Yellow: Same Old Idea, Brand New Region

Geoff Stevens
November 14, 2018

[ TL;DR ]

  • Brazilian startup Yellow is the latest example of an e-scooter company mimicking an innovative idea and airdropping into a new geography
  • If you’re looking for a great idea to pursue, recycle one from another region

There goes another neighborhood.

Yellow, a Brazilian dockless bike and e-scooter company, raised $63M in Series A funding in September, a significant follow up to their $12.3M seed earlier this year. It’s not exactly a new idea.

The founding team is made up of ride-sharing veterans Ariel Lambrecht and Renato Freitas (who sold their startup to Didi Chuxing for $1B), and cycling industry expert Eduardo Musa.

Yellow is backed by GGV, who has a long history of investing in mobility-focused startups, like Bay Area-based Lime. Yellow, however, is their first Latin American investment.

Location, location, location

What’s unique about Yellow? Geography.

Map of e-scooter and mobility startups across the world, showing Yellow in Brazil

From GGV themselves: “Megacities across the world–whether it’s Beijing, Jakarta, or Sao Paulo–are experiencing the same trends.” What does that mean for success? “Micro-mobility solutions tailored to local conditions should take off quickly.”

Whether its Lime, Yellow, or another citrus color, the trend of founders and venture capitalists tapping into global ideas and regionalizing them shows no signs of slowing down.

Geographic arbitrage as a driver of innovation

We’ve seen this before, from food delivery to chat apps to home-sharing, or even the world of the Samwer brothers who take popular ideas from the US and Asia and bring them to populous non-English speaking countries. With companies like Uber and Ofo scaling back international ambitions, the opportunity for region-focused startups like Yellow continues to grow.

Looking for your next innovative idea? Try a tried-and-true strategy—recycling from another part of the world.

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