Flash, the e-scooter startup from Delivery Hero founder, re-brands as ‘Circ’ and announces 1M rides

Flash, the micro-mobility startup from Delivery Hero and Team Europe founder Lukasz Gadowski, is re-branding today and disclosing that the e-scooter rental service has clocked up 1 million rides in just 4.5 months since launch.

This, the company claims, is a milestone passed quicker than any of its competitors, although Voi recently announced that it reached 2 million rides in less than 8 months, while I understand that Tier, which launched later than Voi, is on track to hit that same number any day now, if it hasn’t already. The takeaway: e-scooter rentals in Europe remains a hot and fast-growing market to be in.

Quietly launched in Zurich, Switzerland in mid-January this year, Berlin-based Circ says it has since expanded to 21 cities across 7 countries. The re-brand is in preparation for further international expansion, with Germany up next to coincide with new German regulations permitting e-scooter services.

With regards to the name change, I’m told the decision was both practical and more conceptual. When people think of “flash” they tend to think of lightning or comic book superheroes, while the word itself is intrinsically linked with connotations of speed. While newly named Circ has moved very fast to reach 1 million rides, riding fast is not what the company is about.

“We wanted a name that better reflects who we are and how seriously we take the responsibility of moving people. Circ is all about circles, connections and there is great symmetry with what we do, working with others to help people move around their city in a reliable, safe and enjoyable way,” a company spokesperson tells me.

Reading between the lines, it’s almost certain that the startup is also thinking about its brand beyond e-scooters alone. Gadowski has always described the company as a “micro-mobility” service that isn’t just concerned with scooters and one that wants to play an integral role within a city’s broader transportation system.

On that note, Circ says it has joined the Union Internationale des Transports Publics (UITP), the worldwide association for public transportation. It has also formed a partnership with Swiss public transport operator Swiss Federal Railways (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen, SBB).

“The comprehensive partnership entails the creation of designated parking spaces at key strategic locations in railway stations and explores digital integration as Circ and SBB introduce ways to create seamless mobility for rail and e-scooter users,” says Circ.