BikeSouth Korea-based micromobility operator Gcooter acquires shared micromobility platform from Hyundai Motor ZET because it wants to increase its market share and create technological synergies through ZET’s fleet management system.
Gbike CEO Walter Yoon told TechCrunch that the deal, which is its first acquisition, will close in early August. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
South Korea’s consolidations appear to be starting in the shared micromobility industry after many electric scooter players entered the sector in 2019, Yoon said in an interview with TechCrunch. Gbike was approached by potential buyers for acquisition as the startup was looking for acquisition targets itself, Yoon said, adding that it was in talks with another company to acquire.
“This year could be the time for consolidation [in the e-scooter industry]“, Yoon said. “We are very open to any other opportunity.”
The ZET team will not join the Gbike team and will stay with Hyundai, Yoon noted. The acquisition brings the startup’s total vehicle size to around 45,000. (Gbike, which added a fleet of 20,000 e-scooters last year, will acquire ZET’s fleet of less than 1,000 e-scooters .)
In 2019, Hyundai launched the ZET platform that allows anyone to start a micromobility business in their city. ZET operates its service in major cities in South Korea, including Jeju, Daegu, and Incheon. Yoon explained that ZET is like a micromobility franchise platform, which makes it easier for franchisees to launch their own business.
Yoon pointed out that many e-scooter companies have been suspended or shut down in the past year due to South Korea’s revised regulations, which came into effect in May 2021, requiring e-scooter users to wear helmets, have a valid driver’s license and be 16 years of age or older. .
More than 20 electric scooter rental startups operate more than 50,000 electric scooters in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Several electric scooter companies, such as Lime, Wind Mobility, Neuron and local companies have closed their operations in South Korea in recent months. Regulatory gaps in the country, such as the lack of a Request for Proposals (RFP) system, which selects a few exceptional operators in each city to provide the best possible micromobility services, have caused user compliance issues such as the parking and congestion.
Gbike has raised a total of $10 million from investors including Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Strong Ventures and SBI Investment.