using these e-scooters.
Beam’s name popped up several times especially, since they were already covering quite a bit of ground in KL city back then.
However, with the track record of mobility sharing services like ofo and oBike in Malaysia standing at about a little over 1 year—it might be a slightly too soon to confidently say that Beam has proven that the model works here.
- You can read more on what we’ve written about Beam here.