Investing into Vammo, the future of decarbonised mobility (and cleaner air) in Latin American Megacities
By Shahnaz Khan & Jacob Bro
As we’ve acknowledged in our UNSUSTAINABLE series, the megacities of the future and the largest rural to urban migrations of this century will predominantly be in the Global South. We’ve spent countless hours over this past year looking at climate tech solutions befitting the unique challenges of cities across the Global South and a chord was struck when we came across the emerging cohort of electric 2-wheeler startups serving citizens from Bengaluru to Nairobi to São Paulo. In these cities, motorcycle use is prevalent due to affordability, congestion, less stringent licensing than cars, a lack of public transport infrastructure, and urban sprawl.
However, widespread use of polluting ICE motorcycles has disastrous effects on urban air quality. Despite emitting less CO2 than the average car, many motorcycles emit more nitrogen oxides (due to a lack of catalytic converters) which create toxic smog and acidify rain. Many cities with the largest motorcycle fleets are also the ones with the most catastrophic urban air quality track records around the globe e.g. Delhi, Lahore, Hanoi, Shanghai, and Bangkok.
Worldwide, McKinsey projects that 30% of two-wheelers will be electric by 2030 and they forecast the fastest annual light motorcycle growth in Latin America (5–6% CAGR), India (6–7%), South Asia excl. India (5–6%), and Africa (12–14%).
In Brazil, where transport is the highest energy-related GHG emitter, electric mobility is a particularly attractive solution to decrease greenhouse gas emissions given 88% of Brazil’s electricity is clean renewable energy (BNEF 2023). Yet, the current adoption rate of electric vehicles across the country is less than 0.5% of annual new motorcycle sales and less than 0.1% of new car sales. The main electrification barriers as always are a lack of public charging infrastructure availability and prohibitive price points.
Enter Brazilian startup Vammo! Vammo offers leasing of electric 2-wheelers with a battery swapping network to match and is taking off in São Paulo. The company targets motorcycle couriers and commuters with a subscription package that includes rental of an electric motorbike, documentation, insurance, maintenance and unlimited battery swaps. São Paulo is notorious among Latin American cities for some of the lengthiest commutes, particularly among lower-income populations. However, as electricity typically costs 10x less than gasoline in Brazil, Vammo’s service is an economical alternative to highly emissive ICE motorbikes.
From the first time we met Jack and Billy, we loved their vision of decarbonising transport in São Paulo and eventually Latin America at large, as well as their strength of execution, deep experience, and thoughtfulness about how to build and scale Vammo. Having respectively set up and led the Turbo 10-minute delivery service at Rappi, the leading Latin American delivery startup, and orchestrated Tesla’s supercharger network deployment across Europe, we knew we had found the perfect founder-market fit. Billy and Jack founded Vammo in 2022 and just over 12 months later, they have already enabled 150,000 battery swaps across the network and more than 4 million kilometers of decarbonised urban travel.
We’re thrilled to be investing in their $30m Series A round alongside one of Latin America’s leading venture funds Monashees, mobility experts Maniv, and foundational industry specialists Construct. Vammo!
2150 is a venture capital firm investing in technology companies that seek to sustainably reimagine and reshape the urban environment. 2150’s investment thesis focuses on major unsolved problems across what it calls the ‘Urban Stack’, which comprises every element of the built environment, from the way our cities are designed, constructed and powered, to the way people live, work and are cared for. Find out more at www.2150.vc. 2150 is a part of Urban Partners.