Where Sustainability and Mobility Meet
The founder is no stranger to the mobility industry with origins in the early team of Uber Eats in Belgium as well as history founding Freel, the first B2B micromobility startup with electric scooters. So, it is no surprise that the entrepreneur would parlay this experience into another venture that combines both mobility and sustainability. “Our mission is to tackle air pollution and protect citizens' health while providing alternative environmentally-friendly mobility solutions and access to mobility data,” he says.
SMOVE.CITY doesn’t simply provide eco-friendly mobility solutions, however — the startup is also dedicated to supplying urban cities with valuable insights and data to improve the area’s mobility. “SMOVE.CITY is a solution provider that gathers and analyzes movement data in public spaces enabling smart, efficient, and relevant transport solutions,” Vermoere explains. “We combine real-time mobility data and big data to engage with decision-makers in urban areas.” From these insights, European cities with bike-share programs are able to see and assess how many bikes are being used, where they are being used, and how often they are being used to make more informed decisions city-wide. And, while SMOVE.CITY doesn’t operate primarily as a bike-share service any longer, the startup still provides bike share in order to meet the high demand in Europe while pivoting to a mobility-data-focused business model, which Vermoere explains came to him during his time at Uber Eats. “After working at Uber Eats for over a year, I realized that [the company] is really all about data. So, it's more like a logistic company but also a data company because they had so much data and they understood their users and the consumers so well because of [that] data,” he explains, “and that's where I saw that there might be a potential for that in other areas of mobility as well. So after Uber Eats, I [attended] business school because I was a little bit afraid to jump into the open and start my own company on my own.”
For City Officials, by City Officials
Every startup founder needs to validate their startup idea somehow. Creating an innovative solution to a problem that is unique to them may solve their problem; however, it will not necessarily lay a strong foundation for a scalable startup. For SMOVE.CITY, validation was sewn into the fabric of the company from the start, “SMOVE.CITY is really made by city officials who are going through this problem and it's actually really nicely illustrated because four days after incorporating the company, not even having a product yet, just a design — I got a contract. That really validates the whole solution, and that was the reason why I continued with SMOVE.CITY. It's made by the city officials who use it, for the city officials who use it.”
And, SMOVE.CITY’s roster of cities looking for sustainable mobility solutions through impactful data seems to be growing steadily, “According to our research and based on the ‘2020 European Mobility Week’ participating cities, there are currently 2,945 cities actively seeking ways to improve their mobility,” Vermoere explains. The startup anticipates the strongest market segment not only to be cities that have yet to adopt mobility solutions but cities that have already made the switch, looking for more impactful and effective alternatives to the systems they already have in place. With SMOVE.CITY’s focus on providing actionable insights for these cities, the potential for real, lasting change to the traditional mobility options available in cities is immense.