Electric scooter maker raises $403m for growth

A Gogoro charging station in Taipei. Temasek and other investors have injected funds for the start-up's growth and research and development.
A Gogoro charging station in Taipei. Temasek and other investors have injected funds for the start-up's growth and research and development.PHOTO: REUTERS

Gogoro, an electric scooter maker backed by Panasonic, raised US$300 million (S$403 million) from investment firm Temasek Holdings and other investors to pay for expansion and research and development.

Generation Investment Management, co-founded by former US vice-president Al Gore, Japan's Sumitomo and French utility Engie, also invested.

The new funding brings the Taiwan-based start-up's valuation to about US$800 million, including the new cash injection, according to a person familiar with the matter. That is double the level when it last raised in 2015, the person said.

Founded in 2011 by former HTC executives Horace Luke and Matt Taylor, Gogoro plans to use the investment to expand into more cities. The firm started selling its scooters in Taiwan in 2015, and has sold over 30,000 scooters and built more than 400 stations for riders to swop used batteries for charged ones.

"Temasek is well-connected in South-east Asia and it's a key market for us," said Mr Luke, chief executive officer at Gogoro. "South-east Asia has a very strong resemblance to that of Taiwan. We've done well in Taiwan, but it's still a very limited market."

Last year, Gogoro rolled out a scooter-sharing programme with Robert Bosch in Berlin. Users in the city can use a smartphone app to locate, book and pay to use the scooter. Riders can drop the scooter off at their destination rather than at a central docking station.

Earlier this year, Gogoro launched this sharing service in Paris.

Gogoro's growth comes as bike- sharing start-ups have proliferated in China, with promises to reduce traffic and improve the environment. Chinese start-ups Beijing Mobike Technology and Ofo let users scan a QR code to unlock bikes then drop them off anywhere.

The Chinese venture market has poured money into the space, allowing the start-ups to push down prices and flood the streets with bikes. Temasek invested in Mobike earlier this year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2017, with the headline 'Electric scooter maker raises $403m for growth'. Print Edition | Subscribe