What are the prospects for the scooter business? Palella promised six months ago that the turnover would jump from 4 million dollars in 2020 to 80 in 2021. In the first quarter of the year, however, the group's turnover, including MiMoto, was 1.2 million dollars, or a little more than 1 million euros, with an operating loss of over 10 million dollars and a net loss of over 15 million. Even taking into account that the winter quarter is not favorable for scooters, at this rate, the funds raised by landing on the Nasdaq could run out by the end of the year.
The shared urban mobility market - from renting bicycles and scooters to car rental - is challenging, and even Helbiz's direct competitors are not doing very well. As the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Users show little loyalty to individual brands and competition is fierce. Many companies have closed down or merged, including names like Skip, Scoot, and Jump ”.
The bankruptcy of the Californian Skip - news of ten days ago - also affects Helbiz, given that in December 2020 the company from Palella announced that it had bought the competitor. But Helbiz told the American media that Skip's bankruptcy does not concern her, because she has no shares in the company. Palella is not new to announcements that then do not come true. Two years ago he announced the entry into the capital of Helbiz of the Chinese partner Forever Sharing, which should have acquired an 8 percent stake in exchange for a maxi-supply of electric bicycles; the operation was then no longer talked about, and when asked Helbiz replied that "the Chinese had problems with deliveries and nothing more was done".
Will salvation come from diversification? Helbiz has recently landed in home delivery of food with its own kitchen (Helbiz Kitchen); very recent is the idea of managing TV rights on sporting events, with the purchase of broadcasting rights abroad for Italian Serie B matches.
Already in 2019, then, the imaginative managers of Helbiz were thinking of a flying taxi service with drones "in collaboration with the Chinese Ehang", with the first tests to be carried out already in 2019 in Antigua. For the operation - wrote a hagiographer - "Helbiz managed to beat the competition of Uber over time". The flying taxis then disappeared from the radar, perhaps because someone must have advised Helbiz not to shoot them too big ...
Update from August 26, 2021:
Helbiz threatens reporters
and asks for a rectification without rectification