The Portland, Ore.-based company has announced new funding to market and expand its SaaS that gives cities in-depth data on micromobility operators on their streets via partnerships with many startups.
Ride Report, a Portland, Ore.-based SaaS company that shares micromobility data with cities, has announced a $3.4 million haul in seed funding that will go toward aggressively marketing the platform as e-bikes and e-scooters become more popular.
According to a news release last month, the lead investor was Homebrew, which invests in about half a dozen companies a year that are applying technology to solve problems, with Urban Innovation and Better Ventures also participating.
Ride Report CEO William Henderson described the product as “a software dashboard that lets (cities) manage and make sense of the bikes and scooters that are using their streets,” offering customized reporting on the number and location of micromobility vehicles, the number and location of trips, how long they’re sitting idle and other information. He mentioned three potential use cases: cities that need data before they get new bikes or scooters on the ground, cities that already have operators and want to check outcomes and performance data, and cities that want a longer-range view to plan infrastructure changes and make future implementations of new vehicles more successful.
The data comes from partnerships with the micromobility companies themselves, including Skip, Bird, Lime, Bolt, Jump, Blue Duck, Gotcha and Ojo. Henderson said Ride Report tends to change a city’s relationship to these companies from one of oversight to one of collaboration.
“Cities are excited about scooters, but they’re also concerned about the possible problems you could have around safety, accessibility, [and] the infrastructure not being there, so every city is different in terms of how they’re managing for that,” he said. “All the data is coming from the LADOT MDS [Mobility Data Specification] standard. That’s rapidly become the gold standard for data-sharing in this space, and we like it because if the city uses a standard, they’re much more likely to get high-quality data, and we’ve built tools around that standard to audit and make sure they’re actually getting data that faithfully implements the LADOT specification.”
Henderson said the new funding came from a priced round, with no specific window. He said his Ride Report team started talking to investors late last summer when they saw micromobility options “blowing up,” then closed the funding round in November. While their product had already started to gain traction and operates in more than 30 cities around the world, Henderson said they need to get it into more hands. He said the company only just announced the new funding in May because it has been preparing for an “explosion” of micromobility this spring.
“We wanted to go out there with a set of tools that are completely free and make sure that every single city that’s doing micromobility has access to those free tools. We think that, longer term, as they see the value of those tools, it’s going to be natural that they’re going to want to buy a higher-end version of the product,” he said. “The things that get figured out in the next year or two are really going to set the tone for how this industry will be regulated going forward, and potentially even set the tone for how adjacent industries, like autonomous vehicles and package deliveries, are going to be regulated.”
Henderson noted that several companies have entered the micromobility-data market in the past six months. Remix in particular has had success building transit software for transit planners, he said, and more recently created a street-planning tool that speaks to some of the same customers as Ride Report.
Henderson said the unique opportunity of this market is its focus on an outcome of great mutual interest to both city governments and private companies — the success of micromobility as an alternative to cars, which are clogging roads and emitting CO2. He also mentioned the possibility that advances in automated driving could succeed in bikes and scooters before cars.
“I wanted to see some progress around cities moving away from auto-dominated models, and when I saw what was happening in China around bike share, I said, ‘There are problems with that, but that has got be one of the most explosive mode shifts I’ve ever seen,’” he said. “And if we had something like that, maybe we could start to make progress on some of these intractable problems like congestion and climate change.”