Is Central and Eastern Europe behind the e-scooters revolution?

E-scooter revolution captured Europe after the staggering success in the United States. Bird and Lime the primary e-scooter sharing startups from California are now micromobility gurus quickly expanding in Europe and the rest of the world. Jumping on the trend many European startups are trying to follow through developing rapidly their e-scooter sharing services.

Is however Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) behind the trend?

One picture tells a thousand words. A quick glimpse on three maps below reveals that CEE is almost a blind spot on Europe’s fastest-growing micromobility trend.

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Source: Bird and Lime respective websites (accessed September 2019) and Europe startups from Amy Lewin, ‘From Voi to Circ, we compare Europe’s scooter startups’, published on website Sifted on 15 July 2019.

American giants, Lime and Bird, made a modest entrance in CEE, appearing mainly in the capitals and more developed Polish cities. Those companies with an appetite for growth and expansion are however careless for conquering entirely this region. From the beginning of 2019, they have already secured funding of more than $700 million that ensures their profitability and rather encourages them to expand into more lucrative markets of Asia and the Gulf countries. Other Western European startups, like Voi from Sweden, secured $30 million funding to fuel its expansion in Europe. 

E-scooters became the favorite solution for pedestrians in heavily congested, large urban areas. Yet, CEE, in a very thorough assessment of Amy Lewin on the European scooter startup scene, remains an area where nothing happens.

Is this region really neglected by the big companies and lacking local potential in the e-scooter revolution? 

The Central and Eastern Europe is usually out of focus however, this region of almost 300 million inhabitants (EU CEE) and with steady annual economic growth has much potential. The big ideas are there, the well-educated workforce is there, and the market is also there. Several startups are already operating locally e-scooter sharing services and many more are planning to do so. 

Wolf-e is one of the companies that want to make a difference. This Romanian startup aims to revolutionize first the largest city in Romania and, then expand in the region. What more, is that Wolf-e desires to establish communities of users with feedback loops to continuously improve their services. 

Other promising startups are already operating in Poland. Hulaj, operating in Krakow, introduced e-scooters with changeable batteries to reduce transportation cost for changing the batteries in logistic hubs. Whereas, Volt, operates in Lodz, actively participating and supporting various local initiatives. 

Moreover, , already a well-established Polish electric moped sharing company, forayed into more micromobility services such as bicycles and e-scooters. operates e-scooters in approximately 15 Polish cities, with potential for the service to expand to other regions, especially where blinkee moped sharing services are already in operation. 

Local initiatives in CEE show that the region jumped on the e-scooter hype train however, not everything is so rosy. 

Funding, funding and funding is the key issue that local startups are struggling with. Not only in the e-scooter business but with almost any kind of business. Capital markets in CEE lag behind the more developed Western European markets and although 2018 hit a new record for investment in CEE, the difference between capital access in Western, and CEE region is still staggering. 

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Time and time again startups from CEE (Skype, Transferwise, Prezi,, etc.) prove that the path towards success is more challenging for them but it is possible. Many of them had to finally relocate to Western Europe to gain funding and finally reach success. 

However, in the new scene of the e-scooter revolution, the success will be measured locally. Potential is there, as the middle class is growing, infrastructure is constantly improving, legislation to ensure clear rules for this new mode of transport is being drafted. Cities in CEE are growing, traffic congestion is increasing and shared e-scooters might become the number one choice for pedestrians in this region in very short time. 

Is electric mobility eco-friendly?

Top climate scientists are alarming that climate change is ‘hitting harder and sooner’ than forecasted. In their report, issued just ahead of the UN summit dedicated to the climate change topic, they call the key decision-makers for immediate action.

Burning fossil fuels for the last 100 years almost irreversibly damaged our planet. The transport sector is one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions. Road transportation accounts for approximately 70% of the entire transportation sector’s CO2 emissions. Electric vehicles, aiming to replace internal combustion engines and be environmentally friendly, quickly failed to deliver on the ‘zero emissions’ promises. Comparison of life cycle assessment between EV and a combustion engine vehicle shows that EV’s although not emitting directly CO2, they use electricity that is, in large part, still produced from fossil fuels in most places in the world. Moreover, fossil fuels might still be used in the production of the entire vehicle and the battery. Battery, which again is from lithium, a non-renewable material. The same principle applies for all electric vehicles, including e-mopeds and e-scooters.

Does that mean that the future should not be electric?

Although EV’s running on electricity produced from coal might have a similar carbon footprint as traditional combustion engine vehicles, EV’s running and produced from renewable electricity are significantly more sustainable. The European Union has a target of at least 20% share of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2020 and at least 32% by 2030, with a further goal to achieve carbon-neutral economy by 2050. That means the EV’s ‘fuel’ will be soon, in most member states, renewable with zero or close to zero CO2 emissions. 

Renewable electricity to power sustainable electric vehicles

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EV’s production and battery production is, however, another issue. Most of the EV’s and their batteries are produced in China and the USA. Both countries with not the best climate track record and without any sound promise to increase the share of its renewable electricity in the near future.

Electric vehicle production and battery production for five major electric vehicle manufacturing regions in 2017.

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Source: By Nicholas P. Lutsey published on ResearchGate

That means that EV’s and electric batteries produced and used in the EU have, and definitely will have significantly lower carbon footprint in comparison to the internal combustion engine vehicles and even EV’s produced and operated in other regions with less sustainable electricity supply.

The same principle applies to all electric vehicles such as e-mopeds and e-scooters. The study that created a sound bite in the news during summer, claiming that electric scooters are not as eco-friendly as they seem, assumes that the scooters are manufactured in China and transported to the United States. Therefore, correctly pointing out the impact on global warming dominated by materials used, manufacturing and transportation. Now, if the research would assume e-scooters manufactured and used in the EU, especially vehicles with increased lifetime and with reduced collection and distribution distance, the results would be, not so surprisingly, much different. 

Why you shouldn’t stop customer education?

You have a wonderful website, you blog regularly, post to 2-3 different channels of social media and struggle to find content every day. Communication your products and services may be overwhelming after the first months and you can easily feel that your business is over-explained. We have good (or bad) news: it is not. You cannot talk enough about your enterprise.

Customer education is something extremely important, even if you think that your product is as simple as a log. There is no such thing as over-talking anything you deal with. Sharing information in any form will have a positive effect on your sales potential. Let’s see why.

There will always be newcomers

Even if you sell the most everyday products, there will always be customers that are entirely new to the market. Weather they are fresh wife who buy the first soap of their new household or start-up owners who try to find the best bookkeeper for the beginning, there is always a level of newcomers among the potential clients.

Even though these customers may stay on the safe side when it comes to purchasing, they form an extremely valuable audience. They are often far less biased than your old clientele and they are much more open to the unusual solutions. If you appear to be convincing to them and manage to become their first supplier of a kind, you’ll win engaged and thankful group of customers.

The key to attract newcomers is being very clear and appearing to be trustworthy. People like to hear what they already know and are very happy to find out that they already know things – therefore, do not hesitate to communicate even the most blatant truth about your what you are selling. Let newcomers to feel that they already know and understand you and be the first one who introduces the product to them. You’ll most probably gain returning customers.

More information = happier customers

The more details the customer knows about your product before placing an order, the less like you’ll receive complaints. This is the magic of informed purchasing. If you lay enough emphasis on providing the highest possible amount of information about your product, you can easily avoid misunderstandings, which takes a huge amount of weight from the shoulders of your customer service and helps to keep your reputation.

Telling the objective truth about a product may seem to be a strange idea in today’s world of attention marketing. Being absolutely honest about what you are selling may not be the first thing which indicates likes and hearts under your post. However, this is will be profitable on the long run. Provide your clients with information and let them be your marketers and ambassadors. This will crave your name into stone on the market.

Be the expert

If you are an owner of a product or a service, you are most probably one of those who know the most about the particular subject matter. Who else could be called an expert, if not you. Be the first source of information about your product and your area and everyone is going to reach out to you in order to know more.

If you feel that you are out of topics for professional forums, let’s conquer the ones that are not particularly for your audience. Visit forums that you have never seen before and test your voice before audiences you have never communicated to. If you cannot tell more about your product, then tell less about it to more people. Spend some time on finding a way to the ears of new audiences, even if they may be far from your potential clientele. This is going to increase attention toward your product, provide you a good source of inspiration and may mean you a few invitations to interviews and media appearances. From that point on, you’ll not only be seen as an expert of a subject, but also someone who is worth to be asked about that.

If your strategy is not violent or offensive, you do not have to be afraid of over-communicating your product. Customer education, even if it seems to be monotonous and repetitive, is always a good idea. Informing your audience will open gates to new clients, helps to keep your reputation and gives you increased positive visibility. Spend some time on telling the truth and this will be the best investment to your marketing.

Digitalization in the Fitness Industry

Last week in Cologne, Germany – one of the world’s greatest fitness exhibition took place with over 20,000 attendants with 150+ exhibitors. Besides new workout routines and innovative machines, one great trend was more visible than other: TECHNOLOGY. Every stand, booth and stage demonstrated a new way, how the emerging tech solutions are going to revolutionize the way people practice sports, improve their life-style, their well-being. Let’s have a closer look on how technology is going to intertwine with off-line heavy weight lifting:

1.)    Gym management – Several exhibitors envisioned gyms, with no personnel. Sounds wired? From the point of online membership registration, unique IDs will let you enter to the gym, where your virtual and personal 3D coach going to walk you through your daily routine, motivate you during work-out and record your achievements when you are done. 

Now let’s dismantle the vision step-by-step:

a.)     Online membership management: A custom-made or white-label software is a cost-effective way to start your online administration. You can integrate payment solutions to the system, so when anytime your members check in with membership cards (or with fingerprints or retina-scanners, let alone face-recognition), their account is going to be charged. Scheduled reminders, notifications and special offers are a good way to keep your members engaged. 

b.)    As your member is inside the gym, new indoor positioning systems, tags and NFC readers now can track what is happening inside during a workout session. Smart meters, track the repetitions, frequencies and weights used during at each stage, recording the results to the member’s profile. Towel management is now also automatic and trackable. With your integrated gym-IT infrastructure, now you can easily personalize the workout experience for your members. 

c.)     In case of group sessions, the same personalized experience is now available, during a shared session. Like spinning machines automatically adjust seats and resistance according to the members’ preference, while holding a group training, with engaging screens and intergalactic roads screened on the wall.

Technology is going to bridge the online-offline world more seamlessly and with integrated software infrastructure mass-customization is possible. In the competitive gym-market, technology innovation and membership engagement are going to define your competitive edge.

Maxellco Business Adventures
Maxellco Business Adventures

Why Business Adventures?

We all feel the rush, the excitement when it comes to a good opportunity. But sometimes we want more, to be a part of the game not just passive observers, outsiders or people who share their “obvious” conclusions retrospectively. We are drivers, game-changers, movers and shakers. MAXELLCO organised itself among true adventurers, who have been there, who made it happen, who moved forward, who delivered. Now ready to share stories, experiences, ready to spread the knowledge, demonstate results and provide guidence for your next big step.

John Brooks’ book: “Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street”gave us the inspiartion to start to write our own storyline.

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