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Smarter, more powerful e-bikes and scooters take charge at CES 2022

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Even though we didn’t make it to CES 2022 in person this year, we certainly heard about the “eMobility Experience,” a test track for demo rides of all the e-scooters, e-bikes and whatever other micromobility vehicles came to play in Las Vegas. 

A lot of products were shown, many of which weren’t actually new, like Bird’s new consumer suite of vehicles, the Bird Bike, Bird Flex and Birdie, Zoomo’s utility electric-assist bikes, Euphree’s City Robin step-through e-bike and Arevo and Superstrata’s 3D printed carbon fiber e-bikes. There were a handful of interesting companies showing off new versions of their electric scooters, bikes, motorcycles and connected tech.

The main theme throughout this year is smart, connected vehicles. These little EVs are being built with more powerful onboard computers that are synced up to apps that can help riders do things like find their vehicle, track fitness goals and control bike functions like locks and lights. 

Here’s a roundup of new bikes, scooters and some connected tech that came to CES 2022.

Segway

Image Credits: Segway-Ninebot

Segway, the electric micromobility manufacturer that not only sells personal vehicles but also supplies a number of the world’s shared operators with vehicles, came to CES with a new kick scooter line, the P-Series, and a new moped-type e-scooter, the E11a. 

The P60 and P100S scooters have wider footboards and handles, automobile grade all-season tires, and front and rear spring suspension. They’ve also got turn signaling, a tail light and multiple ways to lock and unlock the vehicle. The E110a has room for two, plenty of storage space and lots of smart features, according to the company. Segway didn’t share more info on what exactly those smart features were, but if it’s anything like its last generation, it’ll have a battery management system and the ability to connect to smartphones and thus the Segway-Ninebot app.

Cake

Image Credits: Cake

The Swedish maker of lightweight electric motorbikes brought is “CAKE :work series” to the U.S. for the first time. This series of professional motorbikes have been shown before, just not in the states. The bigger Cake news during CES involved updates to its Ridecake connectivity app, including features to allow professional fleet managers to monitor and manage their vehicles.

The new connectivity features are available to all riders with a data service-enabled Cake Connect module on their vehicles, this includes all current and upcoming models, as well as a majority of the existing Cake bikes. The update to the app will add customized ride modes, realtime riding information and ride history and anti-theft security.

Professionals using Cake’s cloud-based management system will get real-time data, including live location of their fleet with position of all bikes, mileage, range and battery status for all bikes, and access to diagnostic data. Over the air, the system will also allow for firmware updates, access to anti-theft functionality, and setting custom ride modes.

Delfast

Image Credits:

American-Ukrainian startup Delfast rolled out an upgraded model of its electric Top 3.0 bike, which the company claims can go up to 200 miles on a single charge. The smart bike has an onboard computer that can be set to receive software updates and immobilize the vehicle for theft-protection. It can also sync with Delfast’s new mobile app to provide on-demand analytics, lock and unlock the bike, arm and disarm the bike alarm, track total mileage, odometer and speedometer metrics, monitor the bike power and estimate range, locate the bike, control lighting and other smart features.

Niu

Image Credits: Screenshot/Niu

 

Chinese e-scooter company Niu showed up this year with its new BQi-C1 e-bike, a vehicle the company has already teased but finally shared pricing and tech specs at CES. 

The step-through bike is powered by a 500W continuous and 750W Bafang hub motor in the rear and can reach top speeds of 28 miles per hour in the U.S. Stricter e-bike regulations in Europe mean that those versions will have just a 250W motor and a top speed of 15.5 miles per hour. The U.S. version will have both a throttle and a pedal assist, while the European version just has pedal assist. The BQi will also be app-connected and feature many smart security features. It’ll be priced at $1,499 in the U.S., which is a pretty good deal for such a powerful e-bike. 

Okai

Okai, another Chinese manufacturer that supplies vehicles to many big-name shared operators, came to CES with five products, but only one of three can be ridden. Let’s start there. The EB20 e-bike is made from professional grade mountain bike components with a lightweight carbon fiber frame. It’s a 12-speed bike with a 750W motor, swappable Samsung batteries and a large 2.8-inch LED touchscreen. 

Okai also launched its ES600 sharing e-scooter to address the needs of the growing scooter-share industry. It features a swappable battery system with built-in handles on each battery, optimized weight distribution, a low center of gravity and a hydraulic suspension system. It also has side and front light indicators, LED headlights and taillights and side-mounted reflectors. The ES800 is an off-road performance scooter with a serious 1800W motor, 12-inch off-road tires, a 35% incline climb rate and dual shock absorbers. The weight of this heavy duty vehicle is 30% heavier than most e-scooters to provide more stability. 

Now, onto the products you can’t ride. Okai unveiled its SH10 smart helmet, made with antibacterial materials, to make for a safer and more hygienic commute. These are likely also geared towards the shared audience that are increasingly being required by cities to include helmets.

The helmet is integrated with Bluetooth to connect to the Okai app, from which riders can customize and configure front and rear LED displays to improve visibility. A smart integrated speaker also allows riders to listen to music without affecting aural awareness on the road.

Finally, Okai came to Vegas with its SP10 Smart Backpack that features an ultraviolet light disinfection chamber, a fingerprint sensor for secure access, integrated device charging and a customizable RGB strip that can be synced with the vehicle status. 

Bosch

Bosch showed up with its connected smart e-bike system which isn’t exactly new, but it was awarded honoree status at the CES Innovation Awards.

The system consists of the eBike Flow app that acts as a key, a control unit, display, rechargeable battery and drive unit. Like others at CES, the connected bike can be updated over-the-air, record personal ride info and fitness data, customize riding modes and display information like battery charge status and next service appointment on the home screen. 

Moonbikes

Image Credits: Moonbikes

Finally, just to keep things interesting, there was Moonbikes. Now, again, the company’s electric snow vehicle is not exactly new, but CES was really the first time people really got to check it out in person. It’s a single-track snowmobile that has a 3 kW (4hp) electric motor and reaches a 26 mile-per-hour top speed.

At only 182 pounds, it’s much lighter than your traditional snowmobile, which might make it easier to maneuver and play around on. It’s designed with a snow track on the rear and a single ski in front, and its battery can go about 12 miles in sport mode or 22 miles in eco mode. A full charge would take about five hours. 

Source: Tech

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Dashworks is a search engine for your company’s sprawling internal knowledge

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As a company grows, the amount of important information employees need to keep track of inevitably grows right along with it. And, as your tech stack gets more complicated, that information ends up split up across more places — buried in Slack threads, tucked into Jira tickets, pushed as files on Dropbox, etc.

Dashworks is a startup aiming to be the go-to place for all of that internal knowledge. Part landing page and part search engine, it hooks into dozens of different enterprise services and gives you one hub to find what you need.

On the landing page front, Dashworks is built to be your work laptop’s homepage. It’s got support for broadcasting company wide announcements, building out FAQs, and sharing bookmarks for the things you often need and can never find — your handbooks, your OKRs, your org charts, etc.

More impressive, though, is its cross-tool search. With backgrounds in natural language processing at companies like Facebook and Cresta, co-founders Prasad Kawthekar and Praty Sharma are building a tool that allow you to ask Dashworks questions and have them answered from the knowledge it’s gathered across all of those aforementioned Slack threads, or Jira tickets, or Dropbox files. It’ll give you a search results page of relevant files across the services you’ve hooked in — but if it thinks it knows the answer to your question, it’ll just bubble that answer right to the top of the page, Google Snippets style.

Image Credits: Dashworks

Right now Dashworks can hook into over 30 different popular services, including Airtable, Asana, Confluence, Dropbox, Gmail, Google Drive, Intercom, Jira, Notion, Slack, Salesforce, Trello, and a whole bunch more — with more on the way, prioritized by demand.

Giving another company access to all of those services and the knowledge within might be unsettling — something the Dashworks team seems quite aware of. Kawthekar tells me that their product is SOC-2 certified, that all respective data is wiped from their servers if you choose to disconnect a service, and that, for teams that are equipped to host the tool themselves, they offer a fully on-prem version.

This week Dashworks is announcing that it raised a $4M round led by Point72 ventures, backed by South Park Commons, Combine Fund, Garuda Ventures, GOAT Capital, Unpopular Ventures, and Starling Ventures. Also backing the round is a number of angels, including Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear and Gusto co-founders Josh Reeves and Tomer London. The company was also a part of Y Combinator’s W20 class.

Image Credits: Dashworks

Source: Tech

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Daily Crunch: Google will offer G Suite legacy edition users a ‘no-cost option’

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To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PST, subscribe here.

Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for January 28, 2022! It’s nearly blizzard o’clock where I am, so please enjoy the following newsletter as my final missive before hunkering down. In happier and better news, TechCrunch Early Stage is coming up in just a few months and not only am I hype about it, I’ll hopefully be there IRL. See you soon! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Google invests up to $1B in Airtel: With a $700 million investment and $300 million in “multi-year commercial agreements” with Airtel, and Indian telco, Google has made its second major bet on Indian infra. Recall that Google also put money into Jio, another Indian telco. The deal underscores the importance of the country in the future of technology revenues.
  • What’s ahead for Europe: On the heels of news that European startups had an outsized 2021 when it came to fundraising, TechCrunch explored what’s ahead for the continent. Some expect a slowdown from peak activity, while others anticipate further acceleration. Regardless of which perspective you favor, European venture investment is expected to remain elevated for some time to come.
  • Zapp raises $200M: And speaking of European startups, Zapp, the U.K.-based quick-convenience delivery startup, just raised a massive Series B. The company previously raised $100 million, meaning that this round was big in absolute and comparative terms. As we see some consolidation in the fast-delivery space, this deal caught our eye.

Startups/VC

  • Are charter cities the future for African tech growth? TechCrunch’s Tage Kene-Okafor has a great piece up on the site noting that “African cities have the fastest global urban growth rate,” which is leading to overcrowding. Some folks think that “charter cities offer a solution.” Special economic zones of all types have been tried before – will they offer African tech a faster route forward?
  • Personalized learning is hot: Our in-house edtech expert Natasah Mascarenhas has a great piece out today on personalized learning startups – Learnfully, Wayfinder, Empowerly, and others – that are taking the lessons of remote schooling to heart and working to make products that work better for our kids. It’s an encouraging, fascinating story.
  • Rise wants to remake team calendaring: There is no shortage of apps in the market to help individuals and teams work together. But we might not need as many as we have. That’s why Rise is making me think. The team calendaring app just raised a few million, and could replace a few tools that myself and friends use. I wonder if the solution to the Tool Overload of 2022 is tools that do less, intentionally.
  • Canvas wants non-tech folks to be able to squeeze answers from data: Developers are in short supply, so no-code tools that allow folks who don’t sling code to do their own building are blowing up. Similarly, a general dearth of data science talent in the market is creating space for tools like Canvas, which “is going all in with a spreadsheet-like interface for non-technical teams to access the information they need without bothering data teams,” TechCrunch reports.
  • Zigbang buys Samsung IoT business: The IoT promises of yesteryear are coming true, and not. Samsara recently went public on the back of its IoT business. That was a win for the category. That Zigbang, a South Korean proptech startup, is buying Samsung’s IoT unit feels slightly less bullish.
  • Series F-tw? Once upon a time I would have mocked a Series F as indication that the company in question had failed to go public. But that was then. Today Series Fs are not that rare. Indian B2B marketplace Moglix just raised one, which doubled its valuation to $2.6 billion. Tiger co-led the $250 million round.

And if you are looking down the barrel of a blizzard, TechCrunch’s Equity podcast has your downtime covered. Enjoy!

European, North American edtech startups see funding triple in 2021

Image Credits: Bet_Noire (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Pre-pandemic, VCs were notoriously reluctant to invest in education-related companies. Today, edtech startups are seeing higher average deal sizes, more seed and pre-seed funding from non-VC investors, and an influx of generalists.

According to Rhys Spence, head of research at Brighteye Ventures, funding for edtech startups based in Europe and North America trebled over the last year.

“Exciting companies are spawning across geographies and verticals, and even generalist investors are building conviction that the sector is capable of producing the same kind of outsized returns generated in fintech, healthtech and other sectors,” writes Spence.

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • Northern Light Venture Capital’s He Huang says the Chinese robotics market is overheated: Per the investor, robotics in China is “riddled with speculation and overvalued companies,” calling the situation a bubble. It’s worth noting that China’s central government is working to retool where its tech investment dollars flow.
  • Robinhood goes down, back up: This morning, in the wake of the company’s lackluster earnings report, TechCrunch dug through why Robinhood’s stock sold off in after-hours, pre-market, and early trading sessions yesterday and today. And then Robinhood turned around and gained ample ground during the rest of the day. It’s a weird market moment, but good news for the U.S. fintech all the same.
  • Google to allow legacy G Suite users to move to free accounts: After angering techies still using the “G Suite legacy free edition” by announcing that it was ending the program and requiring payment, the search giant has decided to ”offer more options to existing users,” TechCrunch reports. Somewhere inside of Google, a business decision just met the market and was flipped on its head. Makes you wonder who is calling the shots over there, and if they previously worked for McKinsey.

TechCrunch Experts

Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

TechCrunch wants you to recommend growth marketers who have expertise in SEO, social, content writing and more! If you’re a growth marketer, pass this survey along to your clients; we’d like to hear about why they loved working with you.

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3 experiments for early-stage founders seeking product-market fit

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At Human Ventures, we have a fund for pre-seed and seed-stage investments, a venture studio and an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program.

Through this work, we’ve discovered a lot about how different founders fulfill their journey of customer discovery and product-market fit. One of the largest challenges for pre-seed and seed stage founders is determining where to start: There are a million things to do. What should you do at each stage?

We interviewed three founders from our portfolio, all of whom ran discovery experiments to find their product-market fit at different stages of their company’s development.

Here’s what they had to share:

Pre-MVP/customer discovery phase: Tiny Organics

Tiny Organics is a plant-based baby and toddler food company on a mission to shape childrens’ palates so they’ll choose and love vegetables from their earliest days. The company raised $11 million in their Series A in 2021 and is growing at over 500% annually.

Founders Sofia Laurell and Betsy Fore joined our venture studio as EIRs and went through a six-week discovery sprint. As Sofia explains, they knew they wanted to build something to make parents’ lives easier and threw a lot of initial ideas at the wall from the Finnish baby box 2.0 (Sofia is Finnish) to an easier way to create Instagrammable baby pictures.

They went through multiple exercises to test the viability of new parents’ most pressing and urgent needs:

  • Conduct a “Start with Why” exercise
  • Define the “Jobs to be Done”
  • Create a lean canvas for each (viable) concept
  • Define the user journeys
  • Conduct user surveys using platforms like pollfish.com and 1Q (instant survey tool)
  • Identify and define their customer personas
  • Conduct customer interviews and synthesize them
  • Construct concept prototypes

They also met prospective customers, conducting a focus group of 10-15 moms. When the founders asked them to text them what they were feeding their children along with pictures for a week, they realized the lack of healthy finger foods in the market, thus sparking the idea for Tiny Organics.

Source: Tech

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