Scooter Start-up GOAT Takes a Franchise Approach to Expansion

August 1, 2018
Updated 9mo ago

By Jacqueline Corba

Electric scooter start-up GOAT is taking a different approach to expanding outside its home market of Austin, Tex.ーrather than setting up shop in new cities, it's trying to sell its own fleets to wannabe transportation moguls around the country.

Co-founder and CEO Michael Schramm says the strategy was borne out of demand to get into the booming industry.

"There's only, in addition to GOAT, four other companies operating with active scooters on the ground in the United States," Schramm told Cheddar on Wednesday. "There are hundreds who want to compete in the space."

"For us, it was about, 'Let's reduce these barriers.' The alternative is that they're going to invest millions, try to build out the technology. "

In a few weeks, ambitious 'investors' can buy their fleets through a Kickstarter campaign. Vehicles start at $595 and go as high as $1,199, depending on factors of supply and demand.

"You don't need 500 to turn a profit, you can turn a profit on one," said Schramm. "It's a tremendous business opportunity for regular local businesses."

There's one other benefit to GOATーthe company won't have to deal with local legislation. Transit authorities have been cracking down on e-scooter companies over the last few months. San Francisco officials, for example, pulled Lime, Bird, and Spin scooters off city streets in June, pending a review of new permit applications.

GOAT will provide the scooters, technology, and insurance for vehicles. But fleet investors will be responsible for negotiating with local transit authorities.

GOAT, which has been operating in Austin since May, has a deal with city officials to operate in the Texas capital. The start-up is self-funded, unlike bigger players Lime and Bird, which have each raised more than $400 million in venture capital funding.

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