In an attempt to make free and sustainable mobility accessible to everyone, last year in September, London-based HumanForest started London’s first free, shared electric bike service on a trial basis – it witnessed the number of users grow by 48 per cent each week and avoided 10 tonnes of CO2.
Following the growth, the company had also secured nearly €2M in funding from leaders in the mobility industry, including Vicente Pascual and Juan de Antonio (founders of Cabify, a ride-sharing app).
HumanForest raises fresh funds
Today, the micro-mobility platform has announced that it raised £2.3M (approx €2.7M) in its pre-series A round of funding. Since its inception in 2019, the company has raised a total of £4.5M (approx €5.3M) in funding.
Everyone who works at HumanForest owns part of the company and is employed directly by the startup. With the latest round, the company’s valuation has risen to £31.3M (£2 per share) (approx valuation €36.93M – €2.36 per share), tripling its previous valuation of £8.4M (0.69p per share) (approx valuation €9.91M – €0.81 per share) at the Seed stage.
The company, which has its own warehouses to charge batteries and repair its e-bikes, has announced the fundraise ahead of its launch in London this September. The company was due to launch in the Spring, however, it had to extend the dates due to the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains and shipping.
Agustin Guilisasti, Founder & CEO at HumanForest, says, “Securing this latest round of funding is another exciting milestone for us. We look forward to returning the show of faith from our investors with a successful launch and rapid customer acquisition. We are expecting to reach positive EBITDA after three months of truly green operations.”
In a statement, the company reports that it will announce a number of partnerships with high-profile brands that align with its sustainable values over the coming weeks ahead of the launch. HumanForest’s last year corporate partners included the Financial Times and Whole Foods Market.
“In a forest, trees capture CO2. In a HumanForest, you avoid emitting CO2”
HumanForest’s vision is a future of affordable mobility services which support the environment. It looks to build a healthier and more sustainable future for our urban communities. The company was founded by former-Cabify lead Agustin Guilisasti and is backed by Cabify founders Juan de Antonio and Vicente Pascual.
HumanForest e-bikes operate as an advertising-led revenue model, whereby consumers receive an advert from partners before and after using a HumanForest e-bike. This allows customers to ride for free for 10 minutes each day and costs £0.15 per minute thereafter.
The company operates with zero-emission e-bikes and estimates that its bikes will facilitate up to 7,000 rides and avoid almost 4 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into London’s air every day. As mentioned earlier about the trial last year, the company grew its number of users by 48 per cent each week and had avoided 10 tonnes of CO2 in the air.
HumanForest’s current board includes Vicente Pascual, Stefan Tilk (Vice Chairman and Group CEO of NEVS AB, the Swedish electric car manufacturer), Ignacio Gutierrez (Head of Latin America at Cabify), Agustin Guilisasti (Founder and CEO at HumanForrest), and Caroline Seton (co-founder and Head of Growth at HumanForrest).
How does the Ad revenue model work?
HumanForest partners with companies to enable the free ride. Riders receive advertisements when they open the HumanForest App and also when they end their ride. For the partners, this is a new communications channel that unlocks audiences, targets consumers based on location or other attributes, and, most importantly, helps.
The company’s new bikes have long-range features, with 80km swappable batteries, an in-built phone charger, and an application-based locking mechanism. The company estimates that its bikes will facilitate up to 7,000 rides and avoid almost 4 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into London’s air every day.
As reported earlier by SC, HumanForest has 14,000 active users and has already covered 27K trips in two boroughs through which it has avoided 10T of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 400 trees planted.