Media Moves

Coverage: Uber, Alphabet invest in bike-sharing service Lime

July 10, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

Bike sharing service Lime said on Monday it raised $335 million from a group of investors that include ride-sharing firm Uber Technologies Inc. and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc.

Dara Kerr of CNET had the story:

Along with Google Ventures, Lime also confirmed that Uber was involved with this funding round. The ride-hailing company additionally plans to partner with Lime to start renting scooters through its app.

“Our investment and partnership in Lime is another step towards our vision of becoming a one stop shop for all your transportation needs,” Rachel Holt, Uber’s head of new modalities, said in an emailed statement. “Lime already has an expansive footprint, and we’re excited to incorporate their scooters into the Uber app so consumers have another fast, affordable option to get around their city, especially to and from public transit.”

Scooters have become a controversial topic as they take over more and more cities across the US. As regulators hurry to write laws around the new form of transportation, lots of people say they love being able to scoot block-to-block around congested cities. Other residents complain that riders don’t follow the laws of the road and endanger pedestrians by riding on sidewalks and leaving the scooters wherever they feel like it — blocking parking spots, bike racks and wheelchair accesses.
Tracey Lien of the Los Angeles Times reported that Lime’s main competitors are Bird and Spin:

Competition in the mobility industry remains fierce — what was once a battle between on-road transportation companies such as Uber and Lyft now includes docked and dockless bikeshare and scooter startups.

The relationships between mobility companies has also become increasingly entangled.

Lime’s main competitors in the U.S. are Bird and Spin, both of which have the financial backing of Silicon Valley venture capital firms (Bird most recently raised $300 million). Uber in April bought bicycle sharing startup Jump Bikes, a competitor to Lime. Lyft last week bought the nation’s biggest bike-rental operator, Motivate, which also competes with Jump Bikes, Lime and bike-sharing services run by cities.

It comes as little surprise that companies such as Uber and Lyft are buying and investing in scooter and bicycle companies, according to mobility experts, who said both firms are looking for an environmentally sustainable edge.

Heather Kelly of CNNMoney reported that the deal values Lime at $1.1 billion:

The partnership would include Uber branding on the scooters, which are now in 70 cities — including Seattle and Los Angeles. It could give Lime a push in the newly competitive rent-a-scooter market, where it is going up against leader Bird Rides. The new deal, lead by Alphabet’s venture capital company GV, values Lime at $1.1 billion. CNN previously reported that Bird Rides is valued at $2 billion.

It’s the latest partnership in a fast moving race between Uber and Lyft to expand beyond cars into any possible form of transit people might take. That includes bikes, scooters, and possibly public transportation.

Related: Uber and Lyft want to be about so much more than cars

“Uber will work with us as a strategic partner in the electric scooter space to offer people a greater variety of transportation modes at their fingertips and make it increasingly easy to live without a car,” Lime said in a blog post.

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