12 Apr 2017

Our Investment in ofo: reinventing bicycle sharing

It’s long been our conviction that entrepreneurs will solve humanity’s greatest and deepest challenges. With the global population expected to reach 9.7bn by 2050, and the rate of urbanisation increasing, we face few greater challenges than rising pollution and congestion in our cities. As our streets become ever more crowded, we need to rethink and reconfigure the way we live and move around — especially over short distances.

In China alone, the population makes around 1.8bn daily trips, but around 45% of those trips are shorter than 5km. Furthermore, fixed stations and stops often don’t serve travellers for “the last mile” of their journey. Cycling is the answer — it’s faster than walking, and provides better accessibility, for a lower cost — with the benefit of no carbon emissions.

Founded in Beijing in 2014 by Dai Wei, Yu Xin, Xue Ding and Zhang Siding, ofo is a fast-growing bicycle sharing platform. ofo uses innovative proprietary smartphone technology to dispense with docking stations, which removes the biggest pain point of existing shared cycle schemes. Its popularity — over 300m rides across more than 40 cities since launch — is testament to its appeal.

At Atomico we want to back the most ambitious founders tackling the biggest problems who are ready to go global, so we’re proud to announce we’ve participated in ofo’s Series D round. ofo is poised to become the first Chinese internet start-up company to scale globally and has clear potential to become a category winner. While our main investment focus is on Europe, we selectively invest in break-out companies in other geographies where we have expertise and can add real value by helping the company with global scaling.

We have been extremely impressed by ofo’s amazing founder team and look forward to partnering with them as they enter North America and Europe. Kelly Poon, our partner in China, and Niall Wass, our Partner who scaled Uber into 52 countries, will be working with Dai, Yu, Xue and Zhang on their mission to unlock every corner of the world by making bicycles available anytime and anywhere.

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