UAE-Based Electric Vehicle Manufacturer One Moto Is Ready To Take On The World Launched in 2018, One Moto is an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer offering a fleet of vehicles such as electric motorcycles, bikes, scooters, delivery and grocery vans, catering to the last-mile industry, as well as urban commuters.
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As the demand for online delivery gains traction, there's a sharp increase in the use of two-wheelers for last-mile delivery purposes. With that, a plethora of issues arise too: exhausted delivery drivers, questionable safety gear, battered bikes, and of course, its dire impact on the environment, among other factors. In 2016, Adam Ridgway, a motorcycle license holder in Dubai for the past 13 years, saw these problematic factors too: "I walked out of a car garage, and I saw a spectrum of delivery bikes awaiting service, and I went to inspect them. Some were 4-5 years old, with several hundred thousand kilometers on the clock, and I started wondering if anyone had an electric delivery bike." Ridgway started researching online about this, including what Tesla was pioneering in its market, and he soon ended up discovering a potential business opportunity that he felt was worth tapping into, both locally and globally.
From setting up his first small business at the age of 16 in the UK, to stints in the broadcast journalism world in London and Dubai, and then onward to launching the award-winning creative collective group, Mediacubed, in 2008, Ridgway isn't new to taking leaps into the unknown. Imbued by the vision of how the last-mile industry would accelerate more than ever (and by an innate urge to make a social impact, which was bolstered by the fact that he was soon to become a father), Ridgway was thus driven to address issues in the sector as an entrepreneur. In 2018, Ridgway launched One Moto, an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer offering a fleet of vehicles such as electric motorcycles, bikes, scooters, delivery and grocery vans, catering to the last-mile industry, as well as urban commuters.
Bringing it to the market wasn't an easy feat- Ridgway started by validating the concept's market potential, with his efforts in this regard including contacting MENA ride-hailing app Careem to discuss opportunities, asking potential customers firsthand what they needed from a delivery motorcycle, as well as collaborating with former colleagues to develop an electronic delivery motorcycle. The R&D phase began in the UK, alongside a small team of two in the UAE, which resulted in a "road-worthy" prototype built for the UAE market, with various factors considered, such as weather conditions, battery tech, range, speed, safety, and telematics.
Source: One Moto
The team tested the bikes daily for three months during the summer, and then set out to get the vehicles approved. "Being a first-mover came with its challenges, as it was the first time Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and the UAE's Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) had undergone this implementation," Ridgway recalls. "18 months later, we were set, fully certified to European standards, then received the certifications from the UAE government- we were set to champion change."
Ridgway's research had showcased the carbon footprint that typical motorcycles leave on the environment which was a problem that he and his team aimed to solve with One Moto's EVs. "Did you know that motorcycles are 16 times more harmful to the environment than sport utility vehicles (SUVs) or buses, and that in their second year of usage, this increases to 50 times?" he asks. "Although motorcycles produce less carbon dioxide, they produce a thousand times more carbon monoxide [and] hydrocarbons… In fact, 15,000 delivery motorcycles in Dubai produce 16,560 tons of carbon dioxide each year, which would take 273,000 trees grown for 10 years to sequester- that's over 21,000 acres of forest that could have been saved, which is 42 times the size of Downtown Dubai."
But it's not just about the environment- Ridgway and his team are keeping an eye out for the safety and welfare of the riders of the company's vehicles too. In fact, Ridgway even took primary research duties by getting firsthand experience of being a real-life delivery rider, and interviewing delivery riders to learn about their numerous issues, such as how riders pay for their own fuel, increased working hours and delivery targets. The results were analyzed to showcase the real-time cost-savings and increased profitability with the enterprise's EVs, as well as to ensure that the company's solutions are focused on the riders.
Source: One Moto
"A company driving to succeed needs agility at all times, unrivaled focus, and an ambitious team. One Moto is the first to market, yet it won't last. We are leading a global market with the performance and specs of our vehicles [and] technology advances." He elaborates, "Our vision is 100 cities by 2025, one million vehicles sold, investments back into this world we live in, bringing change (not waiting for it to happen), reducing fatalities, increasing earnings, helping those who cannot afford a vehicle own one, and leaving this planet in a slightly better condition than the one we currently live in. We can't change the past, however, the future [is in our hands]."
Ridgway and his team's hustling spirit is undeterred- so far, the venture's clientele has included Jumeirah, Sarood Hospitality, as well as other partners, such as supermarket chains, food delivery aggregators, logistics companies, and even a UAE ruling family member. With its factory in Asia, the team is exploring manufacturing opportunities in the UAE, India, KSA, Australia, Africa and Europe. "[In] each territory we operate, we will build collaborative micro-facilities," Ridgway adds.. While One Moto is already active in the UAE, UK, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia, the venture also recently announced its launch in India. In partnership with CS Group, the enterprise is starting its aggressive expansion plan with 13 territories to start, with flagship stores in each city, micro-dealerships, and a service network. And that's not all- the venture is awaiting its debut in Australia too.
Source: One Moto
The past year has been a defining year for the homegrown brand, as not only did the team work relentlessly to highlight opportunities to its customers, but according to Ridgway, it also became the year the company entered the "raise maze." Ridgway was adamant about not falling into the trap of other EV ventureswhich were basically raising capital and valuations, yet years later, still not producing a vehicle. "We did the opposite: build, sell, prove, then raise."
The entrepreneur made use of equity crowdfunding platform Eureeca to raise funds for his business, with Ridgway saying, "We agreed on an US$8 million pre-money valuation, and raised around $500,000. We now have one team of investors on the holding company cap table who are supporting the growth of the business and their investments through referrals." However, Ridgway reveals that he and his team are already looking at fundraising again. "We have started talks about our pre-series A raise of $10 million at $60 million pre-money, which will be invested into local manufacturing, further accelerating the R&D of our new (industrychanging) EVs, and enhancing the tech side of our operation," he notes.
With his eyes sets on a potential Series A in 2022, Ridgway believes in the power of internally manifesting his ambitious goals. "The next three years will define just how unobtainable the possibilities were," he declares, while noting that he and his team are gearing up for a long ride ahead. "We are focused on working with the government of the UAE to bring change to the last-mile industry for the better, focus on the welfare of the riders and drivers in the sector, being a positive influence on the environment, and bring change," he concludes.
'TREP TALK ME
Adam RIdgway, founder and CEO, One Moto
What are the challenges of being a solo entrepreneur, and how do you go about tackling the journey? How do you stay passionate as an entrepreneur and avoid burnout?
"The greatest challenge is having to "solve' the questions yourself. Think of the entire plans and junctions of possibilities, and this can lead to burn out. Having the right team around you avoids this tremendously- but take your time to employ slowly. If it takes months or years to find the right person, then welcome that. Staying passionate isn't in question. If you find something you love, something with purpose, and give it all you've got for as long as you can, you'll be successful. Sounds a little romantic; however, I truly believe this. If you are currently forcing something to happen, think about how long this has been the case, then listen to a stranger- what would they say? Don't be afraid of failure, or indeed change- but, yes, it's easier to say than embrace. There was a quote I heard a few years ago at a time when I needed to hear it: "Sometimes a salmon needs to stop fighting its way up the river, and just go with the flow.'"