June 3, 2020 / 3:59 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil bike-sharing co Tembici raises $47 mln to fund expansion

(Adds interview with CEO)

By Carolina Mandl

SAO PAULO, June 3 (Reuters) - Brazilian bike-sharing company Tembici has raised $47 million in its second finance round to widely roll out electric bikes and expand services, betting that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to draw more people to commute by bike, it said on Wednesday.

The funding round was led by venture capital investors Valor Capital Group and Redpoint eventures, in addition to existing investor Joa Investimentos. International Finance Corp, the private investment arm of the World Bank, also contributed to the latest round.

Carlos Leiria Pinto, IFC’s Brazil country manager, said in a statement he believes that “micromobility solutions” will be critical in the post-pandemic context as commuters look to escape crowded subways and buses.

Tembici will use the proceeds to expand its fleet in cities across South America and to widen its offering of electric bicycles which it has also been testing in some markets, its chief executive, Tomás Martins, said.

“When lockdowns are lifted, bike usage is likely to increase a lot, as it is already happening in Europe,” said Martins.

Martins said use of Tembici’s bikes in Brazil, Argentina and Chile has dropped as the company has actively discouraged ridership due to stay-at-home orders. He declined to specify the decline, adding that the bikes’ main users now are deliverers and other workers providing essential services.

In an attempt to safeguard users from COVID-19, Tembici has been cleaning its bikes, sponsored by Itau Unibanco Holding SA in Brazil and Santiago, twice per day.

Founded in 2010, Tembici operates 16,000 bikes spread across Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Porto Alegre, Salvador, Buenos Aires and Santiago, with 16,000. The company declined to say how many bikes it will add to its network after the latest funding round. (Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)

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