It’s a battlefield of alternative urban mobility solutions as an increasing amount of bike sharing and e-scooter services clutter up the sidewalks to offer services that not all residents are convinced of.
The scooter startup Bird is reportedly about to be valued at $2 billion, after having raised $150 million at a $1 billion valuation just a few weeks. Their competition Lime raised an additional $250 million. Bird was valued at $300 million in a financing round earlier in 2018, just to put things in perspective. Bird, which only began operation in 2017, has been flooding the sidewalks of major American metropolises, alongside other operators such as Lime and Spin. The new funding should give Bird a significant edge, as it aims to expand to more cities around the US with its all-black two-wheelers.
This rapid progression takes its cue from Uber and Lyft: Bird founder Travis VanderZanden used to be an executive at both companies, and seems to be replicating their ultra-rapid scale plans with his latest company. The e-scooter frenzy has also been take up by the Uber team as a call to cation with them confirming to The Verge that they intend to apply for a permit to operate e-scooters in San Fransisco. This is just one arm of Uber’s expansion into other options for urban mobility. In April the company acquired bike-sharing startup JUMP for an undisclosed amount of money.
This is not an unexpected move for ridesharing companies.Ola, the Indian ride-hailing startup, expanded into bicycles in December and called it Ola Pedal. This service is now available on a handful of university campuses in India. In Southeast Asia the Uber-imitation Grab and the Chinese Didi also launched their own respective bike-share services this year. Both Didi and Grab have also invested directly in bike-sharing startups Ofo and OBike, respectively.
With these investments in two-wheeled methods of transportation it seems that an there is an international shift towards more effective alternatives in urban areas.
Photo by Limebike