unu Completes Financing Round With Double-Digit Million Sum and Heralds Second Phase of Company’s Development

  • unu receives investment of 12 million USD Series B funding to begin the next phase of the company’s development: the launch of a second, networked product generation to address the mobility services market and the expansion of its international business.
  • The round will be led by Ponooc. Existing investors such as Capnamic Ventures, IRIS Capital, Michael Baum and NRW.BANK also participated again.
  • The mobility company, founded in 2013 by Elias Atahi, Pascal Blum and Mathieu Caudal, already has a total of 10,000 electrically powered scooters on the road. Since 2015, unu has been successfully expanding abroad.

 

Berlin, October 30th 2018 – Urban traffic is changing: In large metropolises, alternatives to traditional car traffic are increasingly being sought. In the first quarter of 2018, the European market for electric scooters grew by 51 percent, while sales of conventional scooters fell by 40 percent. The Berlin-based mobility startup contributed significantly to this. Forbes named founders Elias Atahi, Pascal Blum and Mathieu Caudal among the Forbes 30 under 30, the most promising young entrepreneurs. In the meantime, more than 80 employees work at the location in Berlin.

 

New Product to Enter Second Company Phase

Now, unu has raised its Series B financing of 12 million USD. The money is to support the next phase of the company’s evolution. unu is working in different product generations trying to tackle the trends that it believes are shaping the urban mobility in the future: e-mobility, mobility-as-a-service and autonomous driving.
With the first product generation of unu, an electric scooter, electric mobility was successfully made accessible to the masses by putting 10,000 scooters on the road. Now, with the second product generation, networked electric vehicles are to be brought onto the market to offer mobility services such as scooter and p2p sharing – and thus compete with companies already established there.

 

Strong Traction from Mobility Services

To be able to roll out the second product generation on a large scale right from the start, unu has been able to conclude various local partnerships for mobility services. Numerous partnerships for public sharing cases in cities are in preparation that will boost the company’s footprint with multiple thousand sharing scooters in the coming years alone, demonstrating the successful transition from a pure hardware player into a hardware and software business.

 

Internationalization

The new capital will also enable unu to enter further markets. Since 2015, the Berlin-based company has successfully expanded into two of the most important European markets alongside Germany and Austria: France and the Netherlands. The company expects further growth from internationalization in order to solve urban mobility on a global scale.

 

Brand Relaunch

The entry into the company’s next phase is supported by a brand relaunch. The first big step is a new website that not only heralds a brand relaunch, but also communicates the company’s vision and product strategy to the public for the first time.

 

The Investors

The round is led by reputable financier Ponooc. The independent Dutch VC fund has close ties to Pon Holdings B.V. (Pon), one of the largest family businesses in the Netherlands, selling vehicles and bicycles all over the world. Ponooc’s clear focus is on sustainability and the future of mobility, which makes it a suitable partner. Existing investors such as Capnamic Ventures, the French VC fund IRIS Capital, NRW.BANK, Michael Baum and other private investors also reinvested.

 

 Voices

Pascal Blum (Co-Founder and CEO unu)

“We are very pleased to welcome Ponooc as the main investor in this round. The team convinced us immediately because they know their way around the changing mobility market very well. Having made electric mobility accessible to the masses with the first product generation, we now want to network the second generation, so that our vehicles can also be used for Mobility-as-a-Service.”

 

Friso Bensdorp (Director Ponooc)

“We believe e-scooters are an important part of the mobility mix to solve the growing traffic congestion and resulting environmental pollution in urban environments. Ponooc is impressed with the unu team and the accomplishments realized till date and has high expectations of the new connected unu scooter to be launched next year. We look forward to supporting unu in its next growth phase.”

 

Jörg Binnenbrücker (Founding Partner Capnamic)

“unu convinced us early on with their vision and continues to develop their product ever stronger and better. In addition, the company is driven by a great team. E-mobility will continue to revolutionize the future of cities in the next decade and unu is well positioned to benefit from it. Now, we want to take the next step together and help unu achieve even greater success.”

 

About unu

Founded in 2013 by Elias Atahi, Pascal Blum and Mathieu Caudal, unu started out as a manufacturer of electric scooters and is now the market leader in German-speaking countries. Today, the young company is working on various solutions for urban mobility. Their TÜV-certified scooter is affordable, drives silently and can be charged thanks to portable batteries at regular power outlets. The idea was born during the founders’ studies in Beijing, where limited mobility in a large city was particularly noticeable. The young company has been successfully expanding abroad since 2015 and plans to more than double the number of its electric scooters on the roads.

 

Rui Li

Studies / Background
I studied Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology, with a Masters in Strategic Product Design. Few years later I also got my MBA at INSEAD.

Why Ponooc?
Earlier I’ve worked for McKinsey and a fast paced scale-up in the bicycle industry. While I loved both, they both had things I liked that the other didn’t have. At Ponooc I find the best of both worlds: Intellectually challenging and fast paced work in an environment where both ventures and people grow.

Most important Ponooc principle
We are in this together

Skiing or snowboarding?
Proud self taught skier (lots of speed but no elegance whatsoever)

Hobbies or interests?
I am a fanatic DJ and used to perform for large crowds. Absolutely loved it, but it wasn’t sustainable to be a night owl too often. Another thing I like to do is to fully dedicate myself to a (sportive) challenge without any prior experience in it, like doing a full Iron Man triathlon. But it doesn’t always need to be extreme. I really enjoy cooking as well, and having a nice beer(s)/wine(s) with friends.

I live together with?
My girlfriend Sophia, my daughter Maya, and our oversized cats Stekker and Binkie

I learn by
Reading, doing, and a lot of reverse engineering. Not necessarily in this order.

My worst habit is
I laugh about my own jokes..

Steven Uitentuis

Studies / Background
I have my Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering at the TUDelft, with an exchange program of business adaministration at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I completed my Master at Mechnical Engineering faculty in Production Engineering & Logistics.

Why Ponooc?
Why not?

Most important Ponooc principle
We are dedicated and follow through.
Starting is easy. Completing is difficult. I believe that you have to be fully dedicated to be successful.

First job
Restocking in a supermarket since I was 12 years old. But shout out to selling Ice cream on a boat on the lakes, which was the best paid activity ever.

Skiing or snowboarding?
In case of fresh powpow: snowboarding, but on slope: Skiing

Hobbies or interests?
I’m a big fan of croissants with butter & Hagelslag but I’m passionate about road cycling and like to run for a couple of miles.

My favorite book is
How to win friends and influence people written by Dale Carnegie. I learned more from this book than 4 years of high school.

I live together with?
My wife Wieke and our new roommate: our daughter Lara.

I learn by
Doing. Failing. Doing it again.

If I could put one message on a billboard for millions of people to see, it would be
Everyone has a hidden talent they don’t know, until Tequila.

Friso Bensdorp

Studies / Background
I studied Business Law at Groningen University and Msc Business Administration at Nyenrode University.

Why Ponooc?
I love working in venture capital. Working with passionate entrepreneurs.

Most important Ponooc principle
We are in this together.

First job
Picking flower bulbs in the summer vacation to earn my Technics stereo, which led to the start of a DJ business with a highschool friend. We soon learned that only playing Madonna and Michael Jackson songs is not going to make you successful in that business.

Skiing or snowboarding?
Hiking. But skiing is not too shabby either..

Hobbies or interests?
Reading non-fiction. Playing golf and tennis. Watching / following all sports with the exception of swimming, netball and And playing the occasional game of chess, with a good glass of wine.

My favorite book is
The art of the good life, by Rolf Dobelli. I usually do not read self-help books. But this little book is well written and full of wisdom. I regularly re-read this book to help me deal with my many shortcomings so that one day, in the distant future, I can say, like a famous Dutch soccer play once said: “before I make a mistake, I don’t make it”.

I live together with?
My wife Carolien and our three children Boele, Kate and Noep. And let’s not forget our labradoodle dog Toffee.

If I could put one message on a billboard for millions of people to see, it would be
"Life is too short to drink bad wine"

Max van Zoest

Studies / Background
I hold a bachelor’s in Econometrics from Maastricht university with an exchange at NTU Singapore and a master’s in computer science from TU Delft during which I studied philosophy and entrepreneurship at Melbourne University for one semester.
Before joining Ponooc, I worked at Google’s Cloud division in Dublin and interned at Mainport Innovation Fund.

Why Ponooc?
Because I strongly believe that great companies and sustainable companies are not mutually exclusive concepts. Working with amazing founders that share this conviction and helping them build companies that lead the sustainable economy of the future challenges and excites me.

Most important Ponooc principle
“We challenge our opinions” - at Ponooc we have strong ideas about how things will work out, but we are not afraid to put these ideas to the test and be proved wrong. I like to believe that this is how I approach life in general.

I learn by
Reading, trial, and error

First job
Painting wooden shoes (klompen) in a traditional wooden shoe factory (yes I’m Dutch).

Skiing or snowboarding?
Snowboarding and surfing when the slopes are green

My favorite book is
‘On the shortness of life’ by Seneca, which reminds me that the most valuable asset is time.

My worst habit is
Impatience

Maurits Koning

Studies / Background
I’ve got a bachelor in Philosophy and a master in Finance. For some an unusual combination, for me less so. In fact, the longer I thought about it, almost all disciplines find their origin in philosophy. Especially ethics, philosophy of science and political philosophy have my utmost interest. And yes, I do use the concepts of these fields in my work everyday.

Why Ponooc?
Although mobility is as old as people, it’s fascinating to see how so many bright people are continuously innovating the way we transport (ourselves). Being able to contribute to these great ideas and turning them - together with our teams - into real value is what keeps me going every single day!

Most important Ponooc principle
“We’re dedicated and follow through”. We support - in good and bad times - the teams we invest in. We do not give up easily, but don’t walk away from difficult discussions either. In negation lies the basis for the better answer.

First job
Driving a ride-on mower. Will be probably my last one as well!

Skiing or snowboarding?
I like technique, speed, elegance and people that don’t ruin slopes. You can do the math yourself.

Hobbies or interests?
Participate actively and passively (i.e. watch) sports! From the Masters to paris-Roubaix and from FC Groningen to Max Verstappen.

I live together with? 
My beautiful wife Renee and fatboy-cat Abu & real-cat Zaza

My worst habit is
Swearing. Hands down.