The brainchild of co-founders Arturs Burnins and Arturs Nikiforovs, ATOM Mobility came out of the realization that, to grow and scale, their best strategy would be to focus on the software versus the product.
That product was a scooter-sharing service in Riga, a cosmopolitan city and the capital of Latvia, on the southern tip of the Baltic Sea. The two started the business in 2018, and after great success with their initial fleet, they realized the potential in the growing trend of micro-mobility (renting bicycles and scooters). By focusing on the software, they could grow and scale their business without a heavy investment in capital (more scooters, more maintenance, and more overhead).
ATOM Mobility is designed for entrepreneurs who want to streamline their own micro-mobility and peer-to-peer transportation with a turnkey program that does all the setup for them. As they boast, “All the technology you need to launch and scale your own sharing business. Whether it is kick scooter sharing, scooter, bike, moped or even car sharing.”
InsiderApps caught up with Jürgen Sahtel, Partnerships and Project Manager for ATOM Mobility, and got the inside story on how this innovative company continues to grow and improve its services.
JS: We started just over three years ago, when our co-founders started their own sharing fleet, and one of the first in the Baltic region. Things took off quickly, and they realized that they should think about doubling down on developing the software side of things.
The goal for offering the software solution from the get-go was the whole EU as a market. The business took off fast because we met the entrepreneurs where they were - googling how to start a scooter-sharing business.
After the EU, we expanded to a more global reach.
One of our first customers became the number one downloaded app in Latvia, a country of almost 2,000,000, in just one week. It was exciting because they had first partnered with a larger company for renting their e-scooters, and then decided to start their own independent service offering e-bikes. By tying in what they were already doing, with the ease of our program, they could control their own future.
JS: Oh sure, there are many. About 1.5 years ago I did some research and figured that there were about 400-500 or so on-demand vehicle-sharing businesses across the globe. However, there are only about three players that we consider relevant competition as they offer a turn-key white-label software solution. We have about 100 clients actively using our services, so we are very proud of our market share, especially since we just started in 2018. We can confidently say that we probably power a minimum of 10% of all the on-demand, public-facing vehicle-sharing operations on the globe, if not more than that. In the last year and a half, since doing that research, for example, our business has more than doubled, from 40 to 100 operators.
JS: I think our program is technically much more sound, reliable and dependable. We offer a much better end-user experience, and it’s super easy to scale. We have clients all throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Americas. With our focus on constantly improving the software, we can, and have, enabled a business launch in just three days. That’s how dialed-in we are with getting things up and running, and helping entrepreneurs start a vehicle-sharing service. And we can also help facilitate larger vehicles. For example, we have a client who uses ATOM Mobility for cars, another for boats. Forklifts, even.
JS: That’s something that sets us apart, as well. We help our clients grow and scale their businesses by offering “plug and play” modules, which they can add to their core offerings. Long or short-term car rentals and ride-hailing, for instance. Or modules that can integrate food or grocery shopping and delivery services with an on-demand vehicle sharing model.
Our peer-to-peer module is something we’ve developed, but haven’t had any takers since the problem seems to be on the side of getting enough people who want to share their vehicle and rent it out. But I’m sure that’s something that we’ll see more and more of, and we’re ready for that.
JS: We are constantly developing new features for our program, and that’s all done through listening to our customers. So, our future is dependent on what our customers are looking for and asking about. We also offer solutions that don’t fit the typical on-demand vehicle sharing model.
For example, fleet management for corporations or municipalities. Our software makes it user-friendly for employees and it means fast adaptability. Entities can increase and optimize their fleet usage, which helps them to get rid of excess vehicles, which in turn saves them a huge amount of money on maintenance and other vehicle-related expenses.
Traditionally corporate fleet management would have vehicles usually booked by one person for a day, or 3 hours, or any amount. And no one else can use the car at that time. However, since our system is on-demand, an employee could take a car, and park it at their other office across town, for example. They could end the ride there, which would then make the car available for anybody in that other office. And once they come back from that office, they use another or the same car for 1 hour again. So instead of "keeping the car for 1 day", they can "keep it" only for the usage time and allow others to use the car meanwhile.
So, by using our software, corporations and municipalities that have significant fleet and headcount, could optimize their vehicle usage and get rid of 20% of their excess vehicles for example.
JS: We’ve always been transparent on how we develop our model, and that has also always been based on our clientele. So, my basic advice would be to listen to your customers. Develop features for your clients, and anticipate their needs. It’s easy to say that we’re in the mobility business, but really we’re in the business of helping entrepreneurs develop their own vehicle-sharing enterprise.