Lime, the bike and scooter sharing company, is raising about $250 million in a funding round led by Google Ventures, according to a person familiar with the deal, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The deal values Lime at about $1 billion, the person said. Bird, its main rival, is also raising money at a valuation of $1 billion, a strikingly rapid rise for the two leading scooter sharing companies. Neither company is even two years old.
A representative for Lime declined to comment. The news was first reported by Axios.
Lime and Bird are in a race to spread their services into as many cities as possible. This requires purchasing and distributing thousands of vehicles over a wide geographic area, an expensive undertaking. Both companies believe there is a significant first-mover advantage, and have alienated officials in some cities by launching their services despite questionable regulatory authority to do so.
Cities like San Francisco and Austin now require the companies to obtain permits, and have put a cap on the number of scooters that can be deployed. If more cities adopt such requirements, it could undercut the logic of the companies’ current strategies of raising and spending money as rapidly as possible.
The sudden excitement over alternative mobility extends into bike-sharing as well. Uber recently purchased the dockless bike-sharing company Jump for a price reported to exceed $100 million. Lyft is said to be in talks to pay $250 million to acquire Motivate, which runs Citi Bike, the country’s largest bike-sharing program.