15 Nov 18

After Big Ride Hailing, Big Scooter Sharing

Last years it seemed like scooter companies were taking over the streets out of nowhere, but let’s take a look at who they are.

The booming business of shared e-scooters


The scooter sharing company that can be seen as the kick-starter on the US market and one of the biggest e-scooter sharing companies is Bird, which was founded as a start-up in Santa Monica, California in 2017. 

The company is even considered as the fastest developed unicorn in its market, considering it already surpassed a $1 billion company valuation. Bird is often recognised for its aggressive strategy, which is often explained by the background of its founder, Travis VanderZanden, who has previous experience as COO at Lyft and as VP of International Growth at Uber.

According to Bloomberg, Bird operates its scooter service in about 40 US cities. And in the Guardian, Stephen Schnell, the company’s vice president of operations, says they target more than 50 markets by the end of this year, and eventually to create a worldwide Bird service. Additionally, Bird this year expanded into France, Israel, Belgium, and Austria, Mexico City, Zurich (Switzerland); and the company has plans to expand into Brazil. Despite being forbidden in the UK, Bird is piloting e-scooters in London. By deploying them in the Olympic Park, which is considered as private property, they can avoid the ban on e-scooters on public roads and on sidewalks.


Another big market player is Lime, operating in 23 US cities, according to Bloomberg. The start-up was founded in 2017 in California, in San Mateo by Andreesen Horowitz and others. Previously known as LimeBike, Lime started providing pedal bikes and e-bikes but their partnership with Segway to build and provide e-scooters made them change their name into Lime. 

In the meantime, the start-up became a unicorn, with a valuation of more than $1 billion after another funding round. Besides e-scooters the company still provides e-bikes for which it set up a partnership with Uber to provide the ride hailer with e-bikes for its Uber Bikes service. 


Founded one year before the previous two but on the same position in the market is Spin (previously Skinny Labs). Spin is another start-up launched in San Francisco, which started with pedal bikes, but added e-scooters last year. Moreover, in November 2018, Spin was acquired by Ford Motor Company, to expand the OEM's mobility offer.


Skip is another e-scooter company started in San Francisco and operating in various American cities, being Portland, San Francisco and Long Beach. The company was founded in 2017 by Mike Wadhera and Sanjay Dastoor. Skip claims to offer sturdier scooters with larger batteries. And contrary to many of its competitors, Skip does work together with cities before rolling out, avoiding confiscation and other legal troubles.

Ride hailing companies like Uber, Lyft, and even Taxify are also entering onto the market.

Authored by: Steven Schoefs