Electric Scooter Startup Bird Just Raised Monster Funding and Is About to Join the $1B Unicorn Club
Bird, the Santa Monica-based electric scooter company, is raising $150 million in a round led by Sequoia Capital that will value the company at $1 billion, Bloomberg first reported. That’s just two months after it raised $100 million in Series B funding at a $300 million valuation.
The scooter startup wars began heating up in April when Uber acquired dockless e-bike service Jump Bikes (formerly known as Social Bicycles) for a reported amount of $200 million. The company had only raised little more than $11 million in venture funding from investors including Menlo Ventures, SOSV, and SineWave Ventures. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Jump will likely get into e-scooters as well.
Bird’s new fundraise is reportedly intended to fend off competitors. Rival LimeBike is rumored to be in the middle of raising a massive round, and Lyft is reportedly developing prototypes of potential scooter designs.
Sources tell Fortune that it’s likely that Bird’s final fundraising amount will be much higher than the reported $150 million. To put this into context, Bird is less than a year old, and it is potentially the fastest company ever to gain unicorn status. In other words, this is only the beginning.
As we’ve reported before, it’s very clear the Bird electric scooter trend has exploded in popularity. People are riding them, hiding them, and tying them places. But the company, like many of the others, is operating in a legal gray zone.
Bird is hitting some regulatory challenges as it hopes to expand across 50 U.S. markets by the end of 2018. In February, it had to pay $300,000 in fines for obscuring the public right of way (undocked Bird scooters were left lying across a sidewalk, blocking a doorway, or driveway) and operating without a proper commercial business license. And now, San Francisco is looking to create legislation to regulate electric scooter sharing.