Author: Dani Horwitz, CEO, VMAX Mobility
Launching a scooter brand in a new market? Grip the handlebars tight, it’s more than just a casual cruise.
Having just entered the US with VMAX Electric Scooters, I’ve been looking to gain a state of the nation view on the North American micromobility market.
Micromobility America 2023 in San Francisco – where founders, policymakers and investors converged last week – presented the perfect opportunity. Here are eight trends and takeaways from our experience.
This year, there was definitely a spotlight on safety, especially battery safety. The Department of Transportation even set up its own booth, focusing on the ins and outs of lithium battery transport. At the VMAX booth, we were asked many times about our batteries and were happy to tell people that UL certification is standard with all our scooters. And it was Swifty Scooters that picked up the Gold prize at the Startup Awards, primarily for its innovative Lithium FerroPhosphate (LFP) battery design that resists thermal runaway – a brilliant design that can stamp out the possibility of any further battery fires in our industry.
Micromobility Going Mainstream
This year there was a noticeable shift in the micromobility audience. Beyond just enthusiasts, the floor was a mix of eager newcomers and seasoned experts. At VMAX, we balanced teaching scooter basics to novices while engaging in in-depth technical talks with pros. But whether novice or pro, the smiles after a VMAX test ride were universal, highlighting the broadening mainstream appeal of micromobility.
Shared Mobility Subsides
There was a noticeable absence of the major “shared mobility” companies at the event, apart from a few product managers looking for inspiration. This shift from previous trends might be indicative of the industry’s evolution, potentially signalling a favourable turn for companies like VMAX championing private scooter ownership.
Services Surge in Micromobility
Though hardware often steals the spotlight with its flashy new products, the services and accessories segment of micromobility is notably on the rise. The industry now encompasses everything from insurance and legal support to inventive public charging solutions. This growth underscores the industry’s maturation, as stakeholders address the broader needs of riders and manufacturers alike.
For any brand navigating the North American market, establishing ties with industry journalists and influencers is crucial. Micromobility America offers an unparalleled platform for building these vital connections. A tip for potential exhibitors: One of the privileges of participating is early access to the media list. Capitalise on this by researching who is attending and strategising your interactions well before the event begins.
Evident from the numerous conversations we had with fleet managers over the two-day conference, the fleet trend continues its upward trajectory. Whether for delivery or leisure, fleet management is becoming a pivotal part of the micromobility landscape.
Swiss Chocolate Draws a Crowd
Swag is a must-have at any event, and for a Swiss brand like VMAX making its US debut, distributing Swiss chocolate was an obvious choice. But more than the treat, it was the conversations around our booth that truly stood out. New to the US scene, many were eager to know VMAX’s backstory and discover our range of e-scooters. Keep that in mind – the simplest (or sweetest) giveaways can pave the way for the most engaging discussions.
A Tip for the Organisers
Embracing the Grassroots: While the Micromobility Conference stands out as a premier hub for industry leaders, I noticed the absence of local riding groups and the vibrant grassroots riding community I’ve encountered at more niche events. Here’s a suggestion for future editions: why not delve deeper into community engagement? Beyond just providing a test track, why not host races for various vehicles, from e-skates and EUCs to electric scooters? Tapping into this grassroots spirit could not only enrich the event experience but also bridge the gap between industry and community enthusiasts.
Having been a part of Micromobility Industries events since 2022, it’s evident that the conference consistently delivers. The organisers genuinely care about the industry and it shows. VMAX is proud to have sponsored such a valuable event, and we’re already looking forward to next year.