Photo: Mottu/Instagram

With motorcycle rentals, Mottu rides two rising waves: the gig economy and the delivery services

By creating a solution to help gig workers and meet the growing demand for delivery services, Mottu has attracted global investors

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“Serve the unserved”. With this motto, the Brazilian Mottu has been conquering the expanding market of delivery. Mottu is a mobility and motorcycle rental startup whose target audience is the workers of the so-called gig economy, especially those who work with delivery.

Through its platform, Mottu rents motorcycles at reduced prices without requiring income proof or credit history, even unbanked people can rent a motorcycle.

“If the worker has no job and no income, he cannot buy a motorcycle to work. What we do is buy the asset to unlock this flow. And by doing this, we help people to earn income. They rent a motorcycle and go out to work. This is the greatest pride of Mottu ”, explains Rubens Zanelatto, Mottu’s founder and CEO.

Rubens Zanelatto, founder and CEO at Mottu. Photo: Courtesy

The entire process of hiring the motorcycles happens online, in the startup‘s own app. For an average amount of BRL 35 per day, the partner driver rents the motorcycle and is entitled to preventive maintenance, rescue service, spare motorcycle and accident insurance.

Once in the Mottu platform, he is connected to marketplaces and other delivery and retail apps, such as Rappi and iFood. In addition to the bike, the partner (or Mottuboy) also has access to BoraBora Delivery, an exclusive delivery app developed by Mottu that has Mercado Libre and Box Delivery among its customers.

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The average number of deliveries made with Mottu motorcycles ranges from 15.000 to 20.000 per day. The startup makes a profit only by renting motorcycles; the drivers can keep all the payments for deliveries.

With this business model, in just over a year, Mottu already has a fleet of over 1,300 motorcycles and more than 3,000 partner drivers. Besides, it has already raised three funding rounds with major investors such as Caravela Capital, Allievo Capital and Tiger Global, and investors linked to giant companies such as 99, Yellow and Nubank.

The “gig economy” potential 

Founded in January 2020, Mottu went into operation shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic strongly impacted consumption and leveraged all types of delivery services, especially food and retail markets.

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Mottu’s business model stood out in meeting two demands at once. On one hand, e-commerce and food-delivery companies that have a proven demand for delivery and logistics services – according to data from the Webshoppers 43 Ebit | Nielsen & Bexs Banco report, Brazilian e-commerce sales grew 41% in 2020 and handled BRL 87.4 billion

On the other hand, a contingent of millions of unemployed Brazilians – according to Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) data, the unemployment rate reached 14.4% in February, the highest level since 2012 – which could meet this demand but cannot afford to buy one motorcycle to work.

We saw a business opportunity related to the gig economy because employability will be a growing challenge and the way to solve this problem is micro-entrepreneurship. Mottu serves both ends: the demand for employment and the generation of autonomous income, and the sector’s demand to improve the logistics and delivery infrastructure.

Rubens zanelatto, Mottu’s founder and ceo

Concrete problem, scalable solution

Before Mottu‘s success, Zanelatto followed a less linear entrepreneurial trajectory. First, he bet on the pharmacy segment and created a training solution for sellers. The endeavor lasted three years and had more than a thousand stores linked to the platform. Not exactly a failure, the business was shut down because growth has stalled.

Zanelatto says that after that started looking for a new problem to solve. This mindset focused on results and constant growth combined with the knowledge acquired in the first experience was crucial to creating Mottu from a concrete problem and a sure and scalable solution – a combination that caught the attention of major investors.

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After six months, Mottu raised two seed rounds led by Caravela Capital, with the participation of Allievo Capital and angel investors like Ariel Lambrecht, co-founder of 99, reaching a valuation of $ 17 million. In March 2021, Mottu raised a Series A round led by venture capital fund Base Partners and Crankstart; Tiger Global and investors like David Vélez, Nubank founder, also participated. The amount of the funding round and the new valuation were not disclosed.

The goal now, according to Zanelatto, is to become the largest motorcycle rental platform in Brazil, reaching a fleet of 10,000 motorcycles.