Woman-owned scooter co. Veo brings 1,000 seated devices to downtown San Diego Leave a comment


A lesser-known scooter startup called Veo is entering the San Diego market, setting up 1,000 seated electric devices throughout downtown.

Many scooter fans may not have heard of Chicago-based Veo, but CEO and co-founder Candice Xie said that’s probably because they’ve never done anything scandalous enough to land the company in the news. There’s been no dumping of scooters without permission from cities (and in violation of local laws), no cease-and-desist orders or lawsuits from municipalities — all examples of the many issues plaguing the electric scooter industry.

“San Diego has been a wild west for scooters for the past two or three years,” Xie said. “You’ve seen vendors dump thousands of scooters in the city fighting for market share and ignoring safety and compliance.”

Veo is taking a different approach. Founded in 2017, the company has attempted to gradually grow its program one city at a time. They are now in 40 cities.

Candice Xie, CEO and co-founder of Veo.

Candice Xie, CEO and co-founder of Veo.

(Courtesy of Veo)

“Transportation takes years of planning with the private and public sector working together,” Xie said.

That might be why this small underdog was one of only three scooter companies to win a city-run pilot program with the much-coveted metro market of New York City.

Veo’s devices will look familiar to fans of Wheels. The scooters sport a seat and a step-through style reminiscent of a moped, with a flat floorboard to rest your feet.

Of course, San Diego has already seen its share of seated electric devices, which didn’t stick around for long. Los Angeles-based Wheels first unloaded a few hundred seated scooters in January 2019 but was forced to later pull those devices from the market for violating California Vehicle Code requirements. A city spokesperson said Wheels has since adjusted its design and is now permitted to deploy 750 devices in San Diego.

Before Wheels came to town, various motorized bike companies came and went. But now that few options remain, Xie said the market is prime for a new player.

“The stand-up scooters exclude a lot of riders who aren’t as comfortable riding them, and don’t feel they’re as safe,” Xie said.

Use of e-scooters and e-bikes suffered a near-fatal blow during the pandemic but had already dropped in popularity before COVID-19 made a wasteland of downtown and beach communities. City regulations — put in place after a public outcry — required operators to make sure their scooters were permitted, parked and used appropriately. The rules were unpopular with the tech companies, which were already seeing ridership declines and mounting costs. Several of them exited the San Diego market. Jump bikes (which Uber has sold to Lime) and Skip scooters were pulled from San Diego in September 2019, and Lime left in January 2020.

Those remaining include Wheels, Bird, Link, Lyft, Spin and Veo. A city spokesperson said 9,750 total devices are permitted in San Diego as of January 2021, but the average number actually deployed is a lot lower — 5,770. That’s a lot more scooters than we saw this summer, but a far cry from the 13,994 deployed during the height of their popularity in 2019.





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