It is not every day that so many companies join forces and so naturally Zag is curious to know where Today will be focusing its efforts.
In fact the brand is covering “the entire value chain” of purpose-built hardware and Mobility-as-Service (Maas) for its customers, says Today’s Head of MaaS David Bothwell.
“But subscriptions are one of our core verticals to continue driving profitability. This is where we’re betting big.”
Todays Nottingham routes
As of three weeks ago, Bothwell was the Founder and Director of family-born Ottr, a booming e-moped subscription startup based out of Nottingham in the UK.
They offered a rolling monthly subscription where third-party liability insurance, a home charger, maintenance, which includes wear and tear, and home delivery and collection was all bundled into a monthly fee.
While the firm’s e-mopeds are designed for delivery riders, it has been “overwhelmed” by the amount of uptake from people using them for commuting and leisure purposes.
“What makes our subscriptions different is the uptake from the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker,” says Bothwelll.
“The main reason we have seen such traction in a short space of time is because we have customers from all walks of life who are now actively engaging a mode switch, not just delivery riders.”
On average these commuter customers take out an e-moped subscription for five months.
“Some people are very explicit about how long they want the e-moped for,” he says. “They’ll subscribe for the summer months and then once the nights start getting shorter, they bring it back. That’s fine by us.”
Subscriptions on the move
Today now offers 1,500 e-mopeds on a subscription which are currently being prepared or already deployed across the UK and EU. Its total fleet sums 8,000 vehicles and also includes e-scooters, e-bikes and e-cargo bikes.
“Now we’ve reached profitability and have a proven business model and slick customer journey, this allows us to move into what I call a factory model where we can lift and shift our operations into new unrepresented and strategic markets,” says Bothwell.
Today is looking for areas in Europe where there is less competition.
“Subscription will be travelling to Lisboa, and Dublin and another UK city very, very soon. Other delivery companies in Portugal have also already expressed an interest.”
One of the other core benefits of this model is that Today can ensure its vehicles are re-used and recycled the right way. “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
Recently, Today commissioned a research project with the University of Nottingham to understand the best waste stream for each vehicle type.
“We’ve looked at every single one of the waste streams and can confidently say that 92% of every asset that we take at the end is either recycled, reused or repurposed. Our Achilles heel is the remaining parts of our lithium-ion batteries, but we’ve got a local provider in the UK that refurbishes and recycles these.”
Today believes that the growth of subscription commerce outside of micromobility is a clear signal where the industry is heading.
A Forbes study reported that the global subscription e-commerce market is expected to grow from $72 to $904bn by 2026.
In the UK, Barclays Bank revealed that the subscription economy increased by 39% year-on-year in July and is now worth £323m. And that has been sustained post COVID.
“While we’re focusing on small vehicles for small journeys, why should micromobility be any different to global and national spending trends? We need to follow that global trend,” says Bothwell. “And that’s where I think we are absolutely on the money, not only today ensuring profitability, but as the market scales we are in pole position to be able to capitalise on that.”
Although the subscription model that Today has taken up is the e-moped, Bothwell tells Zag that this is not the end goal.
“The idea is that our users will be able to switch between different micromobility modes during the subscription as and when they see fit, depending on the use case for the customer. That’s what gets us really excited about the future.”
Over the next 12 months a large part of Today’s journey of growth and continued profitability will be focused on scaling its tried and tested subscription operations, as well as licencing for local operators.
Zag asks if more mergers could be on the cards too? “Yes, all I can say at this stage is that we’re in talks with some operators and OEM’s and more acquisitions are expected in the next 12 months,” he concludes.