The founders of Wag abandon fund and ride off into the sunset with bike-share startup

After leaving Wag and starting their own fund, Jon and Josh Viner have raised $37m for an electric bike-sharing startup called Wheels.


January 24, 2019

Last year, Wag’s founders, wonder-bros Jonathan and Joshua Viner, went from being fundees to funders, launching their own fund for consumer startups.

Now, they’re abandoning that plan to put all of their bones in one basket: an electric bike-share startup with $37m in funding called Wheels.

If you love something, let it go

Almost exactly one year ago, then-3-year-old dog walking startup, Wag, secured a massive, $300m investment from SoftBank’s infamous Vision Fund, in exchange for 45% of the company and 2 board seats. 

Prior to the deal, Josh Viner also agreed to abdicate his position as CEO in favor of more experienced exec, former LifeLock CEO Hilary Schneider. 

Josh and Jon said they would stay on at the company in senior roles and it appeared to be a classic case of the SoftBank steamroller — though the brothers have denied SoftBank’s influence on their decision.

The brothers Viner were down, but not out: 5 months later, they announced their plan to leave Wag to start their own $50-200k fund, leveraging their “marketing chops and celebrity connections”  to help consumer startups.

Take that FU(nd) money and run

Now, after 7 months in stealth, the Viners are calling it quits on their so-called fund, to focus on its golden child, Wheels.

Josh said that after starting the fund, “Wheels quickly became a massive opportunity, and we’re now entirely focused on this business.”

You guys know that’s not how a fund works, right?

Wheels inexplicably hopes to compete with the likes of Uber, Lyft, Bird, Scoot, and Lime in the “dockless electric mobility” market, by focusing on a “sustainability-first approach” with swappable part replacements.

But how sustainably can Wheels “swap out” bikes after teens throw them in a lake???

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