An agreement and merger plan have been reached between Helbiz, a pioneer in micromobility, and Wheels Labs, Inc. (collectively, “Wheels”). Wheels was established in 2018 and is run by seasoned professionals from the shared transportation and micromobility sectors. Jonathan and Joshua Viner created Wheels, and investments were driven by Tarkan Maner, a former CEO of Wyse and Nexenta and current Chief Commercial Officer of Nutanix, as well as Ben Boyer, General Partner of Tenaya Capital, and Duncan Davidson, a founding partner of Bullpen Capital. After the merger, which is anticipated to occur in November 2022 subject to customary closing circumstances, Helbiz’s North American micro-mobility business will be led by Wheels CEO Marco McCottry, who has past experience at top micro-mobility players Bird, Ofo, and Uber.
Wheels would bring to Helbiz a user base of over five million individuals, exclusive contracts serving B2B partners and colleges, patented next-generation technology, exclusive IP including the industry’s first sharing helmet system, and a staff to speed up U.S. expansion. Notably, Helbiz will enter the sizable Los Angeles market through the deal thanks to Wheels’ strong presence there. The automobile manufactured by Wheels is a patented, one-of-a-kind product. It is a user-friendly sit-down scooter with innovative onboard helmet storage that can make micromobility more accessible to a larger range of people.
Salvatore Palella, founder and CEO of Helbiz, declared,
“In Wheels, we have found the right partner for the next phase of growth for our company,” said Helbiz Founder and CEO Salvatore Palella. “Wheels is unique in the micro-mobility sector due to its impressive vehicle, proprietary technology, and deep operating expertise. As a combined company, Helbiz will expand its access to markets –including the only operator to serve every L.A. neighborhood – further differentiate our business model, and extend our technology leadership. This merger creates an even stronger foundation to power our growth going forward.”
“The addition of their long-term rental business for individuals and organizations on our revenue will be significant,” Palella said. “We will use it to bring value and achieve profitability.”
“The acquisition of Wheels would expand Helbiz’s core mobility business, bolstering the combined company’s ability to operate in 67 markets globally,” said Helbiz CFO Giulio Profumo. “On a combined basis, the company expects to deliver over $25 million in revenue for the full year of 2022, doubling Helbiz’s annual revenue compared to the 12 months ended December 31, 2021. With the addition of Wheels’ direct partnerships with universities and businesses along with month-to month rentals for individuals, Helbiz will be better positioned to provide targeted mobility solutions to its growing customer base.”
“We intend to restructure the combined company to accelerate our path to profitability by a combination of higher margin from the Wheels business, operational savings from redundancies across both companies, and reductions in the cost of revenue,” said Profumo. “The combined company expects to achieve positive gross profit margin within the next nine months and expects to achieve profitability at the operating level within the next 24 months. The combination creates a more resilient business model, and Helbiz remains focused on achieving profitable operations, while continuing to invest to drive aggressive growth. We are excited about our potential in the months ahead.”
Helbiz anticipates Wheels to deliver a varied business model to Helbiz that mixes month-to-month rentals for people, direct collaborations with institutions or enterprises, and dockless rental licenses in cities. Through partnerships with enterprises and colleges, it is possible to enter new markets quickly because there is no longer any need to obtain new permits from local authorities. For E&I Cooperative Services, Wheels is the only micro-mobility provider, allowing for quick access to university procurement. Direct interactions with organizations enable the utilization of products in a manner that is more constant and predictable. Additionally, Wheels is a favored vehicle among food delivery drivers due to its month-to-month renting policy. Notably, Wheels and Uber Eats have a direct agreement that makes it simple for new drivers to find a car.
“We are passionate and proud about the company we’ve built, and we are excited about this next phase with Helbiz,” said Wheels CEO Marco McCottry. “The combined company can bring our sitdown scooter to even more people. Helbiz has an excellent team with a depth of technology ability that I believe can accelerate our growth and opportunities. With the combined resources and increased efficiency, we will be able to accelerate our personal and corporate long term rental business, bring Wheels to a global audience and build a path to profitability.”
Users of Helbiz will initially see links within the app that will direct them to the Wheels app in order to rent a vehicle. Helbiz wants to release a fully integrated app in the upcoming months.
Visitors to investors.helbiz.com can examine the companies’ investor presentation. Closing is subject to the usual filings and processes.