ALD acquires share in Skipr
ALD has acquired a 17% share in Skipr, a Belgium-based startup in the Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) area, both companies announce this morning. In an exclusive conversation with Fleet Europe, Mathieu de Lophem (Skipr) and Vanessa Govi (ALD) reveal the significance of the deal.
ALD acquired its share in Skipr via a capital increase, in agreement with the two existing investors in the company, Belgian bank Belfius and Lab Box, the startup studip of D’Ieteren, the automobile distributor.
Founded in 2018, Skipr is an all-in-one solution for corporate mobility, helping companies in Belgium and France to easily manage, plan, book and pay for corporate mobility. This makes it possible for employees to swap company cars for a mobility budget that is both flexible and sustainable. The offer consists of three key tools:
- An app gets users to their destinations, using a combination of public, private and shared mobility.
- A payment card grants users access to services and payments throughout Europe.
- A management platform allows operators to decide on employee budgets, while integrating payroll info, mobility packs and expenses.
The deal between ALD and Skipr benefits both parties, as they are complementary. Skipr has the specific technological know-how and typical startup drive to market a high-performing MaaS solution. ALD has the network, maturity and strategy (as per its Move 2025 plan) to implement large-scale mobility innovation.
Mr de Lophem, what makes Skipr unique enough to warrant ALD’s interest?
Mathieu de Lophem (CEO, Skipr): “Most MaaS platforms either offer an app, to serve as the driver’s co-pilot; or a payment card, as a passe-partout for various services. Skipr actually offers both, and there’s nobody else who does that. Plus, by expanding from Belgium into France, we’ve proven that we can scale our MaaS business. Not a lot of our competitors have done the same. Also, via our two pre-existing shareholders, we have intimate knowledge of how the automotive world works.”
How will this deal help Skipr grow?
“In four ways. Firstly, the injection of capital allows us to invest in products and services. As you know, growth has a certain cost. Secondly, we can now leverage ALD’s commercial network and footprint. Thirdly, I expect we will learn a lot from ALD’s MaaS experiments in the Netherlands. And finally, we’ve discovered that we have DNA in common – we share a genuine wish to go further in mobility. I for one was amazed at the diversity of ALD’s mobility offering.”
Which new markets will you target?
“We’ll target markets where two conditions are met. On the one hand, they have to have the right fiscal incentives in place for mobility budgets, as is the case in Belgium and France. And ALD must be present in those markets. Since we now can benefit from their market connections, it would be highly inefficient to do otherwise.”
And which countries correspond to those criteria?
“Things are changing fast, due to Covid and the rise of homeworking. At country level, we see Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK moving towards giving companies the fiscal tools they need. And there are also similar things happening at city level, in Milan, for example.”
Ms Govi, how does ALD’s investment in Skipr fit in with Move 2025, your strategic plan?
Vanessa Govi (Chief Digital Officer, ALD): “In that plan, we lay out our amibition to become a leader in sustainable mobility. To that end, we’re finding solutions in dialogue with our customers. That’s how we arrived at ALD Move, which we co-designed with some of our Dutch clients. Our question was: How do we scale this? We looked around, and found Skipr to be the most natural fit for us, in terms of skills and expertise.”
With ALD Move in the Netherlands, you have your own MaaS solution. How exactly will you integrate it with Skipr?
“ALD Move is focused on influencing driver behaviour through gamification. Skipr is very strong in technology. Those are two different specialisms. We intend to develop them in parallel, and converge them at some point in the future.”
From a customer perspective, what’s going to be the first consequence of this deal?
“That we’ll roll out ALD Move in France, before the end of this year. For us, this will be more than just offering Skipr, because for us, ALD Move also comprises services beyond the merely technological, such as our consultancy.”
And beyond France?
“We’ll take ALD Move where our customers want. And we’re already noticing quite an appetite for the formula with customers in other countries.”
As per the press release sent out this morning, expansion further into Europe is foreseen for 2023, with implementation in all major European cities planned for 2025.