Overnight, an infestation descended on city streets. It was a swarm. What was once a benign child’s toy suddenly became a civic scourge.

Or, if you happened to likeriding one of these electric scooters — which is basically a skateboard with handlebars — you see them as an incredibly affordable, green, fun-to-ride mode of convenient transportation.

E-Scooters have arrived. En masse. Whether you love them or hate them, some 65 cities worldwide find themselves suddenly having to deal with them.

Electric scooters cost as little as $195 for a rudimentary model at Costco, and can weigh between 25–40 pounds. They reach speeds of about 15 mph — fast enough to get a rider from their home to public transit, or from public transit to work (what is considered “last mile” transportation).

They’re one part of a bigger picture called “micromobility,” and it’s one of the hottest investment opportunities on the street today.

New Millionaires are Being Created from This Megatrend

Micromobility’s addressable market in the US is valued as high as $1.4 trillion annually.[1] This may appear like an astronomically high number, but it seems completely reasonable when you consider that almost half of all vehicle trips in the United States are under three miles.[2]

New companies, who are producing micro-transportation devices, have rolled out at an electrifying clip in cities across the world — and they continue to create new millionaires almost by the minute.

In 2017, investors plunged $2.8 billion into bike sharing start-ups, up from $343 million the prior year, according to CB Insights.[3]

Segment leader startup Bird raised $400 million last year, and skyrocketed to an astounding $2 billion valuation.[4] Bird rose to unicorn status faster than any other startup in history, notching this $2 billion price tag in less than a year!

To put that into perspective: Airbnb took nearly three years to reach a $1 billion valuation — and Uber needed four. It appears that the world is ready for micromobility solutions like never before.

This record-breaking growth is driven, in part, by increasing consumer demand. According to Micromobility Industries, shared scooters and dockless bikes have attracted nearly 500 million users in barely three years, making micromobility the fastest technological adoption in history.[5]

Following in the footsteps of Bird, their major competitor Lime, only eighteen months into operations, raised an equally stunning $382 million from investors and climbed to a valuation of $1.28 billion.[6] This demonstrates there is room for more than one winner in the space — and those who win…win big!

And it looks like this is much more than a fad. The MaaS (mobility-as-a-service) market is expected to grow to approximately $9.5 trillion by 2030.[7] Yes — you read that right. This massive upward trend, locked into a groove now, owes major thanks to technical advancements in equipment, including more efficient electric drive trains.

Car Sharing to be Overtaken by Scooter Sharing

Sales of electric-powered micro-transport have continued to climb year-over-year. URB-E, a foldable, electric scooter company based out of California, has sold thousands of foldable electric scooters to consumers since 2015. The company’s scooters range in price from $900 to $2,000.

There was also an enormous transaction that was just announced related to foldable e-scooters with a Hollywood celebrity, but more on that later…

Along with scooters, people are piling onto the earlier-introduced, e-bicycle bandwagon.

The Economist reports that, “In Germany, 15% of new bikes sold in 2016 were electric, with sales up by 13% and exports by 66% compared with 2015. Belgium and France are big markets too. Whereas exports of regular bikes from China, Taiwan and Vietnam to the European Union fell by 15% between 2014 and 2016, e-bike exports more than doubled.”[8]

Forward thinking businesses are also joining the ride. One of Germany’s largest electric fleets is owned by Deutsche Post DHL (FRA: DPW / OTC: DPSGY), a logistics giant, and includes around 12,000 e-bikes.[9]

But there’s more to the phenomenal success of the Birds and Limes of the world than just electric micro-transport. The real nitro in the mix of explosive growth, and the second major trend driving this train, should be pretty obvious — Ride Sharing.

Arguably, the hottest new segment of the RideShare market, an emerging mode that goes beyond the Lime and Bird electrified scooter model, are “real” scooters, the kind you sit on — think electric Vespas — that have begun to turn up in cities around the world.

This type of scooter sharing has boomed since 2015, and programs can be found in 30 cities around the world — primarily in Europe.[10]

In fact, 2017 saw a quadrupling of the number of scooters deployed. According to research firm InnoZ, “The floating car-sharing market might be overtaken by the scooter-sharing market in [the] future; ([its] large potential being mainly due to lower capital investment needs and the benefits of needing less time to find a suitable parking space).”

There are other benefits that tip the scales in favor of e-scooters, too. According to a recent Wired article, “…the cost of fueling an e-scooter is a little more than 1% of the cost of fueling even a car that delivers a respectable 28 miles per gallon.”[11] It really is a greener alternative.