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Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers

We know you love planes. Because the paper-plane folding instructions we shared last month received hundreds of clicks. 

Today, we have another aircraft highlight for you: one of the first airplanes propelled without any moving parts (e.g. turbines). 

But as always, get your bi-weekly dose of data on Travel & Mobility Tech first.

Lennart Dobravsky
Trend & Market Research Analyst 
Trend Radar

Quantifying the Flix-Buzz

Between January and August 2018, nearly 900,000 visitors to FlixBus' website also visited the Eurowings website within a 24-hour time window.

Additionally, around 4 million FlixBus visitors landed on carpooling platform BlaBlaCar in the same time frame.

It seems that our view on the competitive landscape in mobility must be re-evaluated, particularly across transportation modes in the air and on the ground.

Using web traffic data, we dove right into the dynamics of intercity travel in Germany and assessed the rise of digital mobility platforms FlixBus and BlaBlaCar in their face-off with incumbent travel providers such as Deutsche Bahn.

 Read our full analysis

Startup Radar

The Electric Scooter Wave Reaches Europe

It’s really challenging to keep up with all the e-scooter frenzy these days.
It starts with confusion about the word “scooter”. To most Europeans, a scooter is a small urban motorbike. Americans call that a moped or Vespa and reserve the word scooter for what, until recently, was a child’s toy that you stand on and propel with your foot.

This child’s toy became a toy for grown-ups when two American startups, Bird and Lime, kicked off a new mobility trend by dropping electric scooters on city streets without permission more than a year ago.
Since then, a lot has happened.

Bird has grown to over 100 cities, facilitated over 10 million rides, and raised cash at an unprecedented pace. It recently became the fastest startup ever to achieve a $1 billion company valuation. Lime’s growth path is of similar speed. It seems that investors just can't get enough of these promising "last mile" mobility providers, as we outlined in a previous newsletter edition.
Most recently, copycats all over the world have emerged, trying to bring e-scooters to Asia, South America and Europe.

To shed some light on all these newcomers, we sat down and ranked the major e-scooter startups from around the globe by their total VC investment received so far. Two German ventures also made the list as the infographic shows:
Web Radar

An Aviation Milestone Caught On Tape

Nearly 115 years ago, the Wright brothers made history by launching the first man-made flight. Ever since that first flight, most aircraft have relied on moving parts such as propellers or turbines to power them through the air.

This might change in the future.

Engineers at MIT have successfully flown the first "solid state" airplane that has no moving parts and does not rely on fossil fuels to fly.

Watch this breathtaking moment in the video below and read all about the technological complexities via this World Economic Forum article.

Patent Radar

Drones Prepare For Take-Off

In previous newsletter editions, we have repeatedly looked into the air-taxi hype via several angles:

Another perspective to look at the air-taxi sector is to analyze which technological advancements occur in a closely related field: drone technology.
We looked at all drone patents filed in the past five years to get a glimpse into the research and innovation activities of the leading corporations around the world. What did we find out?

1) Research in drone technology has accelerated in recent years 

2) The corporations with most drone patents come from various different industries 

We see several of the big tech giants among the most active drone patent filers (IBM, Sony, Intel) as well as major telco providers (AT&T, Ericsson), two of the world’s leading retailers (Wal-Mart, Amazon) and last but not least two transportation companies (Ford, Boeing).

What does this tell us?
First and foremost, that drones seem to offer various application fields that are highly relevant to a lot of companies from a wide range of verticals.

The most relevant use cases in the near-term future seem to be found in the area of package delivery, plant protection in agriculture and, unfortunately, military applications as our categorization of all these drone patents indicates:

Press Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS MISINTERPRET DIGITAL COMPANIES – Recent research lets us make a bold claim: current accounting practices are practically irrelevant for digital companies. Neither the balance sheet nor the income statement properly capture the (intangible) value created by digital companies (i.e. software, data, network effects, etc).
 Read more in Harvard Business Review 
LESSONS FROM CORPORATE VENTURE CAPITAL – Seven corporate venture capital pioneers (including two Travel & Mobility Tech corporations) outline how to harness value from investments in startups. The insights range from case studies, ways of measuring strategic value, to uncovering and boosting disruptive technologies. 
 Read more on Medium
THE VOICE OF TRAVEL – Thanks to the recent proliferation of voice-activated virtual assistant software – think of Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri or Google Assistant – voice technology is quickly entering the mainstream, promising consumers an easier and faster way to search for information, find inspiration and book travel. 
 Read more in Travel Weekly
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

 = Unicorn Alert (post-deal company valuation at >$1B)
= Exit Alert (Startup listed at stock exchange or acquired)

OYO Rooms – the India-based operator of budget hotels and platform for hotel bookings raised $100M in strategic funding from Grab, the Singaporean ride-hailing platform.

Plusgrade – a Montreal-based developer of a SaaS-based travel revenue optimization software raised $150M in funding from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CPDQ).
Snaptravel – a Toronto-based operator of an online hotel booking platform raised $21.20M in funding from inovia Capital, Telstra Ventures, Lightbank, Bee Partners, and further investors.
Drivezy – a Bangalore-based developer of an online car and bike sharing platform raised $20M in funding from Das Capital, Yamaha Motor Company, Axan Partners, and IT-Farm.
BidRoom – an Amsterdam-based developer of an online booking platform raised $17.48M in funding from Samih Sawiris and further undisclosed investors.
 Holidayme – a Dubai-based developer of an online travel booking platform merged with Malaysian OTA Tripfez after raising $16M in funding in late November this year.
GlobalTix – a Singapore-based e-ticket distribution platform raised $11.20M in funding from Tin Men Capital and Mount Sinai Capital.
Wickedride – a Bangalore-based developer of a bike renting platform raised $10M in funding from Accel, Sequoia Capital India, and Omidyar Network. 
Zizoo – a Berlin-based provider of a boat rental platform raised $7.4M in funding from Revo Capital, Mairdumont Ventures, Axel Springer Digital Ventures, CHECK24 Ventures, and further investors.
Homerez – a Paris-based developer of a holiday rental booking platform raised $6.99M in funding from Seventure Partners, Entrepreneur Venture, Xange Private Equity, and further investors.
Fineway – a Munich-based provider of smart travel concierge technology to provide tailored travel experiences raised $6.80M in additional funding from undisclosed investors.
UnoDosTres – a Mexico City-based provider of an online platform for mobile top-ups, TAG recharges and tickets raised $6.50M in funding from Dalus Capital, Banco de Sabadell, IGNIA, and InnoCells.
Phiar – a Palo-Alto-based developer of an augmented reality navigation app raised $2.50M in funding from Norwest Venture Partners, The Venture Reality Fund, Zeno Ventures, GFR Fund, and further investors.
The Guild – an Austin-based provider of a residential flats booking platform for tourists raised $2M in funding from undisclosed investors.
HipExplore – an American provider of a community platform to book holiday properties raised $1.20M in funding from undisclosed investors.

WeTrip – a Tel Aviv-based developer of a holiday booking platform raised $1M in funding from InMotion Ventures (Jaguar Land Rover's venture capital fund).
Guiddoo – a Mumbai-based provider of a tour guiding application raised $800K in funding from private investors.
RewardStock – an American developer of an online transmodal travel reward platform raised $620K in funding from undisclosed investors.
 Bd4travel – a German provider of an online travel management platform was acquired by Dnata, an air services provider part of the Emirates Group, for an undisclosed amount.
Chargery – a Berlin-based provider of charging services for electric vehicles raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Sixt Rent a Car.
LokaLocal – a Malaysian experience-based trip booking platform raised an undisclosed amount in funding from BonAngels Venture Partners and further investors.

Swvl – a Cairo-based developer of an app-based mass transit system raised an undisclosed amount in funding from BECO Capital, DiGAME, Silicon Badia, Oman Technology Fund, and further investors.

Fairfleet – a Munich-based provider of a drone community and platform raised an undisclosed amount in funding from 3E Capital Group and a private investor.

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