We’re excited to welcome Voi Technology as our first micro-mobility operator in our First & Last Mile feature. Passengers using our service in cities where Voi have trials will now see e-scooters listed in their personalised messaging and onward travel options to complete their journey. We caught up with their team over virtual coffee to find out a bit more about the business.
Where and when was Voi founded?
Founded in August 2018, Voi is a Swedish micro-mobility company offering shared e-scooters and e-bikes, in partnership with cities and local communities.
Who were the founders and what is their story?
Voi was founded by Fredrik Hjelm, Douglas Stark, Adam Jafer and Filip Lindvall. With a shared vision to improve the way people move around congested urban centres set out to offer a clean, efficient, cost-effective and zero-emission first-and-last-mile alternative to short car journeys.
Where did the idea for Voi come from?
Prior to working at Voi, Fredrik Hjelm founded Guestit, the Nordics’ most successful Airbnb management company, and worked in business development for Avito.ru, Russia’s leading — and the world’s third largest — classified advertising site.
Voi was inspired by two experiences. At Geustit, we hosted thousands of guests who’d regularly ask for advice on how best to get around town. There was a clear demand for quick, easy transit options, even in cities such as Stockholm, where there is good public transportation and infrastructure. During Fredrik’s four years in Moscow, he saw up close how polluted and dysfunctional cities can become when they are crammed with traffic. He decided to set up Voi to help to solve those issues.
What countries do you work in and where next geographically?
Voi operates in 50+ cities across 11 countries, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
How has Voi coped with the pandemic?
Micro-mobility has proven to be a lifeline during the pandemic. Many people, particularly key workers, use our Voi scooters to move around in the open-air while still socially distancing around their cities. During the lockdown, under our Voi 4 Heroes program, we have been providing free rides to NHS staff and Emergency Service workers, with many people across the nine cities where w're present taking advantage of the program.
The pandemic confirmed that e-scooters are an essential part of a safe and sustainable transport system, particularly for journeys of 1-3 miles. As we head towards the green recovery of our cities and towns, e-scooters will continue to play a strategic role in creating better cities for all, free of pollution and congestion.
What are Voi’s future plans?
As we launch in more cities and continue to expand our operations, our goal is to continue to democratise micro-mobility, giving more people access to a green, accessible and safe alternative mode of transport so they can ditch the car.
The trials offer us an opportunity for Voi to influence regulations positively so that e-scooters can become an integral part of the city transport planning. Meanwhile, we will continue to work closely with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders to ensure we provide the safest and best service to our users and the best possible experience to the communities where we are present.
What difference do you think the partnership with Zipabout will make moving forward?
We are delighted to be working with Zipabout. We have done several transport partnerships across other European markets where we are present, but this is our first transport collaboration in the UK. Through its First & Last mile feature, Zipabout will ensure train users are aware they can use a carbon-neutral scooter to complement their first and last mile journeys. Ultimately, this will reduce the number of short car journeys, improving our cities air quality, starting to shape cities for a greener future.