The mobility of goods and people is essential for urban development, and European cities are known for their efficient mobility practices. According to a report, the worldwide market for urban mobility platforms is predicted to reach around $25B (approx €21.1B) by 2035. And, Europe is expected to be the largest market with a value of about $12.4B (approx €10.46B).
€2M for deep tech startup
In a recent development, a Berlin-based urban mobility platform Bliq has raised €2M in its seed round of funding. The round was led by Amplifier Ventures and New York-based Space Capital. Besides, Atlantic Labs, Proeza Ventures, Revel and, the angel investor Andreas Kupke also participated in the round.
The raised capital will be used to expand Bliq in European countries as well as further develop the functional scope of Bliq Ride. The company’s app aids self-employed drivers (so-called gig workers) in the organisation of their rides and displays all ridesharing providers in one app.
“Until recently, innovations in urban mobility have always focused on the end-user. The workers, the drivers who work every day for many of these services, have been left out. With Bliq, we are making it easier for drivers to do their daily work and ensure greater equality in a market dominated by a few powerful players,” says Julian Glaab, CEO of Bliq.
Founded in 2018 by Julian Glaab, Johannes Riedel, and Torgen Hauschild, the company leverages real-time data streams from millions of connected vehicles and computer vision on the Edge to build a street-level sensor network.
The company is based in Berlin and currently employs 17 people. It provides street-level intelligence with the help of its product, Bliq Ride. This makes taxi, and rideshare drivers earn 30% more with better positioning close to passengers
The company’s business model is based on the growing alternative transport industry, where providers such as Uber, Free Now, and Bolt place orders with independent drivers. Since its inception, Bliq has offered its Bliq Ride service in Cologne, Berlin, and Munich. The average ridesharing driver covers 10-20 times as many kilometres per day as a regular car driver.
Power of smartphones
With the help of smartphones, the Bliq Ride Community forms a network of drivers that provide real-time data regarding the road traffic from every corner of a city.
Bliq then uses edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to process vast amounts of the current traffic and user data to deliver driver insights.
Bliq Ride displays high demand passenger regions together with areas overpopulated with other drivers to enable users to strategically position themselves and enhance their earnings.
According to the company, one of its popular features is payment verification which automatically sends a message to the provider and recoups driver earnings in the case of disparities. Besides, registered drivers can also use an in-app chat feature to share information and real-time road obstacles.
Ride-hailing market size
According to the company, the ride-hailing market is massive however the working conditions of millions of gig workers in the transport industry are only determined by few companies that treat them as a cost factor and try to encourage platform loyalty.
In May 2019, the Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing had around 21 million drivers globally, while the ridesharing pioneer Uber employed around 3.9 million drivers at the time.
As a result, drivers are often at a disadvantage and have to spend most of their working time waiting for new services, often earning far below the minimum wage.
“Bliq Ride levels the playing field for gig workers by providing them with access to more information and allowing them to secure the most lucrative business from different providers within the one app,” says Siobhan Brewster, Partner at Amplifier Ventures.
Image credit: Bliq