Wheels currently operates in six markets, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Scottsdale, Ariz., Salt Lake City and Cleveland. The plan is to use the funding to deploy in additional markets throughout the U.S. and in international markets.
“We’re excited to open up to dozens of cities over the next few months including international expansion,” Wheels COO Marco McCottry told TechCrunch. “As we think about how we fit with the other companies in the space, we’re growing the pie and expanding the market.”
Right now, Wheels is focused on the shared model but does see an opportunity to sell directly to consumers, Josh Viner told TechCrunch. Wheels differentiates itself from other bike-share companies with its modular design, swappable parts and batteries. Though, JUMP recently unveiled its vision for swappable batteries on bikes.
Wheels has also developed a patent-pending smart, shareable helmet system that integrates seamlessly onto the bike. The helmet, which can be unlocked with a smartphone, comes with removable hygienic liner. The plan is to deploy the helmet-equipped vehicles by the end of this year.
“The micro mobility market has the ability to continue to revolutionize the future electrification of transport, but problems of safety and sustainability are keeping the industry from reaching its true potential,” DBL Partners Founder and Managing Partner Ira Ehrenpreis said in a statement. “Wheels is solving these issues with its safety-focused product design, including the upcoming release of its integrated helmet technology, a more sustainable business and maintenance model, and a mass-market design that appeals to a wider gender and age demographic.”