Case Study: Kuhmute in Michigan

Posted on
January 24, 2020

When one Flint, Michigan resident saw a scooter left on the sidewalk, she called the police. But she wasn't calling to complain about the scooter being in the way. She loved the scooters as a way of getting around and worried that this scooter would get stolen if left outside. The local police department came, picked up the scooter, and returned it to the Kuhmute team.

That's how things have been going for Kuhmute. The Mayor recently highlighted Kuhmute as an innovative company in her State of the City Address and residents are loving the scooters as a new way of getting around downtown.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver highlights Kuhmute in her State of the City Address. Source.

When the scooter craze began, Peter Deppe and Scott Spitler were finishing college at Kettering University. From their first experience zipping around Detroit they fell in love with scooters, and knew that the issues people had with them (littering the streets and blocking sidewalks) was a solvable problem. So they set off to solve it!

As part of their senior design project, they created Kuhmute, a docking station that locks scooters in place while charging them. The locking prevents theft, docking stations prevent clutter, and charging reduces operational cost.

In October, Kuhmute began running a pilot scooter rental program in Flint, Michigan to understand how riders would respond to their docks. They've been running a pilot with 40 Acton scooters and Spring for their software.

The Pilot So Far

Kuhmute launched their pilot with a fleet of Acton M-Pro scooters.

Kuhmute launched their pilot with a fleet of Acton M-Pro scooters.

The pilot has gone better than any of us expected. The scooters get a lot of use and city loves to have a local company providing new mobility.

The pilot launched on October 18th with 20 scooters on the ground. In the first couple weeks, the scooters averaged 1.9 rides / scooter / day and Kuhmute pulls in over $1,000 in revenue each week. And this is happening in 50 degree weather.

Their docking stations reduce their logistics burden, so Peter and Scott have managed to charge and maintain their scooters without hiring any additional operations people.

Kuhmute uses a geofence in Spring to restrict scooters to the area around downtown and Kettering University. That helps them make the most of their small fleet.

Unit Economics

When operating a scooter company the main metrics that determine profitability are:

  • Rides / Scooter / Day: How many rides does each vehicle in your fleet get each day?
  • Vehicle Lifespan: How long can your vehicle operate before it needs to be retired?
  • Average Revenue / Ride: How much money, on average, do you make on each ride taken?
  • Operations Cost: How much it costs to manage your fleet (warehouse, insurance, workers, etc)

Pulling a couple weeks of data from Kuhmute's launch:

They've achieved a profitable week operating in Flint, Michigan right before the start of winter with a fleet of 20 active scooters! We are starting to see rides decrease due to the cold weather, but their numbers should be even higher as the weather improves.

You can play around with Kuhmute's numbers on the Can I Kick It? calculator we made.

Kuhmute's Docks

This video shows an overview of how Kuhmute's docks work.

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