Leading European micro-mobility startup CIRC opens Gulf HQ, first approved e-scooter in the region

Just months after Dubai's transport authority (RTA) banned electric scooters from the emirate in order to investigate their use, the first international micro-mobility company officially launched in the Gulf region in partnership with local regulators and private developers. In March 2019, the RTA announced that it was “currently considering the technical and legislative requirements to allow the operation of electric scooters in addition to the conditions and commitment of scooter drivers."

Circ, Europe’s micro-mobility champion, also announced that it has established a regional HQ in the UAE, with a multi-million-dollar investment that is the company’s first foray beyond Europe. People are now able to use e-scooters in designated areas of Abu Dhabi on Circ’s certified, purpose-built e-scooters.

The Berlin-based start-up is Europe’s largest and fastest growing micro-mobility company, exceeding three million rides already this year. Circ’s service is now available in 39 cities in 12 countries and is enjoyed by hundreds of people every minute.

Circ was co-founded by Lukasz Gadowski who previously created Delivery Hero, which owns and operates regional food delivery brands Talabat, Carriage, Zomato UAE and HungerStation. Lukasz is also an investor and board member of Volocopter, the flying taxi service being piloted in Dubai.

Lukasz Gadowski, Co-Founder of Circ​,​ ​said:

“We are building a European champion with global ambitions. We stand for responsible micro-mobility, working with city authorities, local communities and other road users to transform urban transportation wherever we are welcome. The vibrant ecosystem of innovation and eagerness to try new concepts in the UAE makes it a perfect place for Circ.”

Circ’s vehicles are purpose-built for continuous shared use. They put safety first, are sturdier, and are designed to last longer. They have larger wheels, better suspension, longer battery life, the industry’s best braking system, and many other standout features. Every Circ ride is insured, with personal accident, third-party liability and product-liability insurance in the UAE. Circ provides clear in-app safety instructions and local guidelines on how to use the vehicles legally and responsibly.

In addition to launching in Abu Dhabi, further expansion elsewhere in the Gulf region is also in development, led by Circ MENA co-founders, Jaideep Dhanoa and Bader Al Kalooti.

Jaideep was most recently the global head of Grab’s micro-mobility business and is returning to Dubai where he lived for more than a decade. He brings many years of professional and industry experience from Grab, Careem, McKinsey & Co. and the Walt Disney Company.

Jaideep Dhanoa, Circ MENA Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, says:

“​Congestion is an increasing challenge in the region as lots of tech-savvy people move to cities. Micro-mobility provides a convenient, quick and affordable alternative to the car, which is fully electric and eco-friendly. It also increases access to the public transit networks which are being developed. Countries like the UAE have an unrivalled opportunity to lead the world in developing cleaner, safer, better-connected journeys.”

Bader is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and scaled several successful start-ups in Dubai, including Laundrybox, Mybox, and S’wich. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he spent six years as an investment banker with Citigroup where he was involved in some of the region’s largest M&A deals, IPOs and bond issuances.

Bader Al Kalooti, Circ MENA Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer​, adds:

“​We make sure Circ’s service is optimised for each city, taking into consideration factors like the weather, the landscape and the needs of the local community. That is going to be especially important for us in the UAE and the wider Gulf region as we focus on our mission to deliver dependable, high-quality rides everywhere. We take our responsibilities very seriously as a true partner to the cities where we live and work..”

As part of their commitment to operational excellence, Circ continuously monitors where its vehicles are most needed, rapidly repositioning them in response to  consumer demand and municipal authorities’ requirements. Circ works hard to ensure that its e-scooters are properly parked and is testing incentives for responsible use in and across municipalities. To ensure reliability and maximum availability, Circ maintains its fleet of vehicles twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, all year round. 

With safety being the primary consideration for Circ, the company is working with leading vehicle safety assessment and monitoring experts to develop guidelines for users on this new form of mobility, and supports the improvement of standards across the industry.