“Legislation needs to be an enabler, not a disabler.”—Industry Insiders #1
Tom Nutley of Urban Sharing talks to us about sustainability, his predictions for the future of the industry, and his opinions on regulations.
Tom Nutley of Urban Sharing
We caught up with Tom Nutley of Urban Sharing at Autonomy in Paris to find out his predictions for the shared mobility industry.
Urban Sharing, based in Oslo, provides software solutions to make micromobility profitable, ranging from fleet management and optimisation to a consultancy data platform. Tom’s interest in the sector began in 2016 when he worked with BICO AI, formerly Stage Intelligence, which provides an AI SaaS to global operators, and he was head over heels from then on.
“The industry is moving very quickly, it’s exciting, it’s disruptive, and super innovative. Everyone has a common goal of trying to drive sustainable mobility; it’s a nice place to be.”
Fluctuo: Is sustainability a topic of importance for you?
Tom: Yeah, especially since I have a two-year-old, so it’s become a bigger thing. There are just easier ways of getting around than in a car, which is what the world is trying to work towards.
What are your predictions for the future of the industry?
From a micromobility perspective, I think the operational business model will change. More people will want physical docks, physical infrastructure, because it looks better and works better from an operational headache viewpoint. Battery swapping is very expensive!
Everyone knows what the demand is. No one is getting ahead by putting bikes or scooters somewhere different, so people are generally moving towards a similar model of bikes, scooters, and batteries, so why not have a centralised operations team?
From a political perspective, I was at the CIE (Cycling Industries Europe) conference two weeks ago, and I think the European parliament is moving in the right direction. They’ve always set the agenda, especially with cycling.
“To sum it up in terms of predictions, hopefully bigger, better systems!”
Do you have an opinion on regulations e.g. countries whose legislation is too strict or lax?
Operators don’t get subsidies because scooters aren’t valued as a public transport mode. There’s the most successful scheme in the world and yet they’re about to chuck scooters out of the city (in reference to the upcoming Paris vote)! They were disruptive with how easy they are to use, with cool new modes compared to some bike-share systems which are fifteen years old and don’t work well. Scooters have educated the industry about what is possible in a short amount of time.”
What we need is public-private partnerships that enable scale, together with academia, learning from other industries. Micromobility needs to learn from other industries, such as public transport, which has been around for a lot longer; we’re still very new, unknown, and immature in comparison. There are failures: sponsors not being found, operators leaving markets. We want to build that back up and keep some level of consistency.
I like the competition of having one or three operators in an area. It promotes innovation, a standard.
“Legislation needs to be an enabler, not a disabler.”
What’s your greatest achievement in the industry?
Our work with Milan, Bikemi. It’s a system with around 4,000 bikes, a mix of mechanical and electric, and they have child bikes too. They were operating on a legacy software system, they didn’t want to change their hardware. We were brought in to update their fleet management system both backend and frontend during Covid, which was a massive achievement as it had never been done before in that environment.
What do you and your company hope to achieve in the future?
World domination. Nah, I’m kidding; we have a micromobility fleet operations platform called Urban Crew. We are speaking to operators about their challenges, and reviewing existing providers, to launch the next generation of operations optimisation software. So we will be able to come in and provide a better solution, disrupt the market, and be their go-to to solve their problems; that’s what we’re aiming for in the next twelve months. Profitability would be a nice side piece!
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