Spanish private equity fund manager Sherpa Capital has acquired a stake in Barcelona-based public bicycle-sharing business CityBike.
CityBike will use the investment to boost its international operations by launching bike-sharing systems in new cities in Europe and Latin America.
CityBike was founded in 2014 as the micro-mobility division of transport business Moventia Group. It initially ran the pubic bicycle system in Helsinki, Finland, and has now launched three further schemes in Finland and Peru.
A Sherpa Capital statement said: “At a sector level, public or shared bicycles offer an environmentally friendly urban mobility alternative that reduces traffic congestion in cities. This interest in bicycle sharing has now been accentuated by the search for ecological mobility solutions and alternatives to traditional private and public transport derived from the Covid-19 situation.”
Arcano and Escala Legal acted as financial and legal advisors respectively to Moventia-CityBike, while DLA Piper and KPMG acted as legal and financial advisors to Sherpa.
Sherpa partner Lars Becker (pictured) said: "Sherpa's entry into the capital of CityBike will provide the company with resources to implement its expansion plan and, additionally, will serve to support the management team organizationally with a focus on commercial development and business scalability. Throughout this process we will also count on the extensive experience of Moventia, which will continue to be a support of very high value in the development of CityBike."
This is the third transaction completed by Sherpa Capital’s private equity vehicle (which is the firm's third after Sherpa Capital I and Sherpa Capital II). It reached a final closing of $150 million in 2018. Unlike Sherpa Capital I and II, which followed a strategy of “special situations”, the Sherpa Capital private equity fund focuses on taking stakes, usually majority stakes, in "profitable and growing" small and medium-sized companies with EBITDA of between €2 million and €8 million.
Sherpa Capital currently manages more than €300 million through its special situations and private equity funds.
Jordi Cabañas, general director of CityBike, said: "Sherpa's arrival in our company consolidates our international growth project and leaves us in an excellent position to opt for implementing a large number of shared bicycle systems in cities in Europe and Latin America.”
Meanwhile, Miquel Martí Pierre, director of expansion at Moventia, commented: “It is a satisfaction for Moventia to have the opportunity to continue growing in one of our strategic divisions such as the public bicycle, now in the hands of Sherpa Capital. This is a new opportunity for the group to consolidate the work it has started and the investment it has made over the last 10 years in the micro-mobility sector, which is key for any city and country that makes clear commitments to sustainable mobility.”