Helbiz, the Italian-American company founded and led by Salvatore Patella, which launched electric scooter sharing in Europe, just over a year after listing on Nasdaq, has signed an agreement to merge with Wheels, a U.S. e-mobility platform founded in 2018 by Jonathan and Joshua Viner, veterans of the micro-mobility and shared transport sector, backed by ventures Tenaya Capital and Bullpen Capital.
Upon completion of the merger, expected in November 2022 based on ordinary closing provisions, Wheels CEO Marco McCottry will lead Helbiz’s micro-mobility-related business in North America.
Wheels will bring to Helbiz more than 5 million users, a proprietary and patented next-generation electric vehicle, intellectual property including the industry’s first integrated helmet system, exclusive contracts serving B2B partners and universities, and a team dedicated to accelerating expansion in the United States.
In addition, with Wheels’ presence in North America, the merger will allow Helbiz to expand into more than 15 urban areas as well as access the large Los Angeles market. Wheels’ vehicle was developed in-house and is unique in the market. In fact, it is a patented, easy-to-use velocipede that can make micromobility accessible to a wider audience.
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Wheels shares with Helbiz a diversified business model
In addition, as explained in the note, Wheels shares with Helbiz a diversified business model that combines in cities free-floating rental licenses, direct partnerships with universities or companies, and monthly individual and corporate rentals. In particular, Wheels has partnered with Uber Eats to enable its drivers to easily access a convenient and safe electric vehicle directly from their marketplace.
“In Wheels, we have found the right partner for the transition to a new phase in our company”-said Palella, CEO of Helbiz-“With its innovative vehicle, proprietary technology, and established operational experience, Wheels is a unique player in the electric micro-mobility sector. As a result of the transaction, Helbiz will expand its presence, becoming the only operator to serve all neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and this will allow us to further differentiate our business model and extend our technology leadership. This merger lays an even stronger foundation to fuel our future growth.”
“The introduction of long-term rental service for both individuals and businesses will generate a significant effect on revenues,” comments Palella, “and will be instrumental in generating value and achieving profitability.”
“The acquisition of Wheels expands Helbiz’s core business in micro-mobility, strengthening the new company’s ability to operate in 67 markets globally,”- pointed out Giulio Profumo, CFO of Helbiz, who added “on a consolidated basis, the company expects to turnover more than $25 million by the end of 2022, doubling the 2021 figure. In addition, through Wheels’ partnerships with universities and businesses, and individual monthly rental, Helbiz will further strengthen its positioning by providing dedicated mobility solutions to the growing number of customers around the world.”
“We intend to restructure the company that will be created after the merger to accelerate our path to profitability by combining higher margins, derived from Wheels’ business, and operating cost reductions, “Profumo concluded. “The company estimates to achieve positive EBITDA within the next nine months and net operating income within the next 24.”
In the first six months of 2022, Wheels reported revenues of $7.7 million, up 92 percent year-on-year, and $4.4 million in the second quarter alone, up 46 percent year-on-year, while in terms of mobility, travel increased 71 percent quarter-on-quarter.
The electric micro-mobility company born in 2017 made its debut on the Nasdaq on August 13th last year, not through an IPO but through the business combination with Spac GreenVision Acquisition Corp, reflecting a pro forma equity value for the new company initially estimated at about $408 million, but then dropped dramatically to $29.5 million. Due to the high number of withdrawals, in fact, the capital raised by the new company, was much less than expected, so in preparation for the transaction, in March 2021 Copernicus Wealth Management and Finbeauty srl, Helbiz’s current core shareholders, had committed to underwrite a $30 million PIPE (private investment in public equity) in the Greenvision Spac with a 5 percent coupon and 12-month maturity.
In fact, the note states that in total the transaction between the merger and PIPE brought only $29.5 million to the company, of which $21.5 million in net proceeds from the PIPE, $5 million from the cancellation of past debt, and the remaining $3 million from the capital raised by the GreenVision Spac, which had listed on Nasdaq in November 2019, having instead raised $50 million from investors, and another $7.5 million by the exercise of the over-allotment option. The transaction, despite a below-expected raising, was carried through since n the U.S. there is no issue of a maximum threshold of withdrawals to be avoided for the business combination to be valid.
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First published in Be Beez, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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