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New Zealand-owned e-scooter company Flamingo flaps into the Auckland market

E-scooters continue to fall from the sky, raining down across different regions of New Zealand, causing equal amounts of joy and pain to communities. The regional councils have scrambled to make sense of them, but consumers have mostly loved the breeze in their hair, despite a few blood noses and stubbed toes. The popular results have caused new brands to enter into the ‘micro-mobility’ market – the latest being Flamingo, the first, and only, New Zealand-owned electric scooter company to hit the streets. We chat to the ambitious 21-year-old founders Jacksen Love and Nick Hyland.     

Today, Flamingo announced it has officially launched into Auckland. It will join fellow e-scooter outfits, Lime and Wave, representing the only New Zealand-owned and operated e-scooter company, across Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch (where it's set to launch later this year). It’s also the only single operator with a presence in all three markets. Not bad, considering it’s going up against huge global companies: Uber, Bird, and Lime – who is also part-owned by Uber. 

It released the shackles in Wellington, after a competitive pitching process against seven other e-scooter companies—that apparently left Lime fuming—and became one of two companies, the other being Uber’s Jump, who were chosen by the Wellington City Council to provide e-scooter services in the capital. 

Hylands says it was particularly special for the pair as they're both Wellingtonians.

Flamingo is vastly different from its big global competitors. Firstly it's not owned by Uber, but a pair of humble 21-year-olds who have a background in software development, finance and business, and have worked together in previous start-up accelerator programmes. 

Asked how they found the money to start the business, Hylands says, “We went down the private equity path and have the support of a small number of people, who are all entrepreneurial-minded owners of New Zealand businesses, who support Flamingo’s vision to be the first choice for short and on-demand trips within New Zealand cities.”

It’s biggest competitive advantage against the big global players, Hyland says, is that it is locally owned and operated. Being on the ground in New Zealand has been particularly useful when building trusted relationships with local government, who tend to be more sceptical about the flightier international brands. 

Hylands says the Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch City Councils are its partners in the trials and it retains an open line of communication with them at all times.

"Together we share the common goal of providing Kiwis with a safe, fun and convenient way to travel around town whilst playing a positive role in the future of urban mobility in New Zealand.”

Aside from being locally owned, and adorning a flashy pink colour palette, Flamingo claims to be the safest e-scooter solution in the country. The e-scooters include daily safety checks, in-app training programmes and free helmets for users, along with Flamingo safety ambassadors located around Auckland and Wellington streets.

Hylands says it will continue to work closely with local government to remain heavily involved in public education, enforcing its extensive list of safety initiatives which include the identification of 'speed restriction', 'no riding', and 'no parking' zones within the city.

These features have proved popular to Wellingtonians, as over 30,000 users have signed up since its launch on 18 June, and completed over 55,000 rides in that time. Now, it hopes Aucklanders will also support the smaller, safer, player in the e-scooter market.  

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