According to a recent report by Arthur D. Little (read here), mobility has always evolved under the pressure of industrial developments. The first industrial revolution allowed the creation of the railway industry; the second industrial revolution gave the birth to the automobile industry; the third industrial (call it digital?) revolution brought to us a series of applications to always improve travelling. But evolutions keep on and the document also envisions what is currently happening:
Today we are entering what could be called a fourth industrial revolution, represented by industry and technology convergence, leading to the emergence of for example clean energy vehicles or connected mobility solutionsSpeaking about public transports, the emergence and convergence of mobile and sensors and the possibility to utilize a large amount of data are opening the way to an infinite range of applications to improve the delivery of services and make them smart. Useless to say, startups are trying to exploit the big opportuinities given by "the fourth industrial revolution" to build electric vehicles, car sharing apps, traffic and environment management platforms, and better services for disadvantaged people. In the different fields, some of them have recently received venture capital support. Let's have a look at (what we consider) meaningful examples. Citymapper, a provider of a London, UK-based transport app, raised $10m in funding from Balderton Capital, Connect Ventures, Index Ventures and Greylock Partners. Led by CEO and Founder Azmat Yusuf, it offers real time information and the fastest routes for public transportation in a city, including buses, underground, taxis, trains, trams, bikes, and ferries. With an attention to environment, Spanish Scutum recently raised €2m from Caixa Capital Risc, Repsol, and the Centre for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI). The company has developed patented technology motorbikes with a removable battery system, which have been used by municipality, delivery, courier fleets and police officials. San Francisco, CA-based Sidecar is a ride-sharing startup, which raised $15m from Avalon Ventures, Union Square Ventures and Sir Richard Branson. Co-founded by CEO Sunil Paul and Jahan Khanna CTO, the company provides an app that connects drivers with people nearby for rides. Its recently launched Shared Rides matches people with a nearby rider heading the same direction to cut the cost in half. Founded and designed by former Toyota and Nissan automobile industry experts and engineers, WHILL is advancing a mobility device for consumers with all types of disability to move with no obstacles. It features proprietary core technology enabling advanced motion and complete terrain coverage and an iOS application to customize the device and allow to have control and adjust it to the user's personal preference. The company recently closed an $11m Series A funding round with Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, 500 Startups, Sun Microsystems Co-founder and former CEO Scott McNealy, and NTT Docomo Ventures. In terms of urban safety, it is very interesting the solution offered by Blaze, a London, UK-based cycling brand, which raised $500k in seed funding in February 2014 from Index Ventures and the Branson family. The startup has pioneered the Laserlight, a front bike led light with a laser projection which tackles the primary cause of cycling accidents – cars and buses hitting an unseen bicycle. In the field of parking, recently funded startups include: - Streetline, which provides a smart data and advanced analytics platform featuring sound level and road surface temperature sensing capabilities to allow cities to solve parking issues worldwide; and - Luxe Valet, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of a valet parking service and app which allow users to demand valets and have thier cars parked in lots.