The buzziest startup idea in the US right now involves dumping hundreds of dockless scooters in a city and then hiring them out to people who want to make short trips.
Scooter rental startups Lime and Bird were only founded last year but have raised million of dollars in funding and racked up a collective valuation of $3 billion.
Two big-name European investors, Index and Atomico, jumped on funding rounds just as the trend is set to hit Europe.
Index partner Martin Mignot said taking scooters and other light electronic vehicles for short trips could be as common as taking public transport.
Bird registered a UK company in May, showing it’s preparing for a European launch.
Top European investors Atomico and Index Ventures have separately made bets on two US electric scooter startups, hoping to win big on the buzzy trend before it takes off globally.
Atomico has invested an undisclosed amount in Lime, while Index Ventures led Bird’s $100 million Series B round earlier this year.
Bird and Lime are both headquartered in California and may be worth a collective $3 billion. Bird is reportedly seeking a $2 billion valuation for its latest funding round, while Lime is worth $1 billion after raising millions of dollars in funding. The two companies are both planning on a European expansion, with Lime launching in Paris in June, and Bird hiring executives in Europe ahead of a launch.
Both firms offer hundreds of electric scooters for hire in US cities that you can pick up and leave anywhere. You can read a full breakdown of what it’s like to hire a Bird scooter here, but the idea is that you locate a scooter, “unlock” it using an app and your login details, and then pay 15 cents per minute to ride it around.
It’s an idea that’s exploded in the US over the last few months, and Bird and Lime are arguably the two main players.
Both companies were only founded in 2017, and have racked up astonishing valuations before they’ve even gone global.
Electric scooters have, in the UK, been considered the preserve of middle-aged men rather than the future of transport. It also isn’t clear how one scooter hire company will gain any advantage over another, given the similarities in business model.
Niall Wass, partner at Atomico, dismissed questions about over-valuation.
“Lime has achieved revenue growth that is amongst the fastest we have ever seen, and the valuation reflects that,” he told Business Insider in an email. “They’re also seizing a giant opportunity in a growing market.”
Martin Mignot, partner at Index Ventures, felt similarly. “In terms of their whole fundraising history and the hype around them, if you look at where they are today then it’s a very high valuation in a short period of time, there is no denying that,” he said. “But I think it would be a mistake to look at it today and say that’s why it’s worth that.”
Lime and Bird are about more than dumping lots of scooters in a city, according to their backers
While …read more
Source:: Business Insider