The decision is not expected for another fifteen days. The French shared scooters start-up, Cityscoot, operating in Paris, is awaiting a new owner or facing liquidation. More will be known by late afternoon: at 5 pm, on Quai de Corse, the Paris commercial court will hold a hearing to consider two takeover offers. The other offer is from Cooltra, another shared scooters operator also present in Paris.
Cityscoot’s survival is at stake because its two historical shareholders (Caisse des Depots and RATP) unexpectedly withdrew their support. This happened even after the company had obtained the right, along with two other brands, to operate its scooters in the capital for five years. The shareholders did not want to invest further to renew the entire fleet with rechargeable vehicles. In the late afternoon, Bertrand Fleurose will explain why he still believes in Cityscoot’s future.
“By acquiring new scooters, the company will make money,” says the entrepreneur. “These connected vehicles are three times cheaper than when we first started. And their operating costs have been halved.” Personnel expenses have also been significantly reduced as the company downsized its workforce and focused its operations in Paris.
In his plan, Bertrand Fleurose would retain just over 90% of the team. The goal is to return to profitability by at least 2025, with an EBITDA of about one million. However, the main challenge is financing. “My takeover plan requires four or five million euros,” says Bertrand.
“So far, I have only found a small portion. I will therefore ask the Commercial Court to give me a little more time to finalize my funding round.” The entrepreneur needs about a fortnight to secure the necessary funds. The situation is far from being won as the start-up is reportedly losing 250,000 euros per week.
Cooltra proposes to take over Cityscoot for 400,000 euros and retain only 30 employees out of the current 150. Cooltra aims to leverage Cityscoot’s customer base and brand if its offer is accepted. The Paris market will initially include the 1,100 Cityscoot scooters, with the possibility of expanding the fleet further during the upcoming Olympic Games. The Commercial Court will have to decide between the two offers and is expected to take about two weeks to determine the best solution for Cityscoot’s survival.