Caught around the Govec (German scooter brand) demonstration, Italian journalists are devising around a detail. "The tires are thicker than those of Ecooltra, this scooter will be more convenient to cross the voices of the tramway"they observe in substance. It is a curious, but symbolic first victory that Cityscoot has already won for the inauguration of its service in Milan, a city known for its network of trams that crosses the city.
For the French startup founded by Bertrand Fleurose, the establishment in the country's economic capital, where four self-service scooter operators are already operating (including three in 100% electric), is a new step in its development strategy since is his first overseas deployment.
Already the first operator in Milan
With 500 scooters, then very soon a thousand, Cityscoot should be the biggest operator in Milan, including ahead of the Spanish Ecooltra. Bertrand Fleurose, founder and CEO of Cityscoot, believes that Milan has a market potential as big as Paris where it completes the deployment of a fleet of 4,000 scooters by integrating several cities of the suburbs. In other words, the Italian metropolis could allow it to double in size eventually!
But other locations are coming, as it has already announced its launch in Rome in early summer, in line with its internationalization strategy disclosed last spring at the fundraising of 40 million euros.
In France, Cityscoot was established in Nice last summer. "The startup is rather shy, but we are in our trajectory, we will draw a more relevant balance sheet at the end of the summer", he said. Meanwhile, Cityscoot continues to expand its catchment area to go to Nice airport, but with equal fleet (500 scooters). "Our implantation area should have been bigger at the opening"confesses the contractor.
The openings in France frozen until the LOM?
Discussions around the Mobility Orientation Law (LOM), which must review the rules governing the new forms of mobility and the role of local authorities, have frozen discussions to open new cities in France. But Bertrand Fleurose does not lose hope of seeing a new launch in France by the end of the year. It could be Lyon, while discussions have failed with Toulouse.
Bertrand Fleurose does not hide his ambitions, that of becoming European leader in self-service scooter. It targets a dozen metropolises by 2020, and beyond, it hopes to accelerate its pace of implementation. According to him, Cityscoot has sufficient capital to pursue, for the moment, its development without resorting to the market. Pragmatic, it excludes neither IPO nor acquisitions, while claiming that nothing of this is currently in the radars.
A profitable model
According to him, the self-service scooter remains the most profitable model of mobility compared to self-service bicycles completely phagocyted by electric scooters which rest themselves on a still fragile model, and which could make the expenses of a hardening of the regulations. However, Cityscoot did not complete its 2018 exercise in the green in Paris, contrary to what had been announced.
"Despite an operational incident that has hampered our ambitions and prevented us from recording a profitable end of the year, we have recorded a few months in the green, we have learned from it and we estimate that this threshold will be reached in 2019 and this, for the entire year, for our activity in Paris, "said Bertrand Fleurose.
The challenge now is to accelerate international development, but also to consolidate current positions. Cityscoot has decided to open its service 24/7 at the end of the first quarter wherever it operates (so far, the service was suspended between midnight and 7 am), with the hope of increasing the rate of use of scooters, and therefore of profitability.