German mobility solutions startup Wunder Mobility has announced its expansion into the U.S., by opening an office in Los Angeles, helped with its extended Series B financing round that added $30 million to its capital, bringing the company’s total investment to $70 million. The additional funding raised from existing investors Blumberg Capital and KCK will be channeled towards expanding its suite of mobility solutions across a varied customer base that includes legacy automakers and emerging technology startups.
“Since launching in 2014, we have become the go-to technology service provider to OEMs and mobility startups across the world, including Daimler, Toyota, Yamaha and BMW. Our technology is currently used in more than 100 cities on five continents to power more than 100,000 vehicles facilitating over 12 million trips worldwide,” said Sam Baker, the co-founder and COO of Wunder Mobility.
Wunder Mobility’s expansion into the U.S. comes at an opportune moment when the country is witnessing a disruption in the way transport is looked at in urban spaces, with an increasing number of people opting for mobility-as-a-service. This has led to an ebb in auto sales growth – a trend that is likely to continue with the number of alternative mobility solutions cropping up across the country.
To understand the fall in demand for auto, it is essential to look at the evolution of consumer perception towards the idea of owning vehicles. The slump in sales of auto is more pronounced amongst the younger generation, as it happens to be a lot more concerned about carbon emissions and climate change than the generation before. Brought up witnessing the burgeoning ‘gig economy’ model, millennials tend to opt for mobility services as it reduces responsibility and cuts out needless worries on paying for garage space or searching for vacant parking lots in traffic-prone downtowns.
“Vehicle ownership has driven huge economies, generated massive influence on policy and been central to the American identity since the car’s invention. But large-scale forces – climate change, urbanization, millennials – are shifting the automotive’s role as the center of Americanism,” said Baker. “This presents a challenge for American stakeholders within the mobility space, from OEMs to fleet operators to those new market entrants who are trying to respond and harness these trends.”
Wunder Mobility is now partnering with early-stage mobility startups in the U.S. like Caramel, a car-sharing startup, and Kuhmute, a charging station provider from Flint, Michigan. Wunder Mobility provides an open technology platform that can be used as a pedestal for these companies to build their own solutions customized to the local population. Its suite of solutions include carpooling, on-demand shuttling, fleet sharing, car renting, and services like data analytics, which is done in collaboration with municipalities for creating smarter cities and optimizing parking spaces.
Baker contended that there is a common misconception amongst consumers that Uber and Lyft own most of the on-demand mobility options with the U.S., which in reality, is a tiny sliver of the total transportation possibilities.
“The U.S. mobility market will continue to grow as more innovative companies are introduced. However, these mobility solutions are largely fragmented and many are trying to solve their problems in-house without expertise or deep knowledge,” said Baker. “That’s where Wunder Mobility comes in — we provide a full suite of mobility services that meets a wide variety of needs, making it a one-stop solution for a wide variety of companies.”