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Eindhoven-based startup Amber Mobility has raised 500.000 euro from a group of informal investors in a round led by Jan Scholt. A part of the funding also comes from subsidies. Scholt, a well-known investor from the Brabant region and founder of Scholt Energy Control, plans to lead the Series A round as well.
The capital raised will used to fund the expansion of Amber Mobility to a number of other cities among which Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
“Amber is addressing a gap in the market that has the potential to become really big,” says Scholt about the reasons why he decided to invest in the young startup. “I hope that I can help them not only with funding but also with my experience in building up a company.”
Amber Mobility, founded in 2016 by the 21 year old Steven Nielemans, has turned the car into a SaaS platform. Through the Amber app you can reserve the fully electrical car, get a notification where you can pick up a car nearby and unlock the car and drive off. You can pay per use or pay 120 euro per month. Right now the startup uses a modified BMW i3s for its fleet of cars. It aims to start providing self-driving ‘Amber One’ cars to a wider audience in 2018 that are specifically designed for the purpose of sharing.
Currently, the startup provides its services as a car fleet solution for big corporate companies like the Dutch bank ABN AMRO and te country’s biggest insurance company Achmea.
“Our goal has always been to be a global leader in mobility. With Jan at our side, we are one step closer to this goal.” says Nielemans, in a statement about the funding.
This bold ambition may sound somewhat difficult to take at face value, with big other competitors on the market like Uber and Waymo (formely know as Google Car). However, Amber has strong partners. TomTom for maps, Nvidia for image and sensor data processing, and Microsoft for use of Azure and AI software. The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) is also participating. TNO is specially looking into the software that needs to be developed to let the car drive autonomously safely.
In addition, the participation of Jan Scholt as lead investor is important for Amber Mobilty from another perspective. Scholt Energy Control and VDL group recently launched the joint-venture V-Storage (in Dutch). A company that is going to store intelligently electricity when there is too much supply (e.g. wind and solar energy) and sell it back for a premium price when there is a shortage. VDL Groep is one of the biggest and most successful family business in the Netherlands. It an international industrial and manufacturing company and a leader in the automotive industry. It produces for instance the MINI Hatch, MINI Cabrio, Mini Countryman and the BMW X.