The circle is complete for at least one of Gotcha Mobility’s expansion markets.
The city of Richmond, Calif., near San Francisco, used a transportation grant to hire the Charleston-based company in 2019 to set up a bike-share network.
Bolt Mobility took over the $866,000 contract after buying Gotcha, launching the service in mid-2021. All was well until July 2022, when media began reporting that the Miami company had ceased operations in several cities. Richmond soon joined the list.
“Bolt Mobility has left approximately 60 bicycles with dead batteries in various city centers and has defaulted on their local warehouse lease containing over 150 additional bicycles and equipment,” Mayor Tom Butts wrote in an update. 20 August. “Richmond Transportation personnel have attempted to reach Bolt representatives without receiving a response.”
In a letter to the company, the city’s legal office demanded $529,000 in damages. He also warned that he could seize the abandoned assets as compensation, although it was unclear whether they had any value.
“It became apparent … that the proprietary factors associated with the equipment used in Richmond would prohibit the City from simply outsourcing the management of bike share to another bike share company or another bike company “, Butts said.
Enter Sean Flood, the founder and former CEO of Gotcha who moved the startup to Charleston in 2014. Now based in Ireland, he is managing partner of EFO Ventures, a personal mobility investment firm with offices in Atlanta and at Dublin. His company also owns the rights to the software that allows users to physically remove rental bikes in Richmond from their docking stations.
Butts said Flood contacted his office “and offered to send a team member with the necessary programming and equipment to unlock the … bikes and meet with … staff to discuss options for restoring … operations. abandoned”.
EFO Ventures partner David Touwsma traveled to the Bay Area Aug. 8 to help secure the bikes. He and city workers also came up with a three-part restart plan. The first phase “is an emergency pilot program to restore services” by redeploying up to 100 bikes, Butts said.
The elected officials awarded the $345,000 contract on August 19 to a subsidiary of EFO Ventures. Its name: Charleston Mobility LLC.
Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott