Nov 10, 2020

Tier raises $250mn for micro-mobility electric scooters

electric scooters
Tier
SoftBank
Micro mobility
William Smith
2 min
Berlin, Germany-based Tier is a so-called micro-mobility company offering electric scooter ride-sharing services
Berlin, Germany-based Tier is a so-called micro-mobility company offering electric scooter ride-sharing services...

Berlin, Germany-based Tier is a so-called micro-mobility company offering electric scooter ride-sharing services.

With countries in Europe increasingly open to electric scooters as a way to solve traffic in city centres, Tier looks set to build on its existing base of 60,000 scooters across 80 cities. The company’s scooters are unlocked via an app, and can be dropped off anywhere for other users to pick up.

The sector has been hard hit, however, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with fellow player Lime laying off 13% of staff back in April.

Bucking that trend, Tier has just announced a $250mn Series C round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with the participation of Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital, White Star Capital, Novator and RTP Global. The funding builds on a further $131mn raised over four rounds since its 2018 foundation.

In a press release, CEO and co-founder Lawrence Leuschner, said: “After achieving profitability with our e-scooters, we have in place the foundations to lead the way towards seamless and sustainable mobility. Our vision is a completely new way of how we will move in cities in the future: all electric, shared and affordable, and with different vehicles powered by one energy network. Together with, city and national government, we will build the best solutions to ensure safe, highly efficient, and sustainable movement from A to B.”

The news of SoftBank’s investment comes on the heels of the company releasing its financial results for Q2 of 2020, which included a $5bn profit on investments in the aforementioned Vision Fund 2.

Yanni Pipilis, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: “Micro-mobility fills a large gap left by traditional urban car usage and presents a viable alternative to legacy transit systems. TIER has a proven track record in establishing long standing partnerships with cities and regulators, combined with a technology-led approach to develop leading customer propositions. We are pleased to support Lawrence and his team in building on this success.”

(Image: Tier)

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Jun 24, 2021

Brave's new privacy-focused search engine is now in beta

Technology
Brave
searchengine
privacy
2 min
Brave, makers of the privacy-focused Brave browser, has launched their new search engine, Brave Search, in public global beta

Brave, the creator of a popular ad-blocking browser, has opened a public beta of its privacy-focused search engine, Brave Search. 

The search engine was previously announced in March when Brave acquired Tailcat, and since then there have been over 100,000 users who signed up for preview access and testing. Brave recently passed 32 million monthly active users (up from 25 million last March), and Brave Search is the latest product offered by the company in its suite of privacy-preserving tools. Brave already offers privacy-preserving Brave Ads, Brave News, and a Firewall+VPN service.

Brave Search is available in beta release globally on all Brave browsers (desktop, Android, and iOS) as one of the search options alongside other search engines, and will become the default search in the Brave browser later this year. It is also available from any other browser at search.brave.com

"Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,” said Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave. 

“Unlike older search engines that track and profile users, and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy. Brave Search fills a clear void in the market today as millions of people have lost trust in the surveillance economy and actively seek solutions to be in control of their data,” added Eich.

How does Brave Search work?

Brave Search uses its own index and ensures ‘a fully anonymous search’. It is transparent in how search results are ranked and integrates with a privacy-preserving browser on desktop and mobile.

In order to present an alternative to big tech, Brave decided to build its own index rather than rent it from Google or Microsoft, as other smaller search engines are currently doing. Brave Search includes anonymised contributions from the community to improve and refine results. However, there are types of queries and certain areas such as image search, for which their results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases, they are using APIs until they can expand their index. 

Brave Search is not displaying ads during this early part of the beta phase, but will offer options for both ad-free paid search and ad-supported free search later.

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