Even with these issues, companies are raising millions in venture capital but a lot of these newer companies have long paths before they find profits. All except for electric scooter company Bird, which is focused on making micro-mobility into a sustainable model.
Bird recently announced that they fundraised around $275 million in a Series D round. The round was led primarily by Sequoia Capital and CDPQ. After this latest fundraising round now values the company at around $2.5 billion.
Bird believes their electric scooters provide a quick and simple way for people to move around urban areas and lower the number of vehicles on the road.
Currently, Bird's fleet of scooters can be unlocked via their mobile app and the company charges a flat fee and then a per-minute charge while riding. Once the consumer is finished they can leave their scooter when they are done with them.
The company has improved its market position thanks to its international growth and focusing on sustainability.
With these new funds, the company will focus on new research and development and continue to move toward profitability.
"Nearly a year ago, we recognized that the world was changing. Gone are the days when top-line growth was the leading KPI for emerging companies. Positive unit economics is the new goal line," said Travis VanderZanden, Founder and CEO of Bird. "As a result, we pivoted from growth to unit economics as the top priority for the company. Now with the best unit economics in the industry, new Bird investors such as CDPQ see that we are paving the road for a long term sustainable and healthy business."
Bird also recently announced its "Bird Platform" aimed at businesses. The company will sell their vehicles at a cost to other operators on their platform and these operators can brand the scooters with their own logo and run their own micro-mobility service. Bird takes a small fee for every ride conducted this way.
The company is also looking for additional ways to offer longer services. Their original electric scooter, the Bird Zero, only lasted for about a year and sometimes even less with frequent use. Now they have their Bird One which is able to last longer and take more use, and recently the company also introduced their Bird Two scooter in the Los Angeles area.
Currently, Bird is facing competition from companies like Lime, Spin, Jump, Scoot, and other new startups all focused on new forms of urban mobility. Uber, the ride-hailing company, recently purchased Jump for $200 million which brings a higher level of competition and concern within the electric scooter market.
"Bird fits directly within our strategy to invest in innovative and disruptive tech sectors such as sustainable mobility," said Jeffrey R Smith, Senior Managing Director, Digital Investment Strategy, CDPQ. "This new partnership also supports our commitment to take part in the transition toward a less carbon-intensive global economy. We look forward to continuing building a business that provides innovative micro-mobility solutions in cities around the world."
Bird is currently up and running in over 100 cities around the world.
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