- Grow Mobility is a dynamic micro-mobility and payments platform. It offers innovative tech-enabled solutions for short-term transportation needs.
- With a fleet of sleek electric scooters and other light electric vehicles, Grow Mobility provides convenient and sustainable mobility options across multiple Latin American markets.
- Additionally, its digital wallet facilitates seamless peer-to-peer payments, making it an all-encompassing platform for urban commuters and underbanked individuals alike.
Picture this: You're standing at the crossroads of a vibrant city in Latin America, the urban symphony echoing in your ears. You desperately want to explore the city, but the idea of walking in this heat is absolutely terrifying. And then, you spot it—a fleet of sleek electric scooters patiently waiting for you. Like a trusty sidekick, ready to take you through the winding alleys and bustling avenues.
Fasten your seatbelts (or should I say helmet straps?), because I'm going to take you through the journey of Grow Mobility, a micro-mobility and payments platform based in Latin America.
Countless electric scooter startups have been introduced in the U.S.A. and several other developed countries. The demand for these everyday services is the same or probably even higher in Latin America. Mobility meeting self-service is exactly what is needed. Although self-service may sound a bit painstaking it also means complete freedom in terms of mobility.
Let's clear out what exactly micro-mobility is first. According to the dictionary, “micro-mobility is transportation using lightweight vehicles such as bicycles or scooters, especially electric ones that may be borrowed as part of a self-service scheme in which people hire vehicles for short-term use within a town or city”. It is the fusion of technology, sustainability, and convenience.
History of Grow Mobility
Grow Mobility, founded by Ariel Lambrecht, Guilherme Freire, and Jonathan Lewy, is a provider of LEV rentals in LATAM (Latin America) markets. They aim to provide tech-enabled micro-mobility solutions in LATAM markets. The company was formed as a result of the merger between 'Grin', an app-based electric kick scooter rental platform, and 'Yellow', an app-based rental platform for light electric vehicles (scooters, e-bikes, etc). In 2019, Grow Mobility also merged with 'Flinto', a P2P payments app for underbanked or non-banked consumers.
As you may have noticed above, Grow mobility’s journey is filled with quite a few mergers, for various purposes. Let’s take a look at these mergers in detail and learn more about these different pieces that helped build it into the company that it is today.
Mergers of Grow Mobility
The journey of Grow starts with Grin. Grin Scooters was a company that provided electric scooters on rentals. Established in 2018 in Mexico by Bryan Zambrano, Jonathan Lewy, Karime German, and Sergio Romo; Grin Scooters had operations in Colombia and Brazil from its merger with the Brazilian electric scooter company, RIDE Mobility.
Grin (merged with Ride), started off by offering users three cities they could operate in, and a method to rent electric scooters as a way to navigate the city. To rent a scooter, users need to access the mobile application available both in Android and iOS. Grin only allowed electric scooter users aged 18 and above.
Each scooter is equipped with a QR code which would unlock the scooter when scanned through the application. When operating the scooters, users must wear helmets and only ride on the streets – not the sidewalks. This is much like MYBYK, a station-based bicycle-sharing and renting service in India.
The company operated its own fleet on a station-based model. It also partnered with stores/enterprises to offer designated parking zones and also paid the stores for storing the vehicles overnight.
A few months after Grin merged its electric scooter business with Ride, it merged with Yellow in January 2019, a bike-share startup based in Brazil that has also expressed its ambitions to get into electric scooters. Yellow was an extremely successful company. It raised $63 million in a funding round led by GGV Capital. That was the largest Series A round for a Latin American startup.
As part of the merger, Grin and Yellow rebranded as Grow Mobility. Initially, however, both apps maintained their apps and brands. Grow Mobility operated more than 135,000 micro-mobility vehicles across six countries and planned to increase its fleet in the future across Latin America.
Later on, Grow Mobility merged with payments startup Flinto, which would help it create a digital wallet. Flinto enabled people to make peer-to-peer payments, add minutes and text messages to their phones, and pay bills and merchants. The startup worked for those with or without bank accounts. If someone doesn’t have a bank account, they could deposit cash at local shops and restaurants.
“It started to make a lot of sense to bring Flinto as part of the team to develop the wallet because, for Latin America, the wallet is not an add-on,” Grin Co-Founder Jonathan Lewy told the news outlet.
“It’s a need if you want to tap into a big market of underbanked or non-banked. The only way to bring them on the platform is through a wallet. For us, the wallet is something that we see as the future of the company.”
Later on in 2020, an investor by the name of Felipe Henriquez acquired a controlling stake in unlisted Latin American scooter firm Grow Mobility. Under the terms of the deal, in which no cash was exchanged, Grow investors would retain about 20% of the company, according to a person with direct knowledge of the transaction.
The pandemic hit right after. Due to the global crisis and the need for sanitation and social distancing, the earnings and operations of micro-mobility products and services skyrocketed. While previously charging users on a per-ride basis, Grow switched gears and tried the approach of tailor-made subscriptions.
They overcame the problem of the need for hygienic transport by introducing new subscriptions which would allow users to rent a particular unit, receive it, and keep it at home, for a month and with unlimited rides during that time period.
Now that we have talked about their remarkable problem-solving approaches, let's get into the statistics. Grow Mobility has raised a total of $150M in funding over 2 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Oct 1, 2020, from a Venture - Series Unknown round.
They have raised a total funding of $150 million. Grow Mobility is funded by Bossanova Investimentos and is headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico.
This incredible company has had a tumultuous past but has overcome all these challenges and come out stronger. It also goes to show how if done in the right way, mergers help a company and an idea go a very long way. Grow has definitely caught my attention, what about you?
Edited by Shruti Thapa