Published on November 6th, 2019 | by Jake Richardson0
Electric Moped Startup Revel Secures $27.6 Million In New Funding
November 6th, 2019 by Jake Richardson
The New York-based electric moped startup, Revel, recently secured $27.6 million in new funding. Ibex Investors, Toyota AI Ventures, Maniv Mobility, Blue Collective, and Launch Capital were the backers. The EV sharing startup has more than 1,400 electric mopeds total operating in its Brooklyn, Queens, Washington, DC, and Austin, Texas service areas. The funding will be used to scale the business. By the middle of 2020, Revel could be operating in ten US cities.
Revel’s CEO, Frank Reig, answered some questions about the funding and company’s growth for CleanTechnica.
The roll-outs from some of the electric scooter companies didn’t go very well for a variety of reasons. Your mopeds are a different form of personal transportation and well-regulated. Because mopeds are well known, and there are laws governing them, was it easier to roll them out and acquire customers?
We are not trying to disrupt cities, that’s just not how we do things. In each market, before launching we’ve coordinated with local city officials. Because Revel operates within existing regulations and infrastructure, our launches have gone smoothly and ridership has been high right off the bat.
You don’t use gig workers. Why is it important that you use full-time employees?
For one, we want to make sure all our employees are taken care of. All of our employees, from our most junior Field Tech up, have the same benefits as I do. Beyond that, our model allows us to provide a really high quality service. Everybody who works on the vehicles and with Revel customers is invested in the company and the mission, which is very different from companies that rely on gig economy workers.
Are electric scooters more comfortable or convenient than gas-powered ones?
Our electric mopeds are a really fun and convenient way to get around, and are perfect for navigating from one city neighborhood to another. They reduce congestion, work within existing infrastructure, and, because they are electric, help improve local air quality. You don’t have to worry about finding the nearest gas station or running out of fuel with Revel.
What is your typical customer profile?
We have all types of customers who use Revel for different purposes. Revels are for people in cities who need to get somewhere in a safe, reliable, and easy way.
How do you prevent moped theft? Do you have some kind of tracking on each one?
Yes, each Revel is equipped with a GPS locator so we can track any errant behavior. Each Revel also has an alarm system that is activated if the Revel is moved when locked, along with a locking back wheel mechanism.
With some of the scooter roll-outs, apparently the companies didn’t work well with local governments. Did you communicate with those organizations where you operate when you launched?
We’ve had extensive communications with local city and transportation officials in each of the markets where we have launched. It helps the launches go smoothly, and frankly, it’s the only way our business works. Our first question is always – does the city want us?
What is the vision for your company?
We started Revel after seeing how common these types of vehicles were in cities all around the world and wondering why they weren’t everywhere in the U.S. After seeing what a great experience they provide in cities in other countries, we figured it was only a matter of time before they came stateside, and we wanted to be the ones to bring them here. We continue to hear very positive feedback from transportation officials and our riders, and are excited to bring Revels to more cities soon.
Will you expand to other metro areas and how do you choose your locations?
We take a lot of things into consideration, but perhaps most importantly, we go to cities that want us to be there. If the city doesn’t want us there, we aren’t going to be successful in that market. Because we don’t require any new infrastructure, Revel works great in cities, and we’re excited to expand to new locations soon.
Electric vehicles typically have less maintenance than gas-powered ones. Is that also true of your electric mopeds?
We learned that our Revels are incredibly resilient during our nearly year-long pilot program in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as in the months since then with expanded service in New York and DC. We closely monitor the battery power on each Revel to ensure our users have enough charge to ride where they need to go and swap out batteries when necessary while the Revel is in the field. Our full-time maintenance team quickly responds to any service complaints and when necessary will bring the Revel in for repairs. The moment we are notified that a Revel is not fully functional, we immediately take it out of service.
What are your plans for the next three years?
Right now, we’re focusing on making sure our riders and the cities we operate in are happy, as well as bringing Revels to more cities and expanding our service.
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