Gogoro: Taiwan’s “Baby Tesla” the Scooter Heads for Wall Street

The company will debut on the Nasdaq on Tuesday after merging with a special purpose vehicle, Poema Global (PPGH). The deal values the vehicle manufacturer at around 2.35 billion US dollars. That’s more than triple the last published valuation of $800 million in September 2017.

The Taipei-based company has raised at least $335 million in cash through the transaction, which closed on Monday, and trades under the ticker symbol “GGR.”

Gogoro was founded in 2011 by CEO Horace Luke, a self-proclaimed “mad scientist” who previously led product strategy for XBox Microsoft (MSFT) and innovation at electronics giant HTC. The company, which is also backed by Foxconn and Temasek, sells its own electric scooters and subscriptions to its battery swapping network.

The network includes thousands of stations where drivers can easily switch their batteries within minutes.

Its largest market is in Taiwan, where Gogoro says it powers 97% of all electric two-wheelers. Just under two years ago, Luke said he felt the company wasn’t ready to expand beyond the compact island.

Now “we’re more than ready,” he said in an interview with CNN Business Tuesday, adding that the proceeds from the IPO would allow it to scale overseas and “become more aggressive” in countries like China, India and Southeast Asia “. .

expansion plans

The company is embarking on an international expansion, aiming to expand to at least six cities in mainland China, one city in India and all of Jakarta over the next year.

“We set up the partnerships, we set up the technology,” Luke said.

Much of the playbook will rely on connections with players like Hero Moto, which bills itself as the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters. Gogoro announced a partnership with the company in India last year, one of them the largest two-wheeler markets worldwide.

The deal will help bring Gogoro’s battery swap stations to India and will allow both companies to develop new vehicles that will be branded Hero but powered by Gogoro’s batteries, they said in a statement.
In China, the company has partnered with two of the country’s leading two-wheeler manufacturers, Dachangjiang Group and Yadea.
In Southeast Asia, Gogoro has partnered with Gojek, an Indonesian ride-hailing company, to pilot a smart scooter.
But electric scooters have come under closer scrutiny lately as reports surfaced of vehicles catching fire around the world, including in India and China.

Luke argued that Gogoro’s scooters are inherently safer because users can Instead of forcing them to charge themselves at home or elsewhere, return batteries to designated stations where the technology is constantly checked.

Clean energy

The executive sees Scooter as just the beginning of an electric revolution.

“There are many applications we can use for these batteries beyond mobility,” he said. referring to Gogoro’s plans to power smart parking meters or traffic lights. “Think of us as portable batteries, only much bigger.”

Luke said the company chose New York for its offering because of its deep liquidity pool and the ability of investors there “to look beyond today.”

He said he had not yet considered a dual listing in Taiwan, but acknowledged that it existed potential Challenges that come with debuting in New York.

Many people in the United States “might not understand the importance of two-wheelers,” he added.

Tesla is bucking the trend to report rising car sales again

Young people these days are “looking at Tesla,” the CEO said. But the majority of drivers in cities like Bangkok, Mumbai and Ho Chi Minh City may never be able to afford these electric vehicles, he added.

Gogoro fills that gap, he argues.

“If you thought Tesla was awesome, check out Gogoro,” Luke said, adding that the company has sometimes been referred to as “the little baby Tesla, or the Tesla of two-wheelers.”

“This electrification of transportation, especially with Tesla at the helm, [creates] a great tailwind for us.”

— CNN’s Wayne Chang contributed to this report.

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