Voi rakes in $45m in big week for transport disruptors

By Eric Johansson

Transport is changing. Electric vehicles are becoming ubiquitous, ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are overturning traditional taxi firms and e-scooters are growing commonplace. This past week has cemented the impact of the ever-changing mobility landscape with impressive quarterly results and new funding rounds being announced.

Voi is the latest example of this. The Swedish micro-mobility startup has just picked up another $45m in an extension to the Series C funding round it closed in December. The investment round originally raised $160m to support the company’s European expansion plans. The new cash injection brings the total amount raised in this round to $205m.

The original round included capital injections from individual Klarna executives. The Stockholm-headquartered fintech recently closed a $639m funding round at a $45.6bn valuation.

The new funding was led by The Raine Group and existing investors including VNV Global participated alongside new reputable investors.

Voi will use the money to scale the transport company, boasting that it has already become the biggest micro-mobility operator in Europe.

However, it didn’t provide a valuation to support that claim. Its e-scooters are available in 64 cities in 10 European countries, according to its website. Voi claims to have a 40% licenced markets in Europe locked down.

Comparatively, Estonian rival Bolt raised a €600m funding round earlier this week. Bolt operates in more than 300 cities in 45 countries in Europe, Africa, Western Asia and Latin America. It claims to have 75 million customers globally.

“Voi has emerged as the clear micro-mobility leader in the European market, a fact which is underlined by the confidence of our investors,” Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi. “We’ve proven that there is demand for sustainable, carbon-free transport across the continent and we’re delighted to be driving this switch from polluting cars in 70 cities.

“We’re now the biggest e-scooter operator achieving more than two million rides a week, and we’re trusted by more cities and regulators than any other operator.”

Big week for transport

Voi’s funding round comes after a big week in the future of transport segment of the market. Apart from the Voi round, transport news included the already mentioned €600m Bolt raise.

Uber and Lyft revealing their quarterly results also contributed to this influx of stories. While both these companies have recovered some of the losses Covid-19 inflicted on them, Verdict noted that there are plenty of obstacles in the road for them to overcome before they will be truly profitable. These hurdles include pressure from regulators to change how Uber and Lyft classify their rider.

Other big news this week included how Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Li Auto announced plans to float in Hong Kong. It aims to raise $1.93bn in its public debut in Hong Kong. Li Auto was already trading on the Nasdaq, having listed in 2020.

The company’s announcement comes only a few weeks after rival XPeng raised $1.8bn in its Hong Kong debut, potentially highlighting a trend of Chinese companies coming home and choosing to list in the southern financial hub.

Voi and these other companies are often perceived as green alternatives to transport. For instance, Voi partnered up with battery company Northvolt in February to access sustainable batteries for its e-scooters.

These companies are part of an overall trend of businesses pushing for solutions that would cut emissions and roll back climate change, as noted in a recent report by GlobalData.