Zipp Mobility has eyes on getting UCD students moving around campus

E-scooter rental company solving short hop and ‘last mile’ travel needs

Charlie Gleeson on one of his Zipp scooters on the UCD campus

Charlie Gleeson on one of his Zipp scooters on the UCD campus

 

 While e-scooters are fast becoming part of the mobility landscape in many cities, the meteoric rise of rental scooters as a fast, cheap way to get around hasn’t been without its problems. Pedestrians don’t like sharing their space, broken scooters are being abandoned by the roadside and the high cost of using gig-economy workers has seen start-ups in the sector burning through cash. But Zipp Mobility founder Charlie Gleeson is undeterred. He says he has learned from others’ mistakes and is taking a different approach.

 Gleeson set up Zipp last June and its first scooters will go into service in April, more than likely within the geofenced area of the 330-acre University College Dublin campus with other campuses to follow. He has chosen this route to market because of unresolved legislative issues. Legislation to regulate e-scooters is coming, but currently it’s not possible to get a fleet license for public roads. Gleeson is hoping that because he will have already launched and scaled within multiple campus settings, local authorities will look favourably on his application for public road licenses when the time comes.

 The number of scooters per campus will depend on potential user volume and users will pay 75 cent to unlock a scooter and 20 cent a minute to use it. Third-party insurance is included in the rental cost. “Our service involves three easy steps,” Gleeson says. “Download the Zipp app. Locate your nearest scooter using the GPS locator. Scan the code to initiate the electrics then ride to your destination.” As with bike rental, there will be multiple pick-up and drop-off points.

GPS tracking

One of the most obvious differences between a Zipp scooter and others already in use is its size. It is a heavy-duty, non-foldable scooter built for B2B use and comes with in-built GPS tracking to deter thieves. If someone tries to take a Zipp scooter off campus it emits a warning beep before shutting down.

 Gleeson chose commercial grade scooters because one of the problems the early start-ups faced was a high rate of hardware attrition: lightweight scooters simply fell apart after a couple of weeks. Zipp scooters have a battery life of 10 years and a range of 50km. When it comes to charging, Gleeson has also gone a different route opting for swappable batteries that can be changed at the kerbside. This removes the need to have people collecting scooters 24/7, bringing them in for charging and returning them to the pick-up points.

“We will employ full-time staff which will increase our gross profit margin while avoiding potential ethical issues associated with gig-economy employment,” he says.

  Gleeson was inspired to create Zipp because he was frustrated trying to get around Irish cities. “I had seen the success of e-scooter rental elsewhere and thought this kind of service would be perfect to increase accessibility to Ireland’s public transport links,” he says.

 “We’re addressing two main travel-related issues: congestion and carbon emissions. Both are caused by the so-called ‘last-mile problem’. Bike rental only solves one part of a two-part problem because it’s limited to the city centre and doesn’t address last-mile transportation in suburban areas. Zipp Mobility does.”

 Gleeson is a graduate of the Lochlann Quinn School of Business at UCD. He has participated in the college’s programme for student entrepreneurs and most recently in the VentureLaunch accelerator at NovaUCD. Investment in the business, which now employs three people with five more jobs to come this year, has been €50,000 from Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund. Zipp is now in the process of initiating a seed round of €500,000.   

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.