By Riley Kaminer
Miami’s traffic is as diabolical as its weather is warm and its coffee is strong.
Silicon Valley startup Swiftmile is making Miami mobility a little bit less painful. The company recently inked a deal with the Miami Parking Authority to deploy a network of micromobility charging stations across the city’s e-scooter operational area, which primarily covers Downtown Miami and Brickell. By the end of June, 25 of these ‘hubs’ will be open, and the company plans to deploy more than 100 hubs by the end of 2022.
Think of these charging stations as smart parking spots for e-scooters and e-bikes. Whether you’re a Revel rider, Lyft lover, or Bird bro, you’ll be able to dock your scooter rental of choice at one of Swiftmile’s stations. If you own an e-scooter or e-bike, you’ll likely be able to charge up with Swiftmile, too. The stations are free to use, and some scooter-share operators even incentivize users to end rides at the hubs.
The parking stations help mitigate some of the key issues surrounding micromobility, including charging the devices, avoiding e-scooters cluttering sidewalks, and making it easier for consumers to find charged e-scooters to rent.
For Swiftmile co-founder and President Leo Vera, it’s all about increasing access to sustainable, electric transportation. “When we approached the Miami Parking Authority two years ago, we told them that we’d like to give the residents of Miami and tourists a sustainable transportation option that doesn't rely on fossil fuels. They responded favorably, and this past April we signed a contract with them.”
In a statement, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said that “the Miami Movement has gained another Silicon Valley star today. We know the future of transportation is electrified and we're honored to champion that future here with Swiftmile.”
While Swiftmile will keep its California office, Vera said that the company is opening a second headquarters in Brickell. The company currently has two employees in Miami, with a view to scale to five employees within the next few weeks. Swiftmile is hiring for a wide range of Miami-based roles, including in operations, sales, and customer service.
Vera, who recently moved to Miami, says he “absolutely love[s]” the city. “It's just such a great place to be right now. I put it at the top of the list in terms of mojo in US cities for sure.” He cited the city’s diversity and its bipartisan approach to tackling climate change as some of what excites him most about Miami.
Swiftmile was founded in early 2015, born out of what Vera describes as the co-founders’ “idea that we hated traffic, and we needed to find a way to use these crazy new devices hitting the market, these light electric vehicles: electric bikes, scooters, trikes, segways.”
From the start, Swiftmile has worked with both public and private sector organizations. Some of their early clients include the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Tesla, and Google. The company has a global footprint. Last week, Swiftmile announced a partnership with Shell to bring its charging stations to Berlin.
Vera says that Swiftmile is currently closing a $15 million Series B funding round. It plans to use this funding to expand its presence in Miami, Berlin, and other forward-thinking ‘smart’ cities around the world.
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