‘I hope to contribute to the solution of one the biggest problems we have in Brazil, which is urban congestion for those who use public transport in large cities. It’s challenging, but I do not like small problems: it’s the big, complicated ones that really interest me.’ Says Brazilian entrepreneur Eduardo Musa, who just raised $63 million for his bicycle sharing start-up Yellow, to Forbes.

The dockless bike sharing system launched in 2017 in the centre of São Paulo, which has the worst congestion problems in the world. The venture capital now raised allows the start-up not only to invest in more bicycles and e-scooters for São Paulo, but also to expand the service in due time to Mexico City, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

100,000 bikes by 2019

Yellow was founded by Musa, former owner of local bicycle manufacturer Caloi, which he sold in 2013. He was joined by Ariel Lambrecht and Renato Freitas, who also just sold their start-up 99, a peer-to-peer ridesharing service, for $1 billion to Chinese transport entrepreneur Didi Chuxing.

Yellow’s operations started with 500 bikes in São Paulo in August 2017. According to Forbes, the goal is to expand the fleet to 20,000 units by the end of this year and reach 100,000 by 2019. The scooter offering is now tested and waiting for regulatory approval.

One hour gained per day

The Yellow bike are only available in the rich city centre, for which the founders have been criticized. But Musa defends the choice, explaining that the service is especially beneficial to those who live in the outskirts but work in the centre.

‘People can spend 40 to 50 minutes on a bus to cover a three-kilometre distance in some business districts. Today, they have the option to use Yellow, paying one real ($0.27) instead of 4 ($1.08) and covering the same route in 15 minutes. Considering the round trip, we are returning one hour to the lives of these people,’ Musa argues.

Join the challenge

Enhancing the mobility of the Paulistas while reducing carbon emissions is the main task for designers in the São Paulo track of the WDCD Clean Energy Challenge. Anyone with a great idea can join the challenge, there is still time until 5 December to submit and after that there is another period for refinement. So don’t hesitate.