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Brexit is ‘big reason’ why UK hasn’t approved e-scooter regulations

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Voi Technologies electric scooters seen in April in central Paris. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images)

Brexit is a “big reason” why the UK has not yet approved the regulations needed to allow e-scooter firms to operate in the country, according to the founder of Voi Technologies.

“What we hear and feel is that Brexit is a big reason why things are moving so slowly,” said Fredrik Hjelm, whose e-scooter company on Monday raised $85m (£66m) to fund its expansion across Europe.

In an interview with the BBC, Hjelm said that his company did not have “high hopes” that it would be able to enter the UK market before Brexit is resolved, noting that “most other European countries have been quite quick in adapting and trying to find a good regulatory framework.”

READ MORE: Swedish e-scooter startup Voi raises $85m

Voi is one of several companies capitalising on the fast-growing urban mobility market in Europe — and the staggering rise of e-scooters in particular.

The company said on Monday that it now had over four million users, who in turn had taken more than 14 million rides.

Its latest funding round, led by Vostok New Ventures, a Swedish venture capital firm, will be used by Voi to focus on sustainability, profitability, and research and development.

READ MORE: Balderton, original backer of Revolut, launches new $400m fund for startups

Voi maintains that it has the “strongest unit economics” of all its peers, referring to the cost the company spends on each scooter.

“There’s been a huge demand for Voi’s e-scooters from residents across Europe in the last 12 months but making a landmark change to transport in Europe takes more than simply flooding cities with thousands of scooters,” said Hjelm, CEO and co-founder of Voi, in a statement on Monday.

“We are developing a long-term business that gives people a new way of moving around cities that’s clean, fast, convenient and also fun.”

Since its founding in 2018, Voi has launched in 38 cities across 10 European countries, including Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Helsinki, Bordeaux, and Oslo.