In the US, where founder Laurens Laudowicz grew up, his electric skateboard can be easily driven on streets and in parks. According to his own information, he has already sold just under a thousand pieces of it.
For the time being, no approval is in sight for the vehicle in Germany. Laudowicz is aware of that. He has no problem with his product being banned here. The fact has not stopped him from moving to Berlin with his team from San Francisco earlier this year. He wants to move forward here another idea: He wants to make sharing investment.
At that time, it offered to develop its own skateboard, as one of the three founders owns a product company of hoverboards in China, Laudowicz told Gründerszene and NGIN Mobility.
That was 2017. Something comparable, according to the founder, did not exist until now. Within a few months, Stark Mobility has developed an electric skateboard drive without a remote control. The vehicle can be controlled solely by shifting the weight of the hip.
A similar skateboard, but with remote control, offers the German startup Mellow Boards. Since Stark produces differently than the German competitor in China, the vehicle is only half as expensive. Converted, the board costs around 613 euros (699 US dollars). Laudowicz is aware that it will hardly make any money in the long term.
Currently, the startup is funded by the Berlin Accelerator Program Techstars with approximately 106,000 euros. There are also 440,000 equity and 193,000 euros from Indiegogo retail investors in the company.
It is already in negotiations with other investors, says the founder. But they are less interested in the skateboard than in the planned platform for a Mobility-as-a-Service (Meuse) that Stark Mobility has built.
Strong Mobility wants to take care of the annoying things
Laudowicz says he had two experiences in his life that inspired him. For one thing, he has financed an Audi A4 on Honululu via Turo. The Daimler-owned platform allows private car owners – similar to the French company Drivy Open or the Berlin startup Getaway – to lend their vehicle to strangers and earn money. A common criticism of these negotiations is that as a vehicle owner you still have to deal with the annoying things like maintenance, refuelling or loading, cleaning or insurance issues.
Laudowicz has had second experience with Airbnb. At first he took care of everything himself, handed over the key, explained the peculiarities of the apartment and cleaned it up after the visit. In the meantime, he is hiring an agency to do this for a commission. He checks only the receipt of the money.
He wants to transfer the service of the Airbnb agencies to the mobility industry with his startup, thereby motivating people to buy a vehicle and finance it via sharing solutions. “It is possible to pay off a scooter or even a car completely through our sharing service and thus generate a passive income,” promises Laudowicz.
That is comparable to the purchase of a share. Stark Mobility then wants to take care of the annoying stuff with the help of service providers who are currently also responsible, for example, for the maintenance of free-floating vehicles on DriveNow or Car2Go.
The service should be limited to electric vehicles. Because here is the loading procedure particularly expensive. For example, if e-scooter sharing is set up in Spain, private individuals could also take part in a fleet vehicle and earn money for every kilometer driven after eradication, explains Laudowicz. He believes that the biggest cost factor, the acquisition of a vehicle could be reduced by the distribution and a faster scaling is possible.
As meanwhile all major car manufacturers have built a mobility unit in Berlin and the city is home to numerous sharing services, Laudowicz wants to try his luck in the German capital. So far, the startup earned its money on the sale of skateboards. In the near future an e-scooter will be added. In the future, Stark Mobility intends to earn a transaction fee for each shared vehicle with its platform.
The idea of Mobility-as-a-Service is not new. The Finnish startup MaaS Global has been working since 2015 to roll out a nationwide service. Instead of a financing option here is the flatrate idea in the foreground. With a kind of subscription, the user can use Whim as many sharing services or public transport services as he wants.