The world of transportation has seen amazing innovations over the past decade with cleaner and greener transportation alternatives becoming more affordable and accessible every year. This story follows a company at the forefront of this shift towards green transportation and how their model for delivering e-transportation is causing a disruptive change in the short to mid range transportation industry.
365 experience is a company that manages Airbnb properties and welcomes guests to Nova Scotia in Atlantic Canada. The innovative model emerged in the summertime when the founder, Avery Birch, wanted an e-scooter because it was a cheap and fun way to travel around the city. With the support of the co-founder Stephen Lays, the idea of bringing a new way to commute that could use clean energy and be more eco-friendly urged them to think of a bigger picture. Making customers happy and excited is one of the core values of the company. To bring better and more accessible transportation, 365X started providing the e-scooter for enhancing customer experiences while they are visiting the city, “Meet people where they live”. After placing the e-scoot booths at some buildings in the local area for their Airbnb guests, the high demand encouraged the company to release an e-scooter platform for others as well, and, Airscoot was born. In the interview, Avery states that “the mission is to create a platform at an accessible and affordable price for everybody” where people come, get the e-scooter, use the phone to unlock it, and then get them back plugged in at the station inside the apartment buildings where they are accessed. The innovation is unique in its delivery model as scooters are kept inside apartment buildings and complexes allowing for a huge reduction in damage costs and a solution to the problem of electric scooters being left all over city streets and sidewalks.
According to the interview, the founder of Airscoot, Avery, is aware of how serious climate change affects human lives, and hence, he wants to connect his business to nature, embracing, and adapting innovation to reduce emissions as much as possible. The business relates to multiple SDGs that address issues for clean energy. Directly link to SDG#11 target 2: to provide affordable and sustainable mobility that gives people instant access right at their doorsteps, in the lobby of the buildings, or the public shares. Their product indirectly relates to SDG#13: decreasing fossil fuel use as the scooter uses electricity as its inputs.
The idea for Airscoot originally came about as a joke. According to Avery, “it involved some one-upmanship between myself and the co-founder, Steve”. Avery purchased an electric scooter in the summer to get him to work and back, since a scooter is much cheaper than a car and you don’t have to pay insurance. Steve began calling the scooter idea silly but a few days later, he decided to get his own scooter. A few days after that, Avery and Steve were on a call with a company in Toronto, discussing the possibility of 365 Experience becoming a service/repair hub for electric scooters. Midway through the call, they realized being a scooter repair shop was not something they wanted to pursue so they decided to do their own thing. The co-founders decided to purchase their own fleet of scooters and install them in the Airbnb’s they already owned to rent them out to tenants. After that, one of their colleagues offered to keep some of the scooters in their apartment building and rent them out to tenants there. This is what really kickstarted the project, as apartment buildings have tenants all year round and the scooters can serve as their primary method of transportation. Avery and the Airscoot team now focus on developing relationships with landlords to expand their service into more apartment buildings.
The initial motivation for this project was simply fun. The idea started out as “this would be a fun venture” but what really clicked with Avery was when he watched A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough. This film highlights climate change, and what we can do as a civilization to reverse the effects of global warming and to change our actions. At the end of the film, Avery explains how there are concise “steps” to help the environment. One of those steps was to get away from fossil fuels and pursue a more sustainable energy source. After watching the movie and understanding the impact humans have on the environment, Avery realized what our world was headed for so he decided to take action. “Let’s make this service so accessible, fun, and affordable that people won’t think otherwise and switch over to scooters”. Their current focus is creating super accessible and affordable rides, making electric transportation so accessible that they decrease fossil fuel usage.
Airscoot allowed 365 Experience to have a completely new and unique business opportunity to generate revenue in a sustainable way. It allowed for the employees of 365 to take on a new and inspiring product which they could all get behind and see first hand real changes could be made towards the world of sustainable transportation. Airscoot now has potential for explosive growth and could very likely become 365 Experience's main focus going into the future as the product and team grows. The impacts this product and its unique delivery could have on society are tremendous. It has been shown first hand how cheap and practical this type of transportation is becoming, especially considering people living in areas of higher population density. If this product and others like it are able to be developed and implemented to their full potential, society could see a complete shift in the short to mid distance transportation industry. Every day people are more and more willing and excited to use environmentally friendly and easy to use modes of transportation and Airscoot is giving these people direct, simple and affordable access to this technology in a unique and powerful way.
As quoted by Avery "There was a lot of influence pointing inwards after watching the movie A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough”. In the movie he was able to get a better understanding of the environmental harm being done to our planet and specific places in which everyday people can make a real change. It is well known that carbon emissions are having very negative effects on our planet and its beautiful ecosystems. On top of this, the fuel we are using to power almost all of our current vehicles is finite and will eventually come to an end. Products like Airscoot are at the forefront of creating a clean, sustainable and accessible form of transportation to replace this finite resource as we go into the future. Grand View Research estimated the electric scooter market size to be USD 18.6 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 7.7% from 2020 to 2030 (2020, Grand View Research). These are very promising projections for both Airscoot and the electric scooter industry. Even if we met only half the growth these projections predict, the world would see an immense shift in electric scooter use and they will become more and more of the norm for short to mid distance transportation. This shift from vehicles using finite resources which emit harmful carbons to vehicles using renewable energy which generate no harmful emissions in their use is the beginning of a fundamental shift in how we think about and treat both renewable and nonrenewable resources in the modern world.
After the first roll out of electric scooters was completed, “it just seemed to click with people” as Avery explained. The scooters began gaining traction right away and it seemed everyday there was a new excited consumer of the product. Airscoot has proven over the past 8 months of operations that their product is both profitable and wanted in the market. With 24 scooters currently in operation in the HRM and new relationships being formed in order to enter into the southern US market, the product has proven its ability to perform. Especially when considering the launch of the product occurred during the early stages of Covid-19 and has been able to continue to prove to be successful through this hard time in the markets Airscoot has every reason to be confident in its product. When looking at the impact these products have directly on the environment and society it is slightly harder to demonstrate especially as the product is still in the early stages of growth. One aspect of the product which is in the process of being implemented is an active count on all users accounts which tracks how much carbon emissions have been saved through riding the scooters. This model would be very similar to the water bottles saved count often seen on water fountains and would be a great way for both the company and users to get a visual representation of the positive changes the product is having on the environment. Ideas like these are in continual development at 365 Experience and especially Airscoot in order to get a tangible understanding of the impacts the product will have both short and long term. Going into the future 365 Experience plans on continuing to grow and create projects such as Airscoot with the aspiration of creating a cleaner and more sustainable future for our planet.
The innovation of Airscoot in regard to 365 Experience’s Business Strategy continues to show tremendous benefits as it is such a relevant and unique product to society’s growing desire for a more sustainable way of living. As talked about by Avery, he discusses how 365 Experience provides a unique opportunity as they specifically park their scooters in apartment buildings as opposed to their competitors who would usually park them on streets or beside commercial buildings. By targeting the scooters into more highly dense areas such as residential buildings, Airscoot hopes to appeal to people who want to use e-scooters as a more primary form of transportation for everyday expenditures. This is a huge benefit to the business, as the e-scooter market is expected to grow 21.2% by 2028 up to $644.5 billion, with the hope that more people start reverting to e-scooters with a forward focus on the environmental benefits to come.
As for the Societal & Environmental benefits, Airscoot is a forward focused initiative helping to change the energy consumption by moving away from fossil fuels and diverting to a sustainable form of renewable energy. Electric energy consumption is a very big topic of discussion right now as companies such as Tesla have been received by the public with high praise for the work they do to lower greenhouse gas emissions. In the interview, Avery discussed the hope that by one consumer switching to Airscoot instead of using public transportation, we could make great strides in the 2030 goal for renewable energy.
Avery Birch, CEO
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Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA
Business Website: https://365x.ca
Year Founded: 2018
Number of Employees: 2 to 10