Voi, the European electric scooter rental start-up, has “suspended” operations in several countries
Following similar moves by Lime, Bird, Tier and others, Voi Technology, a European electric scooter rental and so-called micro-mobility start-up, said it had "suspended" operations in several countries because of the coronavirus pandemic.As a result, the company will suspend operations in all but nine major cities.
In a brief statement to the media on Friday, Voi said it regretted that it had been "pressured" to suspend operations in most of the cities where it operates, and that it was only serving a few of its largest cities.
Voi continues to operate in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Oslo in northern Europe, Berlin, Hamburg, Nuremberg and Munich in Germany.
More broadly, the coronavirus outbreak is a major blow to electric scooter companies, as cities around the world restrict movement and social alienation and isolation are practiced in varying degrees.This has led many companies to adopt work-at-home policies rather than commuting, and electric scooters are often popular.The world economy has also taken a hit, so entertainment spending and travel are also on the decline.
More broadly, the business plans of electric scooter rental startups take into account seasonal needs, and a source told me a few months ago that the entire industry is built on the capital and operational wisdom to get through the winter and the capital strength to meet demand in the spring and summer peak seasons.Coronavirus inevitably means that "winter" can indeed, indeed, last for a long time.
Voi's remaining announcements (which raised $85 million in Series B funding in November) are as follows:
In cities where we remain open, we will reduce fleet size significantly, but will continue to serve the community, and where possible, we will maintain capacity at key hubs, such as major transport interchanges and hospitals.
We had to make this difficult decision because of the COVID-19 pandemic.People work at home and don't go to restaurants, bars, theatres and friends, so they have stopped using the Voi scooters to get around.
We plan to start operations again when conditions permit.