You didn’t think Silicon Valley’s biggest names would stand on the sidelines while the electric scooter trend continued to grow, did you? The Financial Times sources have learned that Alphabet has invested directly in scooter service Lime as part of a larger $300 million funding round that already included Google Ventures. There’s no mention of how much cash was heading Lime’s way, but GV was reportedly leading the group, and Alphabet put in a similar amount — there’s a lot of money involved. It’s not certain why Alphabet is so heavily involved (all the parties involved have declined to comment). However, it would reflect Alphabet’s growing interest in transportation as it moves beyond the internet and mobile businesses that are its lifeblood.
The Information, which has had tenacious coverage, has an article I’d love to read, but it’s paywalled and I can’t pay: How Segway-Ninebot Became the Go-To Scooter Maker for Rental Startups. It begins:
As electric scooter-rental startups like Bird and Lime battle for market share on American streets, one company is already a winner: Segway-Ninebot, the Beijing-based firm that makes the scooters both companies use.
The tech industry’s go-to scooter maker, which first made headlines when it acquired the self-balancing vehicle pioneer Segway three years ago, is seeing a surge in revenue, in part thanks to the scooter-rental craze. Now, it’s seeking to capitalize on the moment by holding early talks with investors to raise $200 million at a valuation of more than $2 billion.
The Information also breaks this story (also paywalled): Lyft Nears Acquisition of Motivate, U.S. Bike-Share Leader
Lyft has agreed to buy Motivate, which runs some of the biggest U.S. bike-share programs, according to two people briefed about the deal. The acquisition, which is likely to be worth $250 million or more, will quickly insert Lyft into the small but fast-growing U.S. bike-sharing market.
The two companies have agreed on the terms of the deal, although it hasn’t been finalized, one of these people said. If a deal is consummated, it would put Lyft ahead of ride-sharing rival Uber, which acquired another bike-share service called Jump in April for around $200 million. Motivate is dominant in New York (operating as CitiBike) and has a big presence in Lyft’s hometown of San Francisco (operating as Ford GoBike), among many other cities.
Lyft has been talking to the Chinese manufacturer that supplies vehicles to existing U.S.-based scooter-sharing services Lime, Bird and Spin. The scooter market has become a fundraising race, as the companies try to buy up supply and make the vehicles available to customers across the country as quickly as possible. It could be a costly battle in the near term.
1) “Motivate is dominant in New York (operating as CitiBike)” — yes, but only because competition isn’t allowed! Typical of the strutting corrupt politics of this damned city, only one company has been given the right to “share” bikes, Motivate aka CitiBike. How many palms were greased and to what extent remains to be yet revealed. Everything in this damned city is motivated (no pun intended!) by, “Yeah? But what’s in it for me?”
2) “Lyft has been talking to the Chinese manufacturer that supplies vehicles to existing U.S.-based scooter-sharing services” — I really wonder what that’s about.
What really, really puzzles me is the absence of E-TWOW/Uscooter in this market. Their eScooter is built like a tank and is clearly more durable — more industrial-strength — than anything from Xiaomi and Ninebot/Segway. Do they lack the capital and capacity?
What doesn’t puzzle me at all is the absence of any carbon fiber eScooter. They’re just not up to the job and the ride they provide is subpar compared to others.
I’m already seeing more eScooters in Manhattan. I saw one Ninebot/Segway from a distance, too far to ID as an ES1 or ES2. On this miserable Island of the Damned, at the ferry terminal I saw an ES1 being ridden — IDing that is easy: its folding latch protrudes, unlike the ES2. I’ve also seen a E-TWOW/UScooters, a Xiaomi (or clone), and I’m 80% certain I saw a Swagtron Swagger 5 (from a distance, but only Swagtron has large white writing on the side of the stem so it had to be the 5).
But there should be many, many more.
I’m disappointed in Lime and Bird. They should be hiring people to ride eScooters in Manhattan as part of a campaign to soften up the population — and to cudgel the politicians.
Must I do all the thinking for them?
Bird & Lime eScooter Rentals: Behind The Scenes
Overeager Bird eScooter Rental Recharger
First Video: Lime eScooter Rentals In Paris
Lime eScooter Rentals Go To Paris
Bird eScooter Rental Founder Sells Some Stock
New eScooter Rental Funding And Now Bikes Go Dockless 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