Rethinking the logistics challenge for micromobility

Meet JUMPWatts, one of the start-ups working with business leaders through Xynteo’s Leadership Vanguard programme to accelerate its journey to scale.

Micromobility could play an important role in decarbonising urban transport, especially post-Covid where the use of public transport has declined. However, micromobility faces a logistical challenge that impacts both profitability and its carbon footprint (owing to vans driving around cities to pick up and move scooters and bikes).

JUMPWatts has developed a solution – remote logistics for companies in the micromobility space. Bryan Ovalle, COO and co-founder of JUMPWatts, told us more about their journey in a Q&A with our Leadership Vanguard team.

  • Tell us about your product, what is JUMPWatts?

We’re a team of solution developers with a deep mix of business, technology, operations, and product development experience. We have created easy-to-integrate remote repositioning and parking compliance technology for shared micromobility vehicles (such as e-scooters and e-bikes). We have developed hardware systems that pair with a teleoperation software platform for sustainable, remote management of shared fleet logistics. Our aim is to help fleet operators solve the profitability challenge, increase rider access, and bring order to city sidewalks to accelerate micromobility in new markets.

  • Why JUMPWatts? What’s the problem you’re solving and why’s it important?

We started JUMPWatts as a charging solution for fleet operators but working alongside our initial customers, we realised that there was a problem with the industry economics, which needed to be remodeled in order for the sector to flourish in the long-term. We moved to solve what we see as the real issue plaguing shared micromobility, which is how you effectively and efficiently manage a distributed set of scooters across cities. Micromobility operators suffer from profitability issues and logistics are the largest operational cost.

So, we developed a Virtual Valet management system and teleoperation service that allows fleet operators to move scooters remotely, without the need for physical human intervention. This enables a whole new economics, increasing ride revenue by enabling scooters to be repositioned to areas of high demand, decreasing background operating costs, increasing safety, and reducing carbon emissions associated with vehicle logistics.

  • What are the existing solutions to this & how is JUMPWatts different?

Existing solutions are inefficient, relying on manual retrieval of scooters that is both carbon-emitting (unnecessary vehicle kilometers), costly, and prone to injuries. JUMPWatts provides an exponentially more efficient solution, enabling a single remote teleoperator to manage and reposition up to 500 scooters.

  • What are the biggest challenges you’re facing as a start-up and how are you working to overcome them?

We’re looking for innovative cities open to collaboration and willing to trial new technology. Like most start-ups, balancing different objectives of the business with the resources we have is always going to be a challenge initially. We have been fortunate enough to partner with high quality organisations such as Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, Cleantech Open Accelerator and of course, Xynteo's Leadership Vanguard programme to develop our networks for collaboration with cities.

  • How has Covid impacted the space?

Covid provided a sudden shock to all mass transit and shared mobility. Micromobility responded to the public's desire for a safe, socially distanced form of personal transport. The pandemic has underscored how fragile our city and transportation infrastructure is and highlighted the need to: reclaim land use from cars, provide more open space for communities, and develop more resilient transportation networks for the masses. There is now a shining opportunity for innovative thinking and collaboration between cities, communities, and businesses to build back better and micromobility has shown to be a key element in this.

  • What are the key trends likely to shape micromobility in 2021?

We feel that remote repositioning system technology is the most impactful potential change to the space, as the benefits are numerous and immediate. Beyond that, frictionless payments across multimodal travel is another large opportunity for the industry. We must all continue working until sustainable transportation is easy enough to be a truly viable alternative to car ownership for point-to-point travel.

  • What’s been your biggest learning experience since starting JUMPWatts?

Our biggest learning experience has been making sure we obsess over the problem. By directly understanding and focusing on the real pain points of our customers and industry, we can ensure that we are designing the correct solution to resolve them.

  • What would make the biggest impact on your ability to scale?

Strategic partnerships and additional resources to fund personnel and mature operations would increase our ability to scale exponentially. This would enable us to accelerate the expansion of our footprint and meet the needs of our industry more rapidly.

  • What priorities have you set for your work with the Leadership Vanguard catalysts?

The priorities we set when working with catalysts are ensuring we have foundational guidance on JUMPWatts’ financial modelling, pitching, and creation of a logistics platform. We also create an environment for a free flow of idea exchanges as information changes to make sure we’re progressing holistically and catering to the needs of the company. As start-up life is so dynamic, you have to make sure you’re staying current with the shifting priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the process. What is a priority today could change rapidly as new data is learned or landscapes shift, so you need to be fairly nimble.

  • What have your biggest insights and learning experiences been from working with catalysts in the Leadership Vanguard?

That the devil is in the details! They have challenged us to really roll up our sleeves and get into the nitty gritty of structuring and validating high quality assumptions and estimates. Leaning on their corporate management expertise and experience with scaling has been a massive benefit to our trajectory.

  • What can corporates do more of to support start-ups like yours?

Corporates can collaborate and foster small-scale pilot partnerships within their operations to support start-ups in a real-world environment. Additionally, more programmes like the Leadership Vanguard where start-ups can gain access to mentorships or funding would be a huge contribution to the evolution of promising young companies.

To find more about the Leadership Vanguard, connect with the team. To learn more about JUMPWatts’ story, follow them here