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This startup is developing secure locker pods for storing and charging electric scooters

Charging pod
Image credits: Honeycomb Networks

Micro mobility is the future of small distance intra-city travels. Instead of taking out your car or getting on public transport for covering small distances, one can instead use an e-bike or e-scooter and quickly move within the city or cover last-mile connectivity. However, we’ve already witnessed security, charging and other issues, which hinder the rapid adoption of such solutions. London-based startup Honeycomb Network is gearing up to tackle these two key issues, along with numerous others.

The Imperial College London spinout startup offers secure storage for e-scooters and e-bikes. It integrates smart charging with it to solve big-city mobility challenges and also reduce the e-waste generated. It has now raised £127,000 pre-seed funding from the UK-based seed investor SFC Capital. 

Full speed ahead

The funding will be utilised primarily to support the development of prototypes of the company’s storage and charging pods and the rollout of a pilot scheme.

In an exclusive interview, Gabriel Yoong, Honeycomb Network co-founder and CEO tells TFN, “We are thrilled to have closed our pre-seed round with SFC Capital and to be working with them to achieve the Honeycomb Network vision. We’ve now got the capital to complete our initial R&D and set up a follow-on pilot project to prove the technology and verify the business model before we raise again before commercialisation next year.”

Adam Beveridge, Investment Associate at SFC Capital, comments, “ Honeycomb Network represented a timely investment opportunity for SFC Capital to get ahead in the booming micromobility market. This investment will play a pivotal role in the next big milestones for the company; enabling the final development of their first fully working prototype locker and increasing capacity to engage with multinational supermarkets, retail parks and local councils to discuss the future installation of the units citywide. We are very much looking forward to seeing them grow and supporting their journey.”

Honeycomb Network’s pod solution

Honeycomb Network aims to build high-quality storage pods that can help store and charge micromobility vehicles such as e-bikes and e-scooters. These pods will also feature intelligent charging units that, alongside secure storage, are touted to extend the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries. This could reduce electronic waste by allowing for fine-tuned remote control of the charging cycle.

The company will offer flexible configuration for its charging pods to suit the environment where they are placed, which is expected to make them easy for businesses and local authorities to integrate into any space. There’s also an app that works in tandem with the pods, which shows users pod cluster locations and capacity. It will also enable them to view and control charging speed and lock and unlock the pod. 

Yoong tells us, “The largest problems around e-bikes and e-scooters are engineering-related, and that’s exactly what Honeycomb Network is built around. For starters, there is the charger problem. Unlike, for example, phones, most e-scooters and e-bikes have different charging points. Our technology includes universal charging points that can be used by all e-scooters and e-bikes, regardless of the brand. The Honeycomb Network pods include cables, so that users don’t have to carry them around.“

Furthermore, another problem that the company’s pods solve is safe storage in key locations such as offices, gyms, supermarkets, malls, and others. “We also aim to solve this problem by creating pods that can be assembled to fit the space available. It’s like a pod-tetris, if you like!,” Yoong adds. 

Privately owning an e-scooter or a micro-mobility vehicle is currently a hassle in the UK. Lacking storage and charging infrastructure could become a big issue as more people buy them. Honeycomb Network wants to solve this problem before it even exists with its storage and charging pods. 

The spark for an idea

The startup’s idea sparked out of an entrepreneurship module that Yoong took with his co-founders during their last year at the Imperial College. 

“One of my co-founders, Cameron, is a micro-mobility enthusiast who travelled everywhere on his e-scooters. However, he faced issues due to lacking storage and charging infrastructure for e-scooters. At the gym or the supermarket, there were no secure storage spaces where he could leave his e-scooter. As time went on, degrading battery life also worried him with an always lingering fear of running out of power. That’s how we got the concept for the Honeycomb Network project,” Yoong reveals. 

Honeycomb’s founders apparently didn’t set out to become entrepreneurs as it was supposed to be a project for their Entrepreneurship class. However, things changed after they did some market research and spoke with developers, office owners and directors at big consultancies such as EY. They found that there’s a big demand for storage and charging spots for e-vehicles, especially ebikes. “Seeing the traction and interest our research generated, we all decided to pause our post-graduation plans for now and create Honeycomb Network,” Yoong adds. 

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