Mobility made smart and secure: Flasher meets TIER mobility in TALK
- 11. November 2021
- Posted by:
- Category: Blog Category, sensor technology, smart city
A cooperation between the Silicon Alps partners Flasher and TIER Mobility results in higher security for micromobiles.
The Silicon Alps partners Flasher and TIER Mobility are a perfect match and have started cooperating. After their partnership was presented on stage at the EBSCON we have invited them for a Techtalk Interview.
Flasher – smart wearable for safer mobility
Starting next year, Flasher GmbH will develop and sell international security applications for micromobility users. The company’s vision of increasing the visibility and safety of e-scooters and cyclists in city traffic is reflected in their wearable “Flasher”, an easy-to-use, smart and stylish safety gadget consisting of two bracelets. Attached to the upper arms, the user benefits from sophisticated functions such as gesture-based indicator lights, the automatic emergency brake light or special night and jogging modes. These features have 360 ° visibility and significantly minimize the risk of accidents in urban traffic, while the snap-on fastening mechanism maximizes comfort and ease of use.
TIER Mobility – Green Micromobility
TIER Mobility is Europe’s leading provider of shared micromobility solutions with the mission to change mobility for the better. By making various electric vehicles such as e-scooters, e-bikes and e-mopeds available to people for rent and by operating a network of battery charging stations, TIER helps cities to reduce their dependence on cars. TIER was founded in 2018 by Lawrence Leuschner, Matthias Laug and Julian Blessin, has its headquarters in Berlin and is currently active in 140 cities of 15 countries in Europe and the Middle East. With the focus on offering the safest, fairest and most sustainable mobility solution, TIER has been climate neutral since 2020. TIER’s investors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital and White Star Capital.
Flasher meets TIER
With TIER Mobility Austria, the high-tech startup from Graz was able to win a large cooperation partner. As part of an Austria-wide pilot project, which will be carried out in selected Austrian lighthouse cities (Vienna, Klagenfurt, Villach, Linz and Innsbruck) in 2022, selected TIER Mobility employees will be equipped with flasher wearables. The employees are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the TIER fleet and, if necessary, repositioning the vehicles. Since they are partly travelling with e-scooters themselves, they are exposed to the typical micromobility traffic risks, such as poor visibility and ineffective hand signals. The wearables are intended to significantly increase the safety of employees.
We have invited Flasher Co-Founders Ines Wöckl and Alexander Rech for a techtalk.
Ines, what were the specific steps for you as a startup and with your products?
It all started with a podium place at the startup competition of the high-tech incubator Science Park Graz and the subsequent inclusion in its incubation program in mid-2019. Another fund by the Austrian economic service company AWS made it possible for us to develop the prototype and align soft- and hardware with the sophisticated mechanics of the product. Another milestone was the recruitment of over a hundred B2C pilot testers, whose inputs were incorporated into our product at all further development steps. The most recent milestones were the acquisition of the first B2B customers and the completion of our pre-series product. We are currently looking forward to our next big milestone, the international launch of Flasher via the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter at the beginning of next year. Anyone who already registered for the newsletter on our website www.flasher.tech will be the first to be informed about the product launch!
Which hurdles did you have to overcome?
The development of a hardware-software combination that actually only flashes when the activating movement is performed and a user-friendly attachment to the arm were much more challenging than we initially expected. The gesture recognition and the snap mechanism are therefore rightly two of our greatest achievements. Corona has left its mark also on our business, as the raw material and component delivery difficulties have thwarted our development timeline more than once.
At what point did it all start flowing?
Since it was a big challenge to match hardware, software and mechanics, it took several iterations until the thread came up. It is therefore particularly great for us to finally hold the pre-series parts in our hands. Because being able to physically show off such a new type of product has enormous advantages. We can now finally put Flasher to test internally and with our external testers, get started properly with our product-related marketing measures to prepare for the product launch in early 2022 and physically pitch Flasher to further potential B2B customers.
How did the project and cooperation with TIER Mobility come about?
The Silicon Alps Cluster, of which we have been a member since last year, recognized the synergy potential between our two companies very early on and established the contact directly. The collaboration is actually of great benefit for both companies. As a committed employer, TIER Mobility has a great interest in improving the safety of its employees in urban traffic. And for us it is great to being able to carry out a high-profile pilot project with a micromobility player like TIER Mobility; on the one hand to demonstrate Flasher’s value for B2B customers and on the other hand to make end consumers aware of Flasher.
What contribution does Flasher make, how does the application at TIER look like?
TIER Mobility has a number of employees who go through the city on e-scooters to control the TIER fleet. On the one hand, they are responsible for the maintenance of the rental vehicles, on the other hand they have to reposition them if necessary, for example to protect the cityscape. As part of the joint project, these employees will be equipped with our flasher wearables to carry out their work. Thanks to the gesture-controlled indicators, the automatic brake light and the night mode (white continuous light to the front and red continuous light to the rear), these are much more visible and therefore much safer in traffic.
What are the specific areas of application of the product and what is the greater scope?
Flasher is primarily used to increase the safety of bike and e-scooter drivers in city traffic. In principle, however, the armbands can be used on any type of micromobile vehicle. The gesture-controlled turn signal ensures that you are more stable and more visible when turning, the emergency brake light reduces the risk of being hit from behind and the night mode, in which you have continuous white light to the front and red to the rear in addition to the turn signal and brake light, increases the visibility in the dark at poor visibility. Thanks to the jogging mode, you can even use Flasher while walking or jogging.
On a greater scale, we are convinced that micromobility will play an essential role in the traffic of the future. Switching to bicycles, e-bikes and e-scooters not only helps to protect the environment but also drastically reduces traffic jams. But in order to be able to present a realistic alternative, micro-mobility must be safer and accident avoidance a priority. This is exactly where we come in with Flasher: We want to give all those who want to take the step into a more sustainable future – whether for themselves or for their employees – the feeling of being safer on the road.
Are further developments planned? If so, in which direction?
Our vision is to use Flasher to increase security far beyond the limits of micromobility. Visibility does not only play an important role in other sports such as skiing. We believe that with our safety wearables we can also add great value to industrial operations, e.g. in road construction, where the visibility of workers on night construction sites can make the difference between life and death. Communication with other devices and road users represents a very promising potential for development.
What does the future look like? What are the further goals of the project?
In the B2C area, our next big step is the international launch via Kickstarter in early 2022 and the subsequent further internationalization. In the B2B business, too, we plan to ensure visibility beyond national borders. TIER Mobility, with its international presence, would be an ideal partner for this. It would be desirable for Flasher to also be used in the future to increase the security of sharing customers on their journeys.
As Silicon Alps, how can we continue to support you or what do you wish from cooperation partners in the network?
It helped us a lot that you recognized the synergy potential between Flasher and TIER from the start and established contact between our companies. The opportunity to present Flasher to a wider audience at #EBSCON – both with a booth and a presentation slot on the stage – was highly valuable for us. We would be delighted if you would support us on our way to the market launch in early 2022. We want our Kickstarter campaign to get off to a really big international start. In order for the product launch to really take off, we have to encourage as many potential customers as possible to register for our newsletter in advance. If you can offer us a stage from time to time in the future – as ready at EBSCON, with this opportunity here and your own newsletter – that would be an immense support for us.
Also, TIER mobility considers the collaboration as a perfect match, as Jakob Orgonyi, Regional City Manager for Carinthia comments:
TIER is a mobility provider whose service is based on a highly efficient and at the same time highly demanding logistics model. The backbone of this system – for example in Carinthia – is my team on the road. My colleagues ensure perfect service for TIER customers 7 days a week, from morning to night and in all weather conditions. With Flasher, we came across a company that is highly committed to security matters who have created a product that is just as simple as it is smart. Nothing meets our demands better. We are looking forward to the roll-out of the project and are very optimistic that the product will perform great in the endurance test.