TIER: Reshaping Mobility, One Scooter at a Time
Every once in a blue moon, existentialism rings its alert bell to remind us all of the importance of repurposing. Even so, we're constantly contributing to more pollution, habitat destruction, and piles of colorful, toxic garbage in almost every corner of the world.
So, how do you draw the line?
With a simple invention - TIER Mobility!
Developing the secret behind wasting less and reusing more, turned out to be extremely impactful and purposeful. Naturally, it led to an online marketplace where people could buy and sell second-hand items of all sorts - worldwide!
Ever since the fuzzy 90s, the transportation sector has been labeled one of the greatest culprits for climate change, so TIER's founder, Lawrence Leuschner, decided to get both inventive - and reinventive.
His brainstorming process puzzled together a superb idea, something no one else had ever thought of before: an electric scooter company with its own ride-sharing solution. Sounds futuristic?
Its customers thought so too!
Today, this very business marks a staggering $14.3 million in revenue, and counts 900 employees dispersed in over ten countries.
What happened in the meantime? Read on to find out:
The Early Bird Gets the Cheese
Before Lawrence Leuschner became a brand name, he had to grow up quite modestly and in relatively poor surroundings. However, as an imaginative child, he never let cash get in the way of his success. As his stepfather shared the same vision, the double effort soon introduced Lawrence to the flea market, where he sold goods ever since the age of nine. Although almost forced to learn the craft of negotiating from early on, this, along with acquiring a knack for money management, would help Lawrence's succeed more efficiently.
As Lawrence entered his early stage of adolescence, the gaming world became all he could wrap his mind around. He would spend hours on end gaming in his basement, playing as passionately as he could.
As it turned out, it all began there!
Lawrence never assumed gaming would be his source of inspiration, but before you know it, he introduced himself to the business of selling discs.
At the time, of course he was unaware of just where this journey would take him. However, after contacting a friend, Lawrence found himself an associate and the two opened their own second-hand video game shop.
It wasn't long before Lawrence needed to come up with a time-saving solution, having both worked and studied simultaneously. So, the idea of owning an online store sounded rather alluring.
Creating a website was easier said than done - Lawrence knew it, but for him, quitting was never an option to begin with. Struggle makes the journey worth it, he thought, and no opportunity ever came from fear!
So, he started planning his next move - gather a team of professionals to help him build the site.
In 2004, the project was live: reBuy reCommerce GmbH saw the light of day.
Through his intellectual aspiration to grow greater than before, Lawrence saw no use in working for others, which is why he quit University and focused on bringing his dream of quality second-hand trading - to life!
Come 2006, Lawrence and his team would nest in Berlin, but it would take them until 2009 for the company to become the most influential second-hand business in the world. Imminent success is exactly what Lawrence wanted at the time, but by the end of 2017, he would change the business game for good. Still unfulfilled with just how efficiently the company expanded, Lawrence parted ways with the company, despite the awe-worthy €2 million in revenue that year.
New path, new goals, and new ideas - the time had come for Lawrence to make an even bigger difference!
The Idea of a Lifetime
Having thrown his best efforts in the company he had departed, Lawrence was well overdue for a fresh start. Instead of keeping his mindset business-oriented, Lawrence embarked on a road trip, an adventure that would last for a whole year. While not making money moves, Lawrence absorbed an insane amount of knowledge and broadened his mind in every which way.
Throughout his groundbreaking experience, Lawrence never once abandoned the idea of impacting climate change. Having been on the road for well over a year, Lawrence grasped the idea of just how threatening traffic and transport had become since the 90s.
Connecting the dots was a fairly simple process for Lawrence, and yet, it took him 17 more months to finally conceptualize the idea of his first solo company. With mobility as a key guide in his vision, Lawrence consulted a few of his acquaintances and ex-coworkers to help him brainstorm a more sophisticated concept. A concept that would make commuting emission-free, noise-free, and on the top of that, it had to be space-wise. Just like that, another question was raised concerning the trust they had to inspire in investors.
Of course! They could show their previous experience in building companies which will help the team with fundraising.
As solid as the idea was, there was one big hurdle Lawrence had to overcome - try and disrupt fossil fuel industries by introducing electric scooters to the market.
Disrupting an industry that had dominated the mobile world for over a century was a hard row to hoe. Nevertheless, Lawrence wasn't going to back off from a good challenge, and now, he just needed to connect to all the right people.
Or in his case: Matthias Laug and Julian Blessin!
The Team Assembles
Even with a PhD in Economics and a degree in Technology Management, Julian Blessin still had a thirst for knowledge. Immediately after his studies, Julian's career took him into the VC world at Partech Ventures. Using his acquired knowledge, he took the role of lead vehicle architect during the foundation of BCG Digital Ventures.
While there, the company had launched another project that would catch Julian's eye, an eScooter-sharing company. Once Julian left the position, he used his skills to contribute to something he considered larger than life: TIER Mobility!
Another computer genius from a young age, Matthias Laug earned his Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence at Technical University in Berlin with ease. Once his studies concluded, he went on to become the Lieferando CTO, until the company was ultimately taken over by Takeaway.com. Smelling the wind of change in the air, Matthias too would soon join TIER's team.
The Rise of TIER Mobility
The first time the three co-founders sat together, the crucial question of the company's purpose was raised. All three shared the same goal, and ultimately agreed the company would allow people to enjoy the benefits of city living - rurally.
Realizing that the majority decided on driving cars rather than using public transport, the trio had to examine the risks that came with that choice. Ultimately, after days of research and many sleepless nights, TIER was finally ready for launch.
Two years after its founding, the company had raised $381 million in funding, with an initial funding of €2 million by Speedinvest in August of 2018. Three months later, while still growing and developing, TIER received €25 million from Northzone. Fascinatingly, both Mudabala and GoodWater Capital funded TIER with additional $60 million in 2019, followed by a $40 million investment by M RTP Global and NOVATOR. However, TIER's biggest funding round, courtesy of the SoftBank Vision Fund, treated the company with a remarkable $250 million.
If there ever was a time for TIER to occupy the throne of mobility done right, this was it!
TIER Mobility, Today
During the first years, TIER exclusively produced electric scooters before expanding to e-mopeds and scooters operating on swappable batteries. Everything in the name of fighting city jams, and the ever-growing threat of pollution!
As of 2020, TIER went on to become the first-ever micro-mobility company to be entirely climate-neutral.
Covering 80 different cities in over 10 countries, TIER took the road less travelled by, to teach us all an important lesson of preservation and giving back. TIER's story carries a simple, yet heartwarming message: when push comes to shove and our environment's at risk, even the tiniest efforts can go a long way!