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Term Sheet — Friday, October 12

THE SCOOTER TALENT WARS

Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

Two high-level Uber employees have left the tech giant to join electric scooter startup Bird.

Dennis Cinelli, who was head of finance of global rides at Uber, will serve as Bird’s vice president and head of finance. Yibo Ling, who was Uber’s director of corporate development, will now be the vice president of corporate development at Bird and will also lead the startup’s China team. Both Cinelli and Ling will report directly to Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden.

“As Bird enters its second year, we’re continuing to expand our talented executive team to build on and scale our momentum,” VanderZanden said in a statement. “Dennis and Yibo both bring valuable experience expanding markets and I look forward to working with them closely as we continue on our mission.”

VanderZanden himself spent two years at Uber as the vice president of global driver growth before he left to launch the electric scooter company. Bird has since raised more than $400 million in venture funding and expanded its operations across 100 cities worldwide.

Scooters have become a recent area of interest to Uber, which deployed Jump-branded scooters onto the streets of Santa Monica and invested in Lime while adding the scooters as an option on its app, in effort to compete with Bird.

But VanderZanden doesn’t see Uber’s existing customer base of millions of people as much of a threat, touting Bird’s first-mover advantage as key to outmaneuvering his rivals.

“We were the first in the world to do electric scooter sharing, and we launched a little over a year ago,” VanderZanden said on Tuesday. “We’re the furthest along from a supply chain standpoint as well as from a government relations standpoint.”

And Bird wresting two experienced executives away from Uber may be testament to the scooter company’s rising profile. An Uber spokesperson confirmed the departures and declined to comment further.

Cinelli, who spent two years at Uber helping build and lead the finance team responsible for Uber’s global rides operations, said “coming from Rideshare 1.0,” he sees that Bird has “taken the transportation space to the next level by pioneering Rideshare 2.0 and solving many transportation problems.”

Whether its 1.0 or 2.0, there’s only one transportation problem that really matters: Is there enough room on the road for all these ridesharing companies? And if not, who will end up left in the dust? Read the story on Fortune.com.

FEEDBACK FRIDAY: On a related note, yesterday I asked Term Sheet readers the following question: Who do you see winning the scooter wars, and why?

Below is a selection of your responses:

Ajay: There will be multiple winners. I think the scooter wars will play out much like the ride-sharing wars with regional players having significant advantage even as global players take a lead. In the US, most people tend to think of only Uber and Lyft as ride sharing companies but around the globe there are several others: Didi, Grab, Ola, 99Taxi; all unicorns!

Similarly, we believe, regional players in the scooter world who understand local regulations and norms and have local connections, will grow rapidly. As Travis points out, it’s easier to launch scooters in geograpies where there are lax regulations. We feel Asia and LatAm are therefore ripe markets. LatAm, in particular, has cities with some of the largest usage of ride-sharing so we believe that area will be particularly interesting for scooters.

Ian: I believe Lime will win the category, although I think there can be multiple winners in the space. I think Lime’s mix of solutions (dockless bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters) meets more customers where they are (helps lower barriers to entry). Plus, probably doesn’t hurt to have Uber on your side. That said, I think the Bird scooters are the best-looking of the bunch.

Zach: Unlike the ride-hailing world, where you have Uber and Lyft, I don’t foresee much, if any, customer loyalty to any of the scooter companies (Bird, Lime, etc.). As mentioned by Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden, with Uber and Lyft you first go onto the app and then get in the ride, whereas with scooters, you see the scooter and then get on the app. I believe this view of how the consumer will operate is spot on. Having done it myself while in the States, people will have the apps to all the scooter companies in their city, and when they come across a scooter, no matter which company, they will simply go to the appropriate company’s app.

So what does this mean? To me, the winner of the “scooter wars” will be whoever is in the most cities, with the most number of scooters, located in the most prime areas. Beyond this fairly basic idea of how the “war” will be won, I think local operations will play a key role in this race. The local operators who can best quickly redistribute, charge, and repair their scooters will dominate their cities.

Thomas: Actually, I think e-bikes will win the scooter war. Slightly faster, safer and they don’t take that much more space. I hear stories about increased patients with e-scooter accidents. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find statistics of e-bike (Jump) vs. e-scooter accidents per mile driven, but I am quite sure that the pothole covered streets of Los Angeles are not a great place to ride 16 mph on those tiny scooter wheels. The cost of Jump e-bike right now is the same as on Bird or Lime or Lyft — and they are giving away free rides in Santa Monica right now — so I think Uber / Jump e-bikes will win.

Anonymous: Who wins the scooter wars? People who own gyms. Lime bikes require everything scooters don’t: effort. Will I bike 5 minutes to the gym? Of course not. Will I scooter? Absolutely.

THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…

• Gary Cohn Is Joining Blockchain Startup Spring Labs (by Natasha Bach)

• Tesla Outsells Mercedes-Benz For The First Time (by Grace Dobush)

• This Is What Sears Looked Like During Its Glory Days (by Alex Scimecca)

• Uber Is Facing a Major Dilemma After Saudi Journalist’s Disappearance (by Grace Dobush)

…AND ELSEWHERE

WeWork sued over sexual assaults, frat boy culture. Bumble owner targets Nasdaq IPO. Companies gauge the risks of doing business with Saudi Arabia. Tencent Music, LeasePlan and Sonae have delayed or called off IPOs. Amazon is developing ‘picking’ robots for its warehouses.

VENTURE DEALS

G2 Crowd, a Chicago-based operator of a marketplace for businesses to buy and manage software and services, raised $55 million in Series C funding. IVP led the round, and was joined by investors including Emergence Capital and Accel.

RoboSense, a China-based autonomous driving LiDAR perception solution provider, raised more than $45 million in funding. Investors include Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd, the logistics arm of the Alibaba Group and SAIC Motor Group.

Flo Health, a San Francisco-based women’s health startup, raised $12 million in funding. Mangrove Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Flint Capital and Haxus.

Qordoba, a San Francisco-based UX content management platform, raised $11.5 million in Series B funding. Aspect Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Upfront Ventures, Rincon Ventures, Broadway Angels and Michael Stoppelman.

Nyotron, a Santa Clara, California and Israel-based cybersecurity firm, raised $10 million in funding from Ingram Micro.

Rollick, an Austin, Texas-based affinity buying program for the powersports, RV, marine and industrial equipment industries, raised $8.3 million in Series A funding. LiveOak Venture Partners led the round.

Classting, a Seoul-based education social platform, raised $6.5 million in funding. Investors inclide Mistletoe and the Korea Development Bank.

Coord, a New York-based mobility data platform, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Alliance Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Trucks, Urban.Us and DB Digital Ventures.

Papa, a Miami-based mobile app that connects college students with adults over 60 in need of support and companionship, raised $2.4 million in funding. Initialized Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Sound Ventures.

June.ai, a New York-based email management platform, raised $1.5 million in funding. Investors include John Suh, CEO of LegalZoom and Marc Michel of Runaway Venture Partners.

Hentsu, a London-based provider of public cloud technology to hedge funds and asset managers, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Credit Suisse Asset Management’s NEXT Investors led the round, and was joined by investors including Falconwood Corporation and Raptor Group Holdings.

PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS

Eden Capital acquired Tour de Force, a Findlay, Ohio-based provider of customer relationship management software solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Nazca Capital acquired Herbex, a Spain-based provider of fresh aromatic herbs. No financial terms were disclosed.

TPG Sixth Street Partners and Dyal Capital Partners invested in Halcyon Capital Management, a New York-based investment management firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Halcyon is changing its name to Bardin Hill Investment Partners.

Advent International made an investment in Manjushree Technopack Ltd, an India-based rigid plastic packaging solutions provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

ITRenew Inc, a portfolio company of ZMC, acquired ESISO, a Los Angeles-based specializes in asset acquisition, remarketing, and remanufacturing of enterprise assets. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

PWP Growth Equity made an investment in SkinSpirit, a Los Gatos, Calif.-based medical spa service provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

EagleTree Capital acquired FuseFX, a Los Angeles-based provider of visual effects services for episodic television, feature films, commercials, and VR productions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

IPOs

LeasePlan, the Dutch car leasing firm, pulled its IPO and blamed weak market conditions, the Financial Time reports.

Tencent Music, the Chinese music streaming firm is reportedly pausing its U.S. IPO until at least November due to the global stock market rout, the Wall Street Journal reports citing sources. Read more.

EXITS

Greenbriar Equity Group acquired Spireon Inc, an Irvine, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based GPS vehicle tracking and fleet management solutions, from Bertram Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. agreed to acquire PharmaCann, a Chicago-based medical marijuana company, in a $682 million all-stock transaction. PharmaCann had raised approximately $42 million in venture funding from unnamed investors.

FIRMS + FUNDS

Atomic Labs, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, raised $148.4 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing.

PEOPLE

Frederic M. Seegal joined Cowen Inc. as managing director, vice chairman of investment banking.

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Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.