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Russia’s ‘Airbnb of e-scooters,’ Urent drives $27.8M funding to double down fleet in 2022

Individual mobility services are rapidly growing in popularity in Russia. It is estimated that by 2024 the market for short-term micromobility will grow more than 3x and reach nearly 40 billion rubles (nearly $500 million). Increasing this growth, e-scooters are likely to occupy a key niche in last-mile transportation, which is the intersection of a range of emerging technologies, including fintech, IoT, big data, and video analytics.

Urent intends to help provide environmentally-friendly electric transportation as an option for millions of Russians.

Moscow-based Urent is Russia’s largest electric scooter rental operator. The company claims that it is changing urban transportation in Russia with the most popular micromobility service.

$27.8M funding

Now, the Russian micromobility service Urent has nabbed $27.8 million in a Series B funding round. The investment round was led by Mobile TeleSystems Public Joint Stock Company, Russia’s largest mobile operator and a leading provider of media and digital services. Also, VPE Capital and the VEB Ventures fund, operated by VEB.RF, participated in the round.

The co-founder Azarov said that they are planning to get additional debt financing in the near future. Last year, the company raised $16 million.

Urent plans to deploy the fresh funds to expand its fleet, develop rental infrastructure, open service centres, launch B2B products, train personnel, and enhance end-user safety.

MTS Vice President for Strategy Alexander Gorbunov commented, “In the near term, we plan to add e-scooter rental services into the MTS Premium ecosystem subscription and enable our MTS Cashback loyalty program to be used for ride payment. In addition, we are looking at marketing e-scooters under the MTS brand as well as developing a new controller with a video registration service for Urent. For us, acquiring a stake in this attractive asset is an example of how MTS enables commercial partnership via investment, fully in line with the strengthening of Urent’s market position.”

Urent Co-Founder Andrey Azarov commented: “Together with additional debt financing that we plan to raise in the near future, the total invested capital in Urent will exceed 3 billion rubles by the start of the 2022 riding season, which will enable us to make e-scooters more accessible in remote regions across the country.”

VPE Capital Managing Director Artem Komissarov said: “The micro-mobility business model, including kick-sharing, has successfully proven its effectiveness both globally and in Russia. We see significant potential for multifold market growth due to a continued increase in usage scenarios and ride intensity, upcoming urban infrastructure modernisation, as well as future growth in the B2B segment. We are fully confident in the ability of the highly professional team at Urent to occupy a leading position in the kick-sharing market.”

VEB Ventures CEO Oleg Teplov commented: “We are also delighted by Urent’s advanced level of technology. For example, the company is already using 3D printers to produce plastic spare parts on-demand, instead of waiting months for delivery. These factors played a key role in the investment decision-making process.”

Russia’s largest electric scooter rental service

Founded in 2018 by Andrey Azarov and Mikhail Geisherik, Urent operates with the goal to bring accessible micromobility transport to the majority of Russian cities. It wants to improve cities’ public transportation and make urban mobility easy, comfortable and eco-friendly.

As per the company, it accounts for 50% of the market for e-scooter sharing in Russia. Currently, it operates in Russia alone without any global plans to expand its presence. Eyeing to be the first Airbnb of Mobility, Urent has a fleet of 60,000 e-scooters in over 60 cities. Its major competitor in Russia is Whoosh.

Rent electric scooters in 3 minutes

Urent lets users rent a scooter in just three clicks and explore the city at a new speed. The check out of a scooter takes only three minutes. Users need to register on the Urent all by providing their phone number and a card. Now, they have to enter the data and follow the instructions on the screen. The next process is to scan a QR code on the steering wheel of the scooter using the Urent app. Next, users have to click on the “Activate” button, test the scooter, and use it.

More than one user is prohibited from riding the scooter. Also, only adults can rent a scooter and the maximum allowable weight is 100 kg.

Users can check the rental price in the app by clicking on the bike or electric scooter icon on the map. The current fare will be displayed when scanning the QR code in the app, under the transport number.Tariffs in different cities and for different partners may differ.

While renting an electric scooter/bicycle, users will be charged a fixed amount for activating the vehicle from 0 to 50 rudders. The activation cost is indicated in the transport card before the start of the rental. Also, 35 rubles – insurance is automatically connected to the rental. Users can turn this off from the app.

Before the start of the rental, the cost will be blocked on the registered card (up to 500 rubles for scooters, 80 rubles for bicycles). This money will not be debited from the card but only blocked. The cost of the trip will be deducted from the blocked amount at the end of the rental and the balance will be released.

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