July 10, 2018

Mobility mania continues as Uber partners with Lime scooters after a $335m round

The scooter startup Lime scored a big partnership with Uber as the ridesharing giant competes with Lyft across all transportation types.

Yesterday, Uber joined forces with the citrus-centric scooter startup Lime in a $335m funding round. The scooter company’s Series C closed just 2 weeks after rival Bird pulled in its own $300m round.

The partnership puts Lime scooters on the map (of Uber’s app). But more importantly, it escalates the mobility war between ride-sharing behemoths Uber and Lyft.

The world’s sweetest Lime

Google led the round, bringing the 13-month-old scooter company’s overall funding to $467m — $52m more than Bird, which has raised $415m.

But, the race for scooter supremacy is just kicking off. Both scooter companies broke the $1B milestone in less than a year and a half, but Bird was the fastest company to become a unicorn in history. Despite Lime’s slight edge in funding, Bird’s valuation of $2B is nearly double Lime’s ($1.1B). 

Multimodal mobility mania

In Uber and Lyft’s giant game of mobility Monopoly, the scooter is just one piece. To use the words of an Uber exec, Uber and Lyft are competing across the fronts of ride-sharing, bike-sharing (and now scooter sharing)  to become a “one-stop shop” for transportation.

Just last week, Lyft announced its acquisition of the largest bike-sharing company in America, Motivate, for $250m — challenging Uber, which bought bike-sharing company Jump in April for around $200m.

Two companies that want to share everything…

Except the title of best sharing company. As the companies continue to mimic each other, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to compete without undercutting their own business.

“We’ve leaned into self-cannibalization throughout our history,” said Uber’s head of scooter, bike and public transportation programs, in an interview with Bloomberg.

In any case, the next battle between Uber and Lyft might take place on 4 wheels — last week, TechCrunch reported that both companies were in negotiations with crowd-sourced busing startup Skedaddle.

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