October 16, 2019
TDK Ventures invests in micromobility company Wheels
TDK Ventures has invested in shared electric mobility company Wheels, whose innovative, safety-first ‘people moving’ technology and mass market design appeals to a wide gender and age demographic and has a high growth trajectory.
Wheels will leverage TDK Corporation’s deep expertise in electronics and sustainable energy solutions, and TDK’s extensive global reach, to help expand operations, meet increasing global customer demand and advance its technology to the next generation in micromobility electric transportation.
TDK Corporation (TSE: 6762) announces that its subsidiary TDK Ventures Inc. has added to its growing portfolio of companies with its investment in Wheels, an operator of a shared electric mobility platform designed to revolutionize dockless mobility with its compact e-bike, to bolster the company’s momentum and innovation. As an investor in Wheels’ over-subscribed funding round led by DBL Partners, TDK Ventures furthers its own mission to propel digital and energy transformational change, ultimately building a more meaningful and sustainable future for the world.
“Our core mission is to bring forward inherently safer, more sustainable and more inclusive solutions that we believe will unlock micromobility to reach its full potential,” said Joshua Viner, CEO at Wheels. “We recognized this same dedication in the team at TDK, and we look forward to engaging with them to continue to innovate on compelling micromobility solutions as a key competitive differentiator for us in the market.”
TDK Ventures was announced in July 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation, with a mission of providing startups with access to TDK’s expertise. TDK Ventures expects to work with its portfolio companies to identify and explore new ideas and technologies that will fundamentally transform how the world operates.
Wheels was founded by brothers Joshua and Jonathan Viner, successful serial entrepreneurs with three prior ventures over the last decade. Wheels is a shared electric micromobility platform that connects dockless electric bicycles. The Wheels e-bike has large wheels and a low center of gravity, and in an upcoming release will include a patent-pending shareable and smart helmet system integrated directly into the bike. In addition to being more comfortable than a standup scooter, its modular design allows for easily swappable replacement parts, including replaceable batteries, to significantly improve unit economics and deliver a longer product life cycle.
“This is a great complement to our portfolio. Wheels is about moving people around and our first investment, Starship Technologies, is about moving things around,” said Nicolas Sauvage, Managing Director at TDK Ventures. “With this inside view across the spectrum of the micromobility industry, we’ll be able to better identify new trends early, including changing regulations, so we can apply our learnings to create solutions in TDK’s roadmap that are intersecting with these emerging and meaningful new applications.”
About TDK Corporation
TDK Corporation is a leading electronics company based in Tokyo, Japan. It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK's comprehensive portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, Chirp, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in the areas of information and communication technology and automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2019, TDK posted total sales of USD 12.5 billion and employed about 105,000 people worldwide.
About TDK Ventures
TDK Ventures Inc. invests in startups to bolster innovation in material science, energy/power and related areas typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios. Established in 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation, the corporate venture company’s vision is to propel the digital and energy transformations of segments such as health and wellness, next-generation transportation, robotics and industrial, mixed reality and the wider IoT/IIoT markets. TDK Ventures will co-invest and support promising portfolio companies by providing technical expertise and access to global markets where TDK operates. Interested startups or investment partners may contact TDK Ventures: www.tdk-ventures.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.