Singapore micromobility startup Beam has raised US$26 million (about S$36.6 million) in its latest Series A funding round.
The fundraise was led by Sequoia India — which was also Beam’s lead investor at seed stage in 2018 — and Hana Ventures.
They are joined by other Asia Pacific investors including RTP Global, AppWorks, Right Click, Cherubic and RedBadge Pacific.
This fresh capital will support Beam’s ambition to grow the largest mobility fleet in Korea, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Taiwan.
As part of these plans, Beam will be expanding its ‘virtual docking’ system and accelerating the deployment of its newest e-scooter, the Beam Saturn, in all markets.
In the last two years, bike-sharing and e-scooter-sharing became trodden with a notorious reputation at the hands of irresponsible riders who left bikes and scooters strewn all over public places.
However, Beam is addressing this issue head-on with their virtual dock model. Riders will be encouraged to park in predetermined parking spots to receive incentives in the app.
“I’m really excited about our new technology and its ability to reduce the problems associated with randomly scattered scooters around a city,” said Beam co-founder and CEO Alan Jiang.
“This helps us to further improve our industry-leading vehicle retention rates, reduce operational costs, and most importantly, benefits communities by keeping city streets neater.”
The startup is not just aiming to provide the best experience for riders, but has also worked hard to limit the downsides perceived by non-riders, it added.
Said Beam’s other co-founder and CTO, Deb Gangopadhyay: “The success of any new technology depends on mass acceptance, and the quicker and better we can ensure e-scooters are used and parked where they should be, the more welcoming city residents will be.”
Safety is another major concern, especially with electric personal mobility devices. Singapore has banned the use of these devices on footpaths to keep pedestrians safe.
Beam provides a rider training programme called the Beam Safe Academy, and will be enhancing it with new online training tools.
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation, Beam is hopeful that shared open-air mobility like e-scooters will be a safe and affordable transportation option as people start returning to work.
They have also implemented stringent cleaning and operations practices to limit the possibility of virus transmission.
On top of that, Beam also shared how it has been ramping up its environmental efforts, as the only e-scooter operator in APAC to be officially Climate Neutral Certified.
The firm worked with non-profit organisation Climate Neutral to measure its 2019 carbon emissions and “offset that entire carbon footprint”, by investing in projects like renewable energy and planting trees.
“As part of its commitments, Beam will continue to dramatically reduce its emissions in 2020 and beyond,” the firm said.
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