Ex-Uber executive scores $8.8m funding to bring e-scooters to Singapore

E-scooters are already becoming a popular - if occasionally divisive - mode of transport among food delivery people and city commuters in Singapore.
E-scooters are already becoming a popular - if occasionally divisive - mode of transport among food delivery people and city commuters in Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Singapore's pavements are about to get a lot more crowded.

Beam, founded by the former Asian chief of Chinese bike-sharing giant Ofo, has raised US$6.4 million (S$8.8 million) from investors, including Sequoia India, to deploy its electric scooters around the island nation.

Beam has just closed a seed funding round led by Sequoia India, Founders Fund, ZhenFund and Class 5 Global, the firm said in a statement. Its other backers include Arbor, Insignia, 500 Startups, Gobi and K2 Global.

The financing will help bankroll a fleet of e-scooters manufactured by Segway Ninebot, backed by smartphone maker Xiaomi.

Beam, whose founder also headed Uber Technologies in Indonesia, is trying to replicate the success of Bird Rides Inc and Lime in Asia.

While those American start-ups have scaled quickly after raising massive amounts of money, they have yet to arrive in the region. In perennially muggy Singapore, however, e-scooters are already becoming a popular - if occasionally divisive - mode of transport among food delivery people and city commuters.

"We want to change the fundamental way that people move around Asian cities," chief executive officer Alan Jiang said in the statement. He previously led Ofo's Asia-Pacific operations and served as Uber's country manager in Indonesia.

 
 

Beam plans to roll out its service in the coming weeks before eventually taking the platform to Malaysia, Australia and South Korea.

Consumers will use the service by locating and unlocking a scooter using their phones. They'll pay $1 to start with, then 15 cents a minute, with no deposit required. Similar to the American e-scooter firms, Beam plans to provide financial incentives to people who can locate, charge and redistribute the scooters.

Beam said its other backers include Pascal Capital, Maloekoe Ventures and Cherubic Ventures.