An electric scooter sharing firm has raised $30 million (£22.6 million) to expand around Europe and invest in further research to fend off growing competition.

Swedish VOI Technology was set up seven months ago and is poised to take on the likes of tech giants Uber and Alphabet, both of which have invested in their own versions of a pay-as-you-use electric scooter.

The start-up is backed by investors such Nicolas Brusson, CEO of BlaBlaCar.

In the US, critics of the electric scooter argue that tech companies introduced the vehicles to streets without working with local authorities.

“Asking permission before we enter new towns and cities means we can work with the authorities on the ground to offer not only a viable alternative to cars, but also help people to combine their e-scooter journeys with the existing public transport network to make moving around as seamless as possible,” said VOI’s CEO Fredrik Hjelm.

“This latest investment means we can take that approach to a range of new cities, while continuing to invest heavily in our product, technology and team."

Since its August launch, VOI has built up over 400,000 riders, taking more than 750,000 rides, and it said it would use the new funds to expand in Italy, Germany, Norway and France.

The UK is unlikely to see the VOI scooters though, as The Department for Transport requires riders to obtain the same papers as moped drivers.