Russian e-scooter startup raises $16 million to become regional leader

23 April 2021

A e-scooter startup called Urent has raised 1.2 billion rubles (nearly $16 million at the current exchange rate) in equity funding and loans. The investor pool includes Citimobil, a Russian ride-sharing company, Sber, the state-controlled digital and finance giant Sber, and Sistema SmartTech, a new venture vehicle of the Sistema conglomerate.

The latter contributed 200 million rubles ($2.65 million) to the deal. Urent’s founders also provided an undisclosed amount.

Launched in 2018 in Krasnodar, Southern Russia, the startup currently operates 30,000 electric scooters in 20 Russian cities including Moscow. According to company information cited by Vedomosti, Urent generated some 800 million rubles in revenues in 2020 ($11 million at the average exchange rate of the year).

The fresh funding will be used to double the number of scooters, and expand activity to new cities across Russia and other Eastern European countries. Urent plans to raise another 700 million rubles in the near future, according to VC.RU.

Government-connected VC

Urent is the first investee company of Sistema SmartTech. Founded in 2020, this fund is headed by Ksenia Shoigu, the daughter of Russia’s defense minister Sergey Shoigu. She is an athlete who heads the Russian Triathlon Federation.

According to its website, Sistema SmartTech aims to raise 5 billion rubles (around $66 million, incl. 30% brought in by Sistema) to invest in Russian and foreign high tech companies at the seed and early stages. The strategy focuses on “digital products and services, biotechnologies and artificial intelligence,” as well as “IT in medicine, education, logistics and transport, digital solutions in industry,” plus “trends and niches formed under the influence of COVID-19.”

Sistema’s press service has yet to answer EWDN’s repeated media inquiries.

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