Mobility 2022 welcomes the field! – TechCrunch

TechCrunch is excited to announce Swyft Cities won the TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility 2022 pitch and was fast-tracked in the Battlefield 200 at TechCrunch Disrupt in October. Beyond Aero was the runner-up.

The Mountain View-based company is committed to improving transportation through the use of self-propelled, lightweight, fixed cable vehicles. The company says its solution offers a lower cost per mile with less carbon emissions than conventional transportation alternatives.

Swyft sees it as a new form of urban mobility that can solve traffic problems in densely developed areas, including corporate campuses, airports, universities and tourist areas.

The platform is novel in that vehicles travel on fixed cables, allowing for new connections can be added as needed. This adds capacity to an area, allowing for higher density and more profitable development. It also reduces parking costs and minimizes traffic. In some areas, providing in-site connections can be of great value.

Beyond Aero, based in Paris/Toulouse, France, is building long-range aircraft powered by hydrogen electric propulsion. The first aircraft was a zero-emissions private jet (6-9 seats), designed for hydrogen propulsion, with a range of 1,000 miles.

Why Swyft is the first choice

Prototype of the Swyft Cities gondola from the R&D center.

Image credits: Swyft Cities

The judges for the startup – Yoon Choi (Muirwoods Ventures), Mar Hershenson (Pear VC) and Gabriel Scheer (Elemental Excelerator) on day one; and Sven Strohband (Khosla Ventures), Victoria Beasley (Prelude Ventures) and John Du (GM Ventures) on Monday – the majority think Swyft Cities has a good direction and a very capable team. The judges said Swyft was approaching a growing problem with a new solution and a competent go-to-market strategy.

Swyft Cities was founded in 2019 by several members of Google, the people behind the transportation and real estate programs at Google properties. They were tasked with investigating new forms of mobility that could help achieve what the startup now calls “district-scale transportation” in a way that both reduces car use and creates a more environmentally friendly environment. better campus. The team, which includes Swyft founder and CEO Jeral Poskey, considered ideas like underground tunnels and self-propelled shuttles, but found that most infrastructure solutions were not. available today are built for long-distance trips rather than short-distance travel in dense environments.

“When you look to densely packed things, you end up with a lot of congestion and difficulty moving, and this applies to a lot of universities, airports, and other places in the 1-to-1 range,” Poskey told TechCrunch. 5 miles,” Poskey told TechCrunch, noting that these have closed the campus environment that Swyft was first targeting. “With the growth we were looking at and all the market opportunities around the world, we took the opportunity, started an R&D project to see what we could come up with and what could be done. We came up with Swyft.”

Since its inception, Swyft has set up an R&D center in Christchurch, New Zealand, launched a minimal viable product and landed its first customer deal. The startup is currently working with Remarkables Park in Queenstown, a large office, retail and residential area, to develop a network of self-propelled gondolas. According to Poskey, Swyft is aiming to have the first cars in service around August 2024.

“[The team at Remarkables Park] Poskey said. “They then have the next stages that will see this get bigger and bigger, eventually extending beyond their properties until it becomes a public transit system that can be spearheaded or complementary. complement what’s currently a difficult public transport environment there and really feed people these dispersed areas on the edge of town on a bus system that can get people into the core of town . ”

This model is how Swyft finds itself scaling in other environments and cities. Poskey says that by starting small, it’s easy to scale, who explains that the Swyft system doesn’t have an end point like a train or even a traditional gondola system, but works on a network can grow outward from any node thus adding Additional Value. So while those connections may start out in a smaller environment, as they grow outward they will be able to connect to other forms of public transport more easily.

From a price perspective, these gondolas cost significantly less than other public transit alternatives, like widening roads and building more parking, according to Poskey.

“We’ve gotten to the price and value proposition to say this is cheaper than building parking and you’ll get a better on-campus experience,” Poskey said. “You got a better asset worth more, and you spent less money making it happen.”

Swyft’s target cost point is $10 million per mile or less for the infrastructure, which Poskey said allows the private sector to build it themselves rather than waiting for government funding.

“It’s really motivating to say this is bigger than what Google should be developing on its own campus,” Poskey said. “This is something that has huge potential, is highly sustainable, and just needs to be split off to pursue the broader market on its own.”

This story has been updated with more background information about Swyft Cities.

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