When you think about shared micromobility, Veo isn’t exactly the first company that comes to mind. It’s not as widespread as competitors like Voi, Tier and Lime, and it hasn’t raised nearly as much in venture capital. But as consolidation and, simply put, bad business shapes the industry, Veo has maintained a steady and profitable pace. That is, if CEO and co-founder Candice Xie is to be believed.
Veo, which is perhaps most noted for its comfortable sit-down scooters and its continued presence in New York City’s e-scooter pilot, has stuck by a business model that looks at micromobility more as a utility and less as a startup. Rather than raising tons of money to expand as quickly as possible in the hope of achieving favorable unit economics, Veo has slowly focused on being sustainable, one city at a time. In June 2021, Veo was in 22 markets. Today, it’s added another 27, bringing it up to 49 cities, almost all of which are exclusive or limited vendor contracts.
“I’m truly a believer that this industry takes time to build, and whoever survives is the most important thing. Long term, who can weather all the crazy market turbulence?” Veo CEO Candice Xie
While VCs might shudder at such apparently slow growth — Lime’s global city count is around 225 — Xie says Veo is on track to maintain a sustainable business that continues to turn over profits.
We sat down with Xie one year after our initial interview to talk about what is going on with all these layoffs, why scooter ADAS isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and how a sustainable financial base can help startups weather market turmoil.
The following interview, part of an ongoing series with founders who are building transportation companies, has been edited for length and clarity.