Filippos Kyprianou

Vonage for Startups

Filippos is running our Startup program at Vonage. He is passionate about all things innovation, startups and positive social impact.

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Startup Spotlight Series: Let's meet UrbanAir

Last updated on May 11, 2022

In a previous startup spotlight, we discussed how the urban mobility revolution is picking up in Europe. And who is behind this revolution? Of course, startups across Europe are leading the way to and 2021 saw a breaking record for investment in European mobility startups across all stages. According to Dealroom, European Mobility startups raised $14B in 2021, an all-time high, and 2.7x compared to 2020, a combined enterprise value of $227 billion.

There are now 34 mobility unicorns in Europe, which means competition among players is fierce. However, the market is very fragmented when you want to pick a scooter, or a car, as there are multiple providers across completely separate applications. Currently, a user needs to use multiple apps to find a mobility option that suits their needs, causing great friction in their experience.

UrbanAir, a startup based in Bucharest Romania, is aiming to solve this current fragmentation and enable users to seamlessly choose a mobility provider in one application. This week, we chatted with their CTO, Andrei Radulescu, to discuss the company’s vision and plans for the future. Enjoy!

The startup at a glance

Startup Name: UrbanAir

Industry: Alternative Mobility / Transportation

Location: Bucharest, Romania

Date founded: Oct 2019

Number of employees: 10

Vonage API used: Numbers APIs

In one sentence, what does UrbanAir do?

UrbanAir is a mobile app where you find & ride all shared mobility vehicles around you - e-scooters, bikes, scooters, carsharing - wherever you travel globally, our mission is to accelerate the urban mobility revolution towards multi-modal, sustainable transportation.

What is the problem you are solving? Was this the initial problem or did you pivot?

There is a lot of fragmentation when you want to pick a scooter, or a car, to reach your destination.

Just imagine if public transit had 10 different ticket companies in one city - this is where we are with sharing mobility today.

We solve it by bringing all shared mobility options (scooters, bikes, mopeds, cars) in one app.

The product pivoted a lot to find the best way to provide unique value to the users. We are the only app with 100% coverage in target cities thanks to our proprietary tech stack that allows us to easily integrate any mobility provider in the world. We provide a unified riding experience to users, increasing ease of use for these modes.

What differentiates UrbanAir from your competitors? Is there a secret sauce?

Most competitors only have the option to find the mobility options and then you need to switch to the provider app to make the ride. UrbanAir offers a full end-to-end unlock for all providers and is currently the leading integrator with over 100 providers globally.

VC, Angel, Bootstrap or Other?

UrbanAir has secured an investment of EUR 600,000 from investment fund Early Game Ventures (EGV). And we are fundraising right now.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?

Our biggest challenge was to find a way to integrate as many mobility providers in the shortest amount of time and maintain the integrations.

We developed a proprietary tech stack to allow us to integrate any shared-mobility provider in under 1 day, without requiring the provider to build a new API or update its existing API.

Also, having a unified experience for all providers and all vehicle types was a great challenge. Whether a bike or a car, scanning a QR or returning a bike to a dock, all of these scenarios are supported.

The biggest mistake UrbanAir has made so far and what did you learn from it?

When we started our journey we wanted UrbanAir apps to have everything: ridesharing, delivery, public transit, even DRT buses. We realized that focusing on one thing and one thing only will have the greatest impact.

You can choose one to be on your board: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Who do you choose and why?

Elon Musk mostly because we act quickly, believing that things always will work out for the best and maybe just being crazy.

How have you been using Vonage’s APIs?

Right now we are testing the Communications APIs as a 3rd party in our proprietary integration tech stack. In order for this to work, we need to automatically create and maintain a number of “user accounts” for every provider we integrate. This is because we use the provider’s existing APIs and their user accounts system to make the integration. Since most of the providers use phone number authentication to log in, programmatic phone numbers are essential for this to work.

What progress have you made since launching?

Right now UrbanAir is live in over 185 cities, with over 100 integrations. We just started commission-based integrations and building growth mechanics.

What’s next for UrbanAir? Where do you want to be in 3 years?

3 years is a lot for a startup, but our goal for UrbanAir is to have every provider on the planet integrated. Wouldn’t it just be great to open one app and see every possible means of transportation? Just pick one and go.

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