Like most markets, the first half of 2020 proved a bumpy ride for the micromobility sector. But through resiliency and collaboration, many industry players closed out the year fielding more demand than ever for sustainable and sharable vehicle systems. Across hardware and software, working together will pave the road for a successful 2021. In this podcast, Tony Ho, VP of Global Business Development for Segway, and Vince Cifani, CEO and Founder of micromobility SaaS platform Joyride, speak about the impact COVID-19 had on the industry, and how their companies’ collaborative efforts will ultimately improve micromoiblity for end-users.
In the US, the pandemic found its roots in March of 2020, but Ho says Segway felt the concerns right from the start of the year due to China’s supply chain relationships. “We were very worried about a supply shock,” Ho says. “That turned into a demand shock instead.” The supply chain eventually returned to normal levels, but Ho notes that lockdowns in various areas affected people’s ability to go places, making micromobility transportation options attractive alternatives to public transit. “On the second half of 2020, we saw a lot of crazy demand for our scooters and other form factors as well.”
Cifani recognizes the challenges brought on by the pandemic but says the most significant industry obstacles for scooter-sharing operators actually existed pre-pandemic: Affordable insurance for fleets, vehicle selection and fulfillment, and how to maintain and operate their fleets properly. “Through collaboration with industry leaders like Segway, we’re resolving these challenges for businesses that operate on our software platform,” Cifani says.
Ho and Cifani believe 2021 will be an important year for collaboration in the micromobility industry, both from a technology level and an intercompany. Ho says companies within the industry are more specialized now and that requires collaboration between other specialized companies. “People see the need to focus, but at the same time, they see the need to efficiently work together,” Ho says.