Softbank leads Tier's $250m financing round

The e-mobility business based at Potsdamer Platz isn't a unicorn. Yet.

Maybe use some of the cash to get the scooters out of the way?
Maybe use some of the cash to get the scooters out of the way?Andreas Arnoldy

Berlin-E-scooters are "just the start," Lawrence Leuschner, head of Berlin-based start-up Tier Mobility, said in an interview with this paper a few weeks ago. And, on Tuesday, the company announced a fresh $250m (€211m) from investors. It has now raised more than €340m since it was founded two years ago.

Tuesday's financing was lead by Japanese mobile company and tech investor Softbank – the €105m investment is its first in the company – and, according to the FT, values Tier at €650m. Softbank is no stranger to Berlin – it also has investments in Auto1 and Getyourguide.

Tier is headquartered at Potsdamer Platz and can use the cash for expansion – it has been profitable since last this summer. "Together with municipal and national authorities, we will develop the best solutions to ensure safe, highly efficient and sustainable movement from A to B," Leuschner, 38, says.

The company now operates more than 60,000 vehicles with 900 employees in over 80 cities and 10 European countries. It wants to add to its fleet but also create a Europe-wide network of charging stations where users can swap out empty batteries. Pushme Bikes, a British startup with experience in swappable batteries, was scooped up by Tier early this year. 

Not only will the company add to its inventory of electrified kick scooters, Tier will likely also expand the number of its electric mopeds after it took over the defunct Coup e-scooter business of electronics and automotive supplier Bosch at the end of 2019. Coup operated 5,000 rechargeable vehicles in Germany.

Electric bikes and cargo bikes might also become part of the Tier family as early as next year. Leuschner won't even rule out a branded electric car-sharing service.

The fresh cash will help Tier secure its position at the front of the pack in its home market, which last summer had six rivals. But Circ was swallowed by US competitor Bird after new financing never materialised. Experts expect the filed to ultimately narrow to three.