Swiftmile Aims to Shake Up Bikesharing, Seeks $6 Million Series A

Bikeshare systems have exploded across the U.S. in the past decade, and Swiftmile’s solar-powered electric bikeshare program is no exception.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based startup looks to raise $6 million in Series A funding by fall 2017, Mobility Buzz has learned, in addition to the $750,000 already raised in seed funding — led by Verizon Ventures — which closed in November 2016.

Swiftmile will also roll out 60 to 80 bikes at the Stanford Research Park in late March, Colin Roche, the startup’s founder and chief executive, told Mobility Buzz.

And if that’s not enough to show Swiftmile’s increasing footprint in the space, the company also joined Tech Plug and Play Center today — a Silicon Valley-based global innovation platform and startup accelerator for startups, corporations, and investors, Roche said.

Swiftmile works by using solar-powered eBike hubs that a rider can locate and rent a bike through the Swiftapp. Currently, Swiftmile is targeting corporate campuses and hotels, Roche said, and it has been operating in a parsed-down beta version with Google and the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority for about a year. 

Swiftmile bikes have their perks beyond being a convenient and eco-friendly last-mile transit system. Because they are electric bikes, riders do not have to be concerned about sweating under the California sun, and riders are sent a receipt after their trip detailing how far they went, calories burned, their carbon footprint reduction, and more.

And since the bikes are internet-connected, Swiftmile can track real-time details — such as the temperature of bike batteries, how fast a rider is traveling, and the location of a bike down to 50 yards. The technology can be applied to any type of bike, Roche said. “The reason for that is because as more cool and innovative bikes come out, we can partner and put our technology on them,” he said.

Stanford Research Park is a 700-acre technology park located in Palo Alto, Calif. on land owned by Stanford University. There are over 150 companies based in the park, including Fortune 500 companies, research and developments companies, and startups. Bikes will also be available at hotels like Sheraton and The Westin, that are on the outskirts of the park, Roche added.

By June, Swiftmile plans to add a new technology to the bikes by making them able to access power from city light poles — meaning that riders never need to be concerned about losing the electric component of the bike. “We’ve made our system universal by taking power from other sources, like solar or by running a line to it,” Roch said.

Swiftmile currently employs six full-time employees, but Roche said they are planning on growing to 20 full-time employees by the fall.

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