Emma, the London-based money management app, launches in the US and Canada

Emma, the U.K. money management app (now calling itself your “best financial friend”), has launched in the United States and Canada — and is now one of a plethora of London fintechs venturing states-side.

Competing banking app Cleo entered the U.S. nine months ago, and challenger bank Monzo is thought to be gearing up to launch across the pond soon, to name just two.

Emma says the U.S. launch comes after partnering with Plaid, the U.S.-based fintech that specialises in bank account aggregation. The London startup says that with its U.S. launch, 350 million people will now be able to have access to Emma’s money management features.

Described as your “financial friend,” the Emma app connects to your bank accounts (and crypto wallets) to help you budget, track spending and save money. It aims to help you understand things like how much money you have left to spend until your next payday, track and find wasteful subscriptions, and preemptively avoid going into your bank’s overdraft.

The PFM-styled app was launched in the U.K. in January 2018 and claims more than 100,000 downloads in just a year “without any marketing spend”. Furthermore, the company says users open the app five times a week, twice a day, and are using it as a “true alternative” to their traditional banking app.

Curve, the all-your-cards-in-one banking app, introduces 1% instant cashback with Curve Cash

Curve, the London fintech that now describes itself an “over-the-top banking platform,” is unveiling a re-vamped cashback feature in a bid to draw in more customers for the premium versions of its Curve card. The company lets you consolidate all of your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending and access other benefits.

With the new Curve Cash programme, customers get 1% instant cashback on top of any existing rewards cards that they have plugged into the app, potentially earning customers double rewards on purchases. You simply pick from the list of retailers supported for cashback — you are allowed to choose between 3 and 6 retailers, depending on which Curve plan you are on — and then get 1% cashback for an purchases made at those stores.

The list of supported retailers spans over 60 top brands including most notably Amazon, Apple, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, TFL, Uber, Gett, Spotify, and Netflix. There is no doubt that is a better choice of brands than many existing cashback schemes, and could go someway to softening the blow of losing Amex support for the second time earlier this year.

However, while the revamped cashback offering is available across all Curve products, the free version of Curve offers cashack for only the first 90 days. Otherwise Curve Metal customers will earn 1% instant cashback on purchases at six retailers at a time, and can receive Curve Cash for an unlimited period; Curve Black customers will be able to choose three retailers at a time, and can also receive Curve Cash for an unlimited period; Curve Blue customers will be able to choose three retailers at a time for an introductory 90 days.

Noteworthy is that Curve’s cashback is being powered in three ways: like many other cards or fintechs offering cashback, the London startup is partnering with a number of rewards providers to support many of the retailers in its Curve Cash programme. Others are offered via direct partnerships it has negotiated. I also understand from my own sources that cashback at some retailers — such as Amazon where Curve doesn’t have any kind of formal partnership — are being cross subsidised from revenue Curve is generating elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the new Curve Cash follows the launch of Curve Customer Protection in February, which attempts to address one of the criticisms of using Curve in relation to losing additional consumer protections typically offered by credit cards you plug into the app. Curve says it now provides faster purchase protection on eligible purchases of up to £100,000 made with any Curve card.

Along with cashback, other Curve features include fee-free spending abroad, and “Go Back in Time,” which lets you retroactively switch the card you used to pay up to 14-days after a purchase.

Crane, a new early-stage London VC focused on ‘intelligent’ enterprise startups, raises $90M fund

Crane Venture Partners, a newish London-based early-stage VC targeting what it calls “intelligent” enterprise startups, is officially outing today.

Founded by Scott Sage and Krishna Visvanathan, who were both previously at DFJ Esprit, “Crane I” has had a second closing totalling $90 million, money the firm is investing in enterprise companies that are data-driven. Sage and are Visvanathan are joined by Crane Partner Andy Leaver.

Specifically, Crane is seeking pre-Series A startups based in Europe, with a willingness to write the first institutional cheque. The firm is particularly bullish about London, noting that 90% of cloud and enterprise software companies that went public in the last 8-10 years opened their first international office in London. Investments already made from the fund include Aire, Avora, Stratio Automotive and Tessian.

Crane’s anchor LPs are MassMutual Ventures, the venture capital arm of MassMutual Life Insurance Corporation (MassMutual), and the U.K. taxpayer funded British Patient Capital (BPC), along with other institutions, founders and VCs spanning the U.S., Europe and Asia. In addition, Crane has formed a strategic partnership with MassMutual Ventures to give Crane and its portfolio companies “deep access” to new markets and networks as they expand internationally.

Below follows an email Q&A with Crane founders Scott Sage and Krishna Visvanathan, where we discuss the new fund’s remit, why Crane is so bullish on the enterprise, London after Brexit, and why the enterprise isn’t so boring after all!

TC: Why does London and/or the world need a new enterprise focused VC?

SS: Just to correct you Steve, we’re an enterprise only seed fund :) – which does make us somewhat unique. We back founders who have a differentiated product vision but who haven’t demonstrated the commercial metrics that our counterparts typically look for. We see opportunity and not just risk.

TC: It feels like years since I first heard you were both raising a fund together and of course I know that Crane has already made 20+ investments. So why did it take you so long to close and why are you only just officially announcing now?

KV: It was definitely a humbling experience and took us 12 months longer than we would have hoped! We held our first close for Crane I, our institutional fund, in July 2018, two and a half years from when we started raising. We had previously established a pre-cursor fund and started investing in Q1 2016, quietly building up our portfolio and presence. We had to hold off on discussing the fund until we concluded the final close a few weeks ago for regulatory and compliance reasons.

TC: You say that Crane is broadly targeting early-stage “intelligent” enterprise startups — as opposed to unintelligent ones! — but can you be more specific with regards to cheque size and stage and any particular verticals, themes or technologies you plan to invest in?

SS: Data is central to our thesis – the entire enterprise stack will need to be rebuilt to understand and learn from data, which is what we mean by intelligence. The majority of installed enterprise applications today are workflow tools and don’t do anything intelligent for the user or the organisation. We’re also excited about entirely new products for new markets that didn’t previously exist.

Our first cheques range from $750k to $3m, with sizeable follow on reserves to support our companies through Series B. We view our sweet spot as helping companies build their go-to market strategies and are happy to invest pre-revenue (approximately half of our portfolio at the time of investment), although we prefer to invest post-product.

TC: Given that you typically invest pre-Series A, where an enterprise startup may be pre-revenue and not yet have anything like definitive market fit, what are the standout qualities you look for in founding teams or the assumptions they are betting on?

KV: You mean apart from the obvious ones that every VC would say about passion, vision, hunger etc (mea culpa!)? We love highly technical teams who have a visceral understanding of the problem they are solving – usually because they lived through it previously. Many of the founders we’ve backed are reimagining the market segments they are addressing.

TC: Almost every new fund these days is talking about its operational support for portfolio companies. What does Crane do to actively support the very early-stage companies you back?

SS: Our sole focus is on supporting founders with their go-to-market strategy which encompasses everything from product positioning and generating marketing leads to building a high performing sales team, renewing and upselling customers. We have formal modules we run behind the scenes with a new company once we’ve invested and we’re also building out a stable of venture partners who are specialists in these areas. We believe that there is a multiplier effect in creating a community of similar staged businesses with parallels in their business models.

TC: Although Crane is pan-European, I know you are especially bullish on London as a leader in creating and adopting enterprise technology, why is that?

KV: We believe London has a great concentration of customers, data science and software talent, commercial and go-to-market talent. 90% of cloud and enterprise software companies that went public in the last 8-10 years opened their first international office in London. And, we’ve also seen a newfound boldness amongst young first-time founders who are not bound by the limits of their imaginations. Look at Onfido, Tessian and Senseon – all first-time founding teams we have backed who are building category-defining businesses.

TC: Which brings us to Brexit. How does Crane view the U.K. exiting the EU and the challenges this will undoubtedly create for tech and enterprise companies, in particular relating to hiring?

SS: We are believers in a global economy and the UK being a major contributor to it. The reason London is still the startup capital of Europe is because of its diversity and openness. The UK exiting the EU is counter to this which we believe will have a negative impact on our ability to attract talent and remain at the forefront of European tech.

TC: Lastly, enterprise tech is often viewed as “unsexy” and something many journalists (myself included) yawn at, even though it is a huge market and arguably the hidden software that the engine rooms of the world economy run on. Tell me something I might not already know about enterprise tech that I can repeat at a dinner party without sending everyone else to sleep?

KV: Imagine a world where you turn on your laptop and your day is pre-organised for you, your email self protects against catastrophic mistakes, your digital identity is portable, your physical workspace syncs with your calendar and auto reserves meeting rooms, and your creditworthiness is something you control, leaving you to focus on channelling your creativity as a journalist and not deal with pfaff. That’s the intelligent enterprise right there in the guise of Tessian, Onfido, OpenSensors and Aire, a selection of the companies in our portfolio. It may start with the enterprise, but ultimately, the products and businesses that are being built are all for people.

TC: Scott, Krishna, thanks for talking to TechCrunch!

Infarm closes $100M Series B to scale its ‘urban farming platform’

Infarm, the Berlin-based startup that has developed vertical farming tech for grocery stores and restaurants, is disclosing $100 in in Series B investment. The round is led by London VC Atomico, and consists of mix of equity funding and debt financing.

Infarm’s existing investors, including Balderton Capital, Astanor Ventures, Cherry Ventures, also participated in the round. In addition, TriplePoint Capital has invested, presumably providing a bulk if not all of the debt.

Founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli, and brothers Erez and Guy Galonska, Infarm’s “urban farming” platform claims to be capable of growing anything from herbs, lettuce, other vegetables, and even fruit. Its modular farms are placed in a variety of customer-facing city locations, such as grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and schools, enabling the end-customer to actually pick the produce themselves.

The distributed system is designed to be infinitely scalable: you simply add more modules, space permitting, whilst the whole thing is cloud-based, meaning the farms can be monitored and controlled from Infarm’s central control centre. It’s this modular, data-driven and distributed approach — a combination of IoT, Big Data and cloud analytics akin to “farming-as-a-service” — that Infarm says sets it apart from competitors.

The broader premise — and clearly one of the reasons Atomico would have taken an interest — is that the consumption of fresh produce, which is rarely home grown, places a significant burden on the environment. This includes over farming and, of course, global transportation. In fact, Infarm says the CO2 footprint of food equals 17% of total global emissions.

Separately, we are told that currently 45% of plant nutrients is lost by the time it arrives in the supermarket.

Explains Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm: “Infarm was founded with an ambitious vision to feed the cities of tomorrow by bringing farms closer to the consumer, and with this round of funding we aim to grow our presence further. Sowing the seeds for a delicious and sustainable food system in urban centres across North America, Asia, and Europe. We are proud and excited to welcome Atomico to the Infarm journey.”

Infarm says the injection of capital will be used to further scale the company’s growth in Europe, the U.S. and beyond and to grow the R&D, operational, and commercial teams. The startup also plans to launch in the U.K. this September with some of “the country’s largest online and brick-and-mortar supermarkets” and is said to be in advanced discussions with retailers in the U.S. and Japan.

To date, the company has partnered with 25 major food retailers including Edeka, Metro, Migros, Casino, Intermarche, Auchan, Selgros, and Amazon fresh in Germany, Switzerland, and France. Overall, it has deployed more than 200 in-store farms, 150 farms in distribution centres, and is harvesting 150,000+ plants monthly.

Spacemaker scores $25M Series A to let property developers use AI

Spacemaker, a Norway-based startup that’s created AI software to help property developers and architects make better design decisions, has picked up $25 million in Series A funding.

The round is jointly led by Atomico and Northzone, with participation from investors in property and construction tech including Danish property developer NREP, Nordic property developer OBOS, and U.K. real estate technology fund Round Hill Ventures. A number of earlier investors including Norway’s Construct Venture also followed on.

Described as “the world’s first” AI-assisted design and construction simulation software for the property development sector, Spacemaker claims to enable property development professionals, such as real estate developers, architects, and urban planners, to quickly generate and evaluate the optimal environmental design for any multi-building residential development. To achieve this, the Spacemaker software crunches various data including physical data, regulations, environmental factors and others preferences.

“Today developers and urban planners plan sites largely ‘by hand’ — meaning they can explore 20-30 options at most as they try to optimise for a multitude of regulatory, design, environmental and economic constraints,” says Spacemaker co-founder and CEO Håvard Haukeland.

“Given the rate at which urban populations are increasing, we can’t build sustainable and liveable cities by continuing to rely on those methods. New urban developments need to make the best possible use of the available land to create comfortable spaces for residents while balancing stringent planning regulations”.

This, explained Haukeland, means answering questions such as: How can we find the best way to orient a building to optimise how much heat is needed and save energy? How can we optimise for sunlight in all the apartments in a development in the Nordics? Or conversely, how can we optimise for shade in a much sunnier country?

“Architects and developers are thinking about all those things, while at the same time trying to balance regulations and other factors such as noise, wind and accessibility,” he says.

To help with this, Spacemaker has created software that lets developers and architects “sense check” their designs and optimise for a range of different parameters, from sun exposure to noise to wind to apartment size, choosing from hundreds of possible layouts. And by enabling developers and architects to test many iterations from the earliest stages, Haukeland says Spacemaker can help developers configure volumes smarter and thus increase sellable area.

“At the same time, by intelligently distributing volumes the AI can help dramatically improve the living quality of future residents,” he adds.

To that end, Spacemaker says it works with some of the largest names in property development in the Nordics and globally including Skanska, Obos, AF Gruppen and NREP. The company’s 100+ team is said to include world-class data scientists, mathematicians, software developers, architects and urban planners.

Meanwhile, I’m told that Atomico Principal Ben Blume led the round on behalf of Atomico (contrary to the belief that only Partners do deals) and will join Spacemaker’s board along with Northzone’s Michiel Kotting.

“Construction is a large part of global GDP with significant potential for technology to improve the sector’s low productivity, and we see a willingness from the industry to look for innovative new solutions,” Blume tells me.

“We have identified a number of areas to apply new technologies across the construction project life cycle in design, project management, site management and monitoring and in some of the construction processes themselves. Spacemaker’s demonstrated ability to create value for their customers, combined with their ability to create better quality of living for the residents of the buildings it is used to design, make it a compelling proposition for the property development industry to adopt”.

Unmortgage, the ‘part own, part rental’ housing startup, loses founder and CEO

Unmortgage founder and CEO Rayhan Rafiq-Omar (centre) has departed the companny

Unmortgage, the London-based startup that wants to let people buy as little as five percent of a home and rent the rest, has lost its founder and CEO, TechCrunch has learned.

According to a regulatory filing on Companies House, Unmortgage’s Rayhan Rafiq-Omar was terminated as a Director on 4th of May, and has been replaced on the board by Unmortgage co-founder and product lead Josef Wasinski.

However, sources tell me the board room reshuffle is the result of Rafiq-Omar leaving the startup entirely, which is bound to come as a shock to London’s fintech and property tech community. It’s not clear why he has departed, although one source tells me it wasn’t of his own volition.

Rafiq-Omar is named on Companies House as a person of “significant control” of Unmortage, with a share ownership of more than 25% but not more than 50%, and voting rights of more than 25% but not more than 50%. He was also the driving force behind Unmortgage and in conversations I’ve had with the departing CEO over the last few years, I always got the impression he was not only determined to help fix the housing market but also wanted to build a business for the long term.

The company appeared to be off to a decent start, too, having raised a hefty £10 million seed round to funds its operations. Backing the round was fintech venture capital firms Anthemis Exponential Ventures (which lost its own CEO last year amid accusations of inappropriate behaviour), and Augmentum Fintech plc. Separately, Unmortgage had managed to court institutional investment to fund the acquisition of property, which was at the heart of its mortgage alternative model. In other words, there is a lot of money at stake.

Declining to discuss the specific reasons for his departure, Rafiq-Omar gave TechCrunch the following statement:

“Unmortgage is a genuine zero to one story – an innovation that inspired many to join me on a journey to restore hope in homeownership. I’m immensely proud to have created something from nothing over the last four years. But it’s the tough times that truly define us. And those around us.

So if there’s one thing I’d like you to quote me on, if you do write this story, it’s my deepest thanks to my family and friends during this personal and professional set-back. My parents and my wife Sofi have really stepped up to support me emotionally. And a special thanks should also go to [Rentify’s] George Spencer, James Micklethwait and my partners at Allianz Global Investors: Adrian Jones and Irshaad Ahmed. Their friendship at this time has been important to me.”

I’ve reached out to both Anthemis and Augmentum Fintech and will update this post if and when I hear back.

Meanwhile, an Unmortgage spokesperson provided the following statement:

“As Unmortgage enters the next stage of its growth strategy, it has strengthened and restructured its senior team to reflect the needs of the business.

“Hugh Boyle has been appointed as CEO and will be leading Unmortgage day-to-day as it provides a new route to homeownership for the millions of people who are currently locked out of the market. Hugh is the Former International Division CFO and CEO of MBIA UK Insurance, subsidiary of MBIA Inc. He will be supported by Nigel Purves, COO, Conrad Holmboe, CIO and Co-founder Josef Wasinski.

“Having founded the business alongside Josef and Nigel, we look forward to Ray playing a pivotal advisory role as Unmortgage continues its journey to help aspiring homeowners via our innovative gradual homeownership product.”

Zyper, the marketing platform that connects brands with their ‘superfans’, raises $6.5M Series A

Zyper, the London-based marketing platform that connects brands with their ‘superfans’, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. The new round, which brings Zyper’s total funding to date to $8.5 million, is led by Talis Capital, with participation from Forerunner Ventures and Y Combinator.

Founded by Amber Atherton, Zyper has built a platform that lets companies identify their top fans, and therefore advocates, on various social media. It then invites these communities of fans to join advocacy campaigns where user-generated ‘ad’ content is seeded in return for various rewards and experiences.

It’s a more granular and long-tail approach than so-called influencer marketing that targets people with much larger social followings. Atherton has long-argued that traditional influencer marketing often results in poor engagement. Instead, Zyper’s tech identifies a brand’s top 1% organic fans, typically seeing each Zyper brand community consist of around 500-1,000 advocates.

To identify superfans for each respective brand Zyper works with, the startup employs computer vision and natural language processing technology. Atherton tells me that it is this ability to accurately identify and segment superfans that gives the startup an edge, often doing a better job than the brands themselves. Zyper has already filed for a patent relating to its tech and is in the process of filing for a second one.

“These superfans provide a constant stream of trusted, user-generated content (UGC) that sparks conversation and boosts sales while unearthing new product and purchase insights,” explains the company.

To that end, brands Zyper works with include Banana Republic, Coty, Nestlé and Topshop.

Meanwhile, Zyper will use the new funds to open a San Francisco headquarters. It will also continue to invest in the development of its “predictive analytics engine” and recommendation system algorithms.

Atherton says, as part of this, the startup is building out self-service capability so that it can on-board more brands. It is also growing engineering and sales teams and recently appointed Lauren Pye, who previously served VP of Sales in North America for Live Nation Entertainment, as Executive Director of Sales.

Tier, the Berlin-based e-scooter rental startup, unveils new hardware and announces it’s reached 2M rides

Tier, the Berlin-based e-scooter rental startup that competes with the likes of Voi, Lime, Wind, Circ and a host of others, is unveiling new hardware today in a bid to further improve the usability and unit economics of its service.

The new Tier scooters produced via a strategic partnership with Okai utilise a “modular” design — something that Voi is also doing — so that they can be customised for different (regulated) markets, iterated more frequently and for easier maintenance.

Previously, the startup was using off-the-shelf-models, namely the Segway Ninebot ES2 and ES4, which aren’t explicitly designed to withstand the wear and tear endured by being shared commercially, with multiple users and rides per day.

On that note, Tier co-founder and CEO Lawrence Leuschner tells me the startup recently ratcheted up 2 million rides. The company operates in over 20 cities across Europe, with around 10,000 Tier scooters on the streets. Noteworthy, Leuschner says Tier is already profitable “in several key cities”.

He also talked up what he claims is Tier’s better unit economics and more capital efficient model. This sees the startup shun the gig economy-style model where competitors utilise freelance workers for charging e-scooters, often in their own homes. Instead, Tier employs a centralised team of professionals for pick up, charging, maintenance and repair processes, meaning that problems in the hardware can be spotted earlier and maintenance can be more proactive, increasing the lifetime of each device and ensuring more scooters remain in circulation. That’s the argument, anyway.

Leuschner tells me this “professionalised” model is born out of his previous experience as CEO and co-founder of reBuy, the European online used electronics and media retailer, a company he says was dedicated to extending the life cycle of over 100 million products. His point is, how do you ensure quality of service if you don’t frequently touch your own products, in a thinly veiled critique of competing e-scooter services.

The new more rugged Tier e-scooters are designed to last at least 12 months in operation, more than twice Tier’s current average device lifetime. Other improved features include 10″ tires and improved suspension (variants include double or single suspension), plus an increased range of 35-40 kilometres. The IoT, bell and cables are now integrated, and thus less susceptible to vandalism.

Safety is said to be significantly improved, too, including more powerful brakes. Variants feature one mechanic and one electric brake, or two mechanic and one electric brake. This is especially important given concerns over how safe e-scooters are, whether used on sidewalks or on the road. Just last week, Sweden saw its first e-scooter rental casualty, leading to the Swedish transport agency reportedly calling for a ban on all electric scooters.

Meanwhile, along with most competitors, such as Circ, Tier is keen to position itself beyond e-scooters alone and is now calling itself a “micro-mobility” company. I’m told “new exciting vehicles” that go beyond scooters are in the pipeline and that the Tier software platform has been built to cover various “shared urban mobility,” with the ability to integrate all kinds of urban mobility categories, not limited to the startup’s own assets.

To date, Tier has raised around €30 million. Its backers include Whitestar, Northzone, Speedinvest and Point Nine. Most recently, Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg (pictured) became an investor. I’m also hearing the company is in the midst of raising a large round.

Tink, the European open banking platform, announces PayPal as a strategic investor

Tink, the European open banking platform that recently raised €56 million in new funding, is disclosing that PayPal has become a strategic investor.

The online payments giant joins a long list of existing backers that includes U.S.-based Insight Venture Partners, Sunstone, SEB, Nordea Ventures and ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund. Individuals such as Christian Clausen, former chairman of the European Banking Federation, and Nikolay Storonsky, co-founder of banking app Revolut, are also investors.

Originally launched in Sweden in 2013 as a consumer-facing finance app with bank account aggregation at its heart, Tink has since repositioned its offering to provide the same underlying technology and more to banks and other financial service providers that want to ride the open banking/PSD2 train.

Through various APIs, Tink provides four pillars of technology: “Account Aggregation,” “Payment Initiation,” “Personal Finance Management” and “Data Enrichment.” These can be used by third parties to roll their own standalone apps or integrated into existing banking applications.

Meanwhile, with its investment, PayPal has agreed to partner with Tink to leverage its account aggregation technology to “improve product experiences” for PayPal customers. What this means in practice isn’t entirely clear, although it is likely PayPal could use open banking for easier and more secure on-boarding. Another obvious use case would be to check your bank balance prior to initiating a debit card payment or use your transaction history in relation to PayPal Credit.

Adds Jennifer Marriner, VP of global markets and partnerships of PayPal:: “Open banking is transforming financial services, allowing customers to more easily move and manage their money. Tink has developed the infrastructure and data services for this new financial world and we’re excited to work together to continue to democratise financial services”.

Flash, the e-scooter startup from Delivery Hero founder, re-brands as ‘Circ’ and announces 1M rides

Flash, the micro-mobility startup from Delivery Hero and Team Europe founder Lukasz Gadowski, is re-branding today and disclosing that the e-scooter rental service has clocked up 1 million rides in just 4.5 months since launch.

This, the company claims, is a milestone passed quicker than any of its competitors, although Voi recently announced that it reached 2 million rides in less than 8 months, while I understand that Tier, which launched later than Voi, is on track to hit that same number any day now, if it hasn’t already. The takeaway: e-scooter rentals in Europe remains a hot and fast-growing market to be in.

Quietly launched in Zurich, Switzerland in mid-January this year, Berlin-based Circ says it has since expanded to 21 cities across 7 countries. The re-brand is in preparation for further international expansion, with Germany up next to coincide with new German regulations permitting e-scooter services.

With regards to the name change, I’m told the decision was both practical and more conceptual. When people think of “flash” they tend to think of lightning or comic book superheroes, while the word itself is intrinsically linked with connotations of speed. While newly named Circ has moved very fast to reach 1 million rides, riding fast is not what the company is about.

“We wanted a name that better reflects who we are and how seriously we take the responsibility of moving people. Circ is all about circles, connections and there is great symmetry with what we do, working with others to help people move around their city in a reliable, safe and enjoyable way,” a company spokesperson tells me.

Reading between the lines, it’s almost certain that the startup is also thinking about its brand beyond e-scooters alone. Gadowski has always described the company as a “micro-mobility” service that isn’t just concerned with scooters and one that wants to play an integral role within a city’s broader transportation system.

On that note, Circ says it has joined the Union Internationale des Transports Publics (UITP), the worldwide association for public transportation. It has also formed a partnership with Swiss public transport operator Swiss Federal Railways (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, SBB).

“The comprehensive partnership entails the creation of designated parking spaces at key strategic locations in railway stations and explores digital integration as Circ and SBB introduce ways to create seamless mobility for rail and e-scooter users,” says Circ.