Each week, we review the press, highlighting and responding to interesting and relevant articles in the news.

Macro-advances in Micro-mobility

Did you know that mass-produced motorised scooters have been around since 1915? The first motorised Autopeds had both electric and gasoline options, thereby paving the way for the e-scooter boom of the past few years. NACTO reported that between 2018-2019, there were over 220 million scooter-share trips. Micromobility solutions, like the e-scooter, are increasingly becoming more sophisticated in order to provide a greener, COVID-friendly alternative to public transport. However, there has been considerable reluctance about jumping on the e-scooters trend, particularly considering restrictions and safety. Xiaomi and HalfordsPlanet E-Scooter shows an interactive map of e-scooter restrictions across the globe. To encourage ridership, e-scooter ride-share companies are looking for new ways to implement accountability and safety into their fleet. This week, Bird has implemented a Skid Detection feature in order to curb reckless riding. This safety feature allows the company to identify and potentially ban joyriding users. As more and more cities adopt innovative micromobility transport options, considering the safety mechanisms is key to the industry’s long-term success. As such, we expect to see an influx in investment going into capabilities such as Bird’s Skid Detection.

Source: Moley Robotics

Rosie from The Jetsons may become a reality

Did you also want a robo-maid like Rosie to do household chores and cook for you? Well we did, and that’s why we’re very excited about the Moley Robotic Kitchen that is set to finally come to homes this year. After 6 years in development, UK-based Moley Robotics announced the world’s first consumer robo-chef, complete with robotic hands mimicking human movement developed with German robotic company SCHUNK. We think it’s important to address the fact that Moley has no plans of making chefs obsolete. Instead, Moley employs the creativity and innovation that is integral to cooking by collaborating with acclaimed chefs, including Tim Anderson of BBC MasterChef. Moley plans to have over 5000 recipe choices for users to pick from, adding more every month. Altio is excited to see what Moley can do for FoodTech, particularly the potential to increase efficiency and reduce food waste. Personally, as someone who routinely sets things on fire when I cook, an automated robo-chef sounds like a god-send.

All eyes on India

It’s been a busy week for Indian startups, so we’ve pulled together some of the big news from fundraising and expansion in India this week. Firstly, Tide India is positioned to launch in Q1 2021 as part of the British FinTech’s plans for international growth. This news is particularly interesting and disruptive as British FinTechs typically turn to the US first for international expansion. Secondly, agritech startup DeHaat has received $30M investment from Prosus Ventures to develop their full-stack agricultural services on a single platform. DeHaat has the ability to link farmers to buyers, digitising and optimising the agricultural industry. Thirdly, the delivery courier startup Dunzo has raised $40M from Google, Lightbox, Evolvence, and others. This is part of Google’s master project to invest $10Bn into digital projects in India over the next 5-7 years, so we will see many Google-backed Indian startups in the coming years. Finally, the cloud-based HR platform Darwinbox raised $15M in Series C funding from Salesforce Ventures. Darwinbox has experienced great success in the last year and a half, placing the startup third in revenue, behind only SAP and Oracle, in India’s HR SaaS and industry. The recent insertion of funding into the Indian startup ecosystem bodes well for the country’s 2021 outlook. The digitisation shift is taking the country by storm, and Altio will be watching how startups lead India out of the pandemic.