I’ve been saying for a while that the last several years have seen a boom of investment in new mobility options, with approximately $120 billion invested since mid-2016. It makes sense — with 68% of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, traffic congestion is bad now and will only get worse. Alleviating this congestion will require compact, safe, and accessible options without adding to existing gridlock. For decades, mopeds have fit this bill around the world, and today I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve invested in Revel, a startup that’s successfully bringing the moped model to U.S. roads.
Revel provides shared electric moped services in dense urban areas, and currently operates in New York City and Washington, D.C. Their mopeds are lightweight and safe, coming equipped with two helmets so you can share the ride with a friend. Most importantly, the Revel team has prioritized close collaboration with city officials to ensure that each Revel vehicle fits easily into the existing transportation infrastructure and does not interrupt other commuter services.
When our associate, Chris Abshire, took the latest Revel moped for a test drive, he was impressed by how fun and easy a Revel was to ride. Unlike most mopeds — built for those 5’6” and over — this new model comes with lowered seats, allowing anyone 5’ or taller to ride. It also includes a simplified kickstand — so hopping on and taking off is a breeze. It goes without saying (but I will), that Chris is looking forward to his next ride.
Yes, Revel mopeds are fun, but the source of their impressive early traction is their low-friction, high-confidence on-boarding process. After downloading the free Revel iOS or Android app, every new Reveler’s driver’s license is checked with the DMV to ensure a clean record — no DUI’s, suspensions, or too many tickets. Once approved, riders can access nearby mopeds and sign up for free riding lessons — available to anyone who wants to feel more confident navigating busy city streets.
In the U.S., roughly 85 percent of all trips are less than 15 miles in distance, creating opportunities for startups to alleviate driver frustration on crowded roads with empty car seats. Although ride hailing and micromobility platforms have already supplemented many commutes, Revel’s popularity in New York and Washington, D.C. makes it clear that there is a demand for new sustainable, battery-powered mobility choices. We’re excited to support Revel co-founders Frank Reig and Paul Suhey and their mission to bring reliable, electric transportation to new markets. As their business continues to grow, we believe that Frank, Paul, and the Revel team will maintain the type of creativity, humility, and accountability that are cornerstones of a successful business.
We’ve climbed aboard with Revel alongside lead investor Ibex Investments, with participation by Maniv Mobility, Blue Collective, and LaunchCapital, to support its $27.6M Series A funding round. See Revel’s website to find out how shared electric mopeds provide fun, new options for urban commuters. Also, keep an eye on our Toyota AI Ventures Talent Network for available job openings at this exciting startup because they are hiring!