Paywalled; asks for email address to read for free: Scooter Mania Continues as ‘Skip’ Nabs $25 Million, ‘Bird’ Goes to China
Skip, a shared electric scooter operator that was founded by the co-creator of “Boosted Board” electric skateboards, told The Information on Tuesday that it is closing a $25 million Series A funding from Menlo Ventures, Accel Partners and Y Combinator. The funding is believed to value Skip, formerly known as Waybots, at nearly $100 million post-investment, said a person with knowledge of the matter. Both VC firms already are investors in the shared bike and scooter businesses—Menlo recently backed Jump, an electric bike startup acquired by Uber, and Accel has invested in rival scooter firm Bird.
Meanwhile, the scooter startup Bird, led by a veteran of both Uber and Lyft, is setting up an office in China as it looks to expand its ride service globally, according to two people briefed about the move. The strategy takes its cue from Uber’s expansion playbook from several years ago. Like Uber, Bird is expected to face some hurdles in competing against local Chinese operators, but it could be financially rewarded for developing a business there, even if it eventually has to sell its operations the way Uber did.
Bird and its main scooter rival, Lime, which is based in the U.S. but led by Chinese nationals, are asking for fresh capital and valuations at $2 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively. Their sales pitches are similar: Each scooter is projected to earn roughly double what it costs to maintain and charge, they say.
Both companies contend that consumer demand for the services eventually will convince regulators to ease up. The message already has convinced big-name investors over the past year, with Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures recently investing in Bird, while Alphabet’s venture capital arm GV and Andreessen Horowitz invested in Lime.
The new funding would go toward developing custom-made scooters that can go further on one charge. It also could help with potentially costly political and legal battles if city officials shut them out from operating, the firms have told investors. The companies, for instance, will need to lobby for new legislation in New York state later this year to be able to operate e-scooters there.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
Interesting points …
1) Lime, which is based in the U.S. but led by Chinese nationals: I didn’t know Lime was led by Chinese. That explains this idiocy. None of these eScooter companies have ever contacted me. You would think with all the PR spam that zips round the Net — unwanted! — their marketing and PR people would be eager to target this blog. FAIL!
2) Both companies contend that consumer demand for the services eventually will convince regulators to ease up. It’s inevitable that eScooter rentals will win. The crybabies against them will lose. Hell, the NYC subway system now has cellphone service and free WiFi. That was because of demand, not mass transit leadership. The same with the ferries and their terminals offering device recharging.
3) The new funding would go toward developing custom-made scooters that can go further on one charge. That is very, very interesting. Could they push forward both motor and battery technology that could then be used for electric skateboards? And what will these custom eScooters be like? The CitiBikes in NYC are these godawful tank-like things. eScooters need to look sleek and futuristic.
4) The companies, for instance, will need to lobby for new legislation in New York state later this year to be able to operate e-scooters there. Hit the State Senate and City Council so hard that they won’t know what happened! Bring some demo eScooters to NYC for people to try firsthand and have them sign petitions and film their reactions after trying them. Hurry up! The warm weather doesn’t last here and I doubt eScooter rentals will work in Winter.
The Bike Share War Is Shaking Up Seattle Like Nowhere Else
Seattleites have taken to dockless bike sharing like nowhere else in the country. Not only does Seattle have nearly a quarter of all the nation’s dockless bikes, its bikes get three times the usage of those elsewhere in the US. More than 350,000 riders have covered more than a million miles in the scheme’s first five months, and 74 percent of the city is in favor of them, according to a transportation department survey. Three-quarters of rides are being used to access public transit, helping to fill in the gaps left by those established systems.
A very long article that mentions the vulnerability of what I’ve always pointed out about electric scooters: Exposed cables. Dicks have been cutting the brake cables of the bikes (along with vandalizing them in a variety of ways — and throwing them in lakes!). Imagine if cars had exposed cables! What’s being learned in Seattle is something eScooter rental companies will clue into as well.
One question I’ve not yet seen raised by anyone: What will happen to eScooters as new models roll out? Let’s say Model A has been in use for a year. Then the company uses a new and improved Model B. What happens to the Model As that are retired? It seems to me there’s a business waiting for those eScooters to be refurbed and then sold to riders. Not only will we see an increase in rental eScooters, but actual ownership too.
The eScooter Rental Money Black Hole
Electric Scooter Rental Overkill?
Lime Poisons The Electric Scooter Rental Well
eScooter Rental Opponents: You’ve Lost. Get Over It.
The eScooter Rental War Chests Increase
How Will Singapore Treat Dockless eScooter Rentals?
The Ongoing eScooter Rental Wars
Bird eScooter Rentals Gets Bigger Wings
San Francisco Begins Electric Scooter Rental Regulations
Boosted Boards Founders Launch Electric Scooter Rental Company
San Francisco To Regulate Electric Scooter Rentals
Electric Scooter Rental: Bird In Los Angeles
Chronological List Of Electric Scooter Posts