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Unveiling the story behind Tier’s latest acquisition: nextbike

Berlin-based micromobility players Tier Mobility acquired one of Europe’s top bikeshare players, nextbike
Tier
Image credits: Tier Mobility

The micromobility space is undoubtedly one of the most competitive segments in Europe. Tier, Dott, Lime, Bolt, Voi. and many other companies are vying for a chunk of this market. Just recently, one of the biggest Berlin-based micromobility players Tier Mobility acquired one of Europe’s top bikeshare players, nextbike. In an exclusive interview with TFN, Tier’s VP & Regional GM DACH & CEE, Philip Reinckens, reveals more about the company, some less known details of the acquisition, their future plans and more.

Beginning of a multi-modal platform

Tier acquired 100% shares of the Leipzig-based nextbike with the intention of creating a true ‘multi-modal platform.’ The company’s vision takes nextbike’s offerings into account to expand its own portfolio, which, post-acquisition, consists of bicycles, e-bikes, cargo bikes, e-scooters and e-mopeds in free-floating, station-based and hybrid sharing systems. Tier now claims to be the leading micro-mobility provider in the world across multiple two-wheeled modes.

Talking more about the acquisition, Reinckens reveals, “We knew that nextbike’s reputation and strong, long-lasting city relationships would help TIER to become the preferred partner of cities and provide the most sustainable mobility solution to the widest range of people. The acquisition will help us become the industry’s first truly multi-modal platform by combining nextbike’s station-based bikes with our dockless e-scooters, bikes, and mopeds.”

However, this acquisition came with its own set of challenges. The biggest one was understanding a complex business, given the extensive relationships with numerous cities across Europe. 

Taking on US-based competitors

Tier competes not only with European micromobility providers, but also US-based rivals and this acquisition is expected to help the company gain an edge over them. “Nextbike’s wealth of experience and strong track record of winning tenders with cities in Europe will help us significantly improve relationships with city administrations, enabling us to pursue joint multi-modal tenders,” Reinckens notes. 

Since Tier can now offer a more prolific portfolio of vehicles and can leverage nextbike and its joint knowledge of European cities, it believes to be in a unique positioning as compared to its rivals. Furthermore, the acquisition of nextbike adds a fleet of around 80,000 bikes, e-bikes and cargo bikes in 300 cities across 28 countries. The combined offering of both companies is said to create Europe’s largest and most diverse micro-mobility provider with over 250,000 vehicles that will be offered in over 400 cities.

Preserving nextbike and more

Tier tells us that the nextbike brand holds great value for its customers and the cities it operates in. Keeping this in mind, the companies have decided not to merge the two brands. “The acquisition creates exciting new avenues for innovation, combining nextbike’s proprietary bike system, which has been developed over 15 years, with our micro-mobility technology,” says Reinckens. 

The integration strategy post merger, however, will be jointly decided by the leadership team. Tier currently is not planning on changing any of its product portfolios, though they tell us the range may be reviewed in the future. 

Details of this acquisition such as the purchase price and other financial details haven’t been disclosed. However, Tier will acquire nextbike’s shares from previous majority shareholder Co-Investor Partners and all other shareholders in an all-cash transaction. It is also worth noting that TIER has raised a total of $660 million in equity and debt capital so far, at a valuation of $2 billion.

A bumpy 2020, yet a hopeful 2021

Almost every business was impacted by the pandemic in one way or another. For Tier, 2020 was a bumpy road but they bounced back in 2021. Some key achievements by Tier include being selected as one of the three operators for the London trials wherein its e-scooters were rolled out across the city and later introduced its e-bikes. “We also launched in Ireland after it was selected to be part of the country’s first e-scooter trial across the five campuses of Dublin City University (DCU),” Reinckens adds. 

Back in May this year, Tier launched in its 100th City and just six months later, it’s now active in a total of 160 cities across Europe and the Middle East. In October, the company raised a notable $200m Series D funding round, which will be used primarily to “Change Mobility for Good.”

“Looking forward to next year, we’re planning to continue this growth by expanding the roll-out of  our operations to new markets which will help us further our mission to change mobility for good,” Reinckens concludes.

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