Bird is a micromobility company based in Santa Monica, California. Founded in September 2017 Bird operated shared electric scooters in over 100 cities in Europe, the Middle East, and North America with 10 million rides in its first year of operation.[1]

Bird Rides, Inc.
IndustryDockless electric scooter sharing
Founded1 April 2017; 2 years ago (2017-04-01)
Santa Monica, California, United States
FounderTravis VanderZanden
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California, United States
Area served
Europe, Middle East, North America
SubsidiariesScoot
Websitebird.co

HistoryEdit

Bird was founded in September 2017 by Travis VanderZanden, formerly an executive at Lyft and at Uber. It had its Series A round of funding in February 2018, raising $15 million led by Craft Ventures; this was followed by a Series B round in March for $100 million, led by Index Ventures and Valor Equity Partners, and a venture round in May for $150 million from Sequoia Capital,[2][3] becoming the fastest company to ever reach the $1 billion "unicorn" valuation.[4] In June 2018, Bird raised an additional $300 million, valuing the company at $2 billion.[5]

In September 2018, Bird’s electric scooters reached 10 million rides.[6]

In October 2018, Bird announced its Bird Zero vehicle. The Bird Zero was designed for ride sharing with "more battery life for longer range, better lighting for increased visibility, and enhanced durability for a longer life-span."[7]

In November 2018, Bird released the Bird Platform, a program based on the company's mobile app and Bird Zero vehicles that allowed independent operators to use Bird's infrastructure to run their own fleet of shared, branded electric scooters.[8]

In January 2019 Axios reported that Bird was raising $300 million in new funding led by Fidelity as an extension of its C funding round[9]. Bird did not confirm this report.[10]

On June 12, 2019, Scoot Networks was acquired for an undisclosed value as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bird.[11][12][13] The deal was expected to be valued around $25 million in a combination of cash and stock. The acquisition will allow Bird to operate shared electric scooters in San Francisco.

In July 2019, Bird was said to be valued at $2.5 billion.[14] In July 2019, the company was raising Series D funding, led by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and CDPQ. This funding was intended to help the company become profitable and also continue to do further research and development of the vehicle.[15] In October 2019, the firm successfully closed Series D funding, raising $275 million and reaching 2.8 billion valuation.[16] This new funding was expected to help the company to upgrade its fleet with a focus on a more sustainable Bird Two model.[17]

UsageEdit

 
Bird scooter QR code

The user installs the Bird app, on which are displayed all the scooters available (tracked by GPS) nearby. Before starting a trip, the user supplies payment information. The user then scans the QR code on the scooter, beginning the trip. To end the trip, the user must take a photo of the parked scooter to end the ride. The price of the trip is immediately withdrawn from the user's credit card. If any problems were encountered with the trip (like a malfunctioning vehicle) the user can report it through the app.

Operating area and hoursEdit

On the Bird app, the user can see the operating area of the service and also view a tutorial on how to use the scooter.[18] Riding outside of the operating area is tolerated, but if the user leaves the scooter outside the operating area, they will be charged a fee. The fee changes based on the location. On the map, there are various red zones, in which users are prohibited to park. If the rider misbehaves, they will incur a fine. Bird has worked with various cities to launch a 100-city tour to work closely with local officials on policies.[18]

While Bird doesn't have set operating hours, the availability of scooters during nighttime is severely reduced because the scooters need to be recharged every night. Nevertheless, if a user finds a scooter outside during the nighttime, they can still unlock it. Bird operates every day of the week.

LocationsEdit

Bird operates its electric scooters in 100 cities across the globe.[19]

VehiclesEdit

Bird uses electric scooters for its rental service. It launched with a fleet consisting of three models: Bird Xiaomi M365 made by Xiaomi, Bird Ninebot ES2 made by Segway, and Bird Ninebot ES4 also by Segway.

Because the aforementioned scooters are a consumer grade product, they wear down quickly and break, if handled without proper care. In response, Bird developed its own, more rugged scooter, the Bird Zero, launched in October 2018. The Bird Zero is specifically made for the scooter rental industry, with a longer lifespan.[20] The Zero is better optimized for the ride sharing business: extended range, suspension, airless tires, stronger motor and a more durable body. As of July 2019, Bird Zero scooters make up more than 75% of the company's fleets.[21]

In May 2019, Bird stopped purchasing and distributing both Segway models,[22] and launched Bird One, the first Bird scooter made available for purchase as well as shared-use.[23] Improvements incorporated into this model include longer battery life (up to 30 miles on a single charge), a more responsive brake system, and better lighting and stability features.[24]

In June 2019 Bird unveiled the Bird Cruiser, an electric vehicle that is a blend between a bicycle and a moped. It seats up to two people and is designed to be part of Bird’s shared vehicles fleet.[25]

In August 2019 Bird launched Bird Two[26] This model includes improvements to battery life, 50% more capacity than Bird One, self-reporting damage sensors, higher traction and puncture-proof tires, as well as anti-tipping kickstands on both sides.[27]

PricesEdit

Generally, in countries where the Euro or the Dollar is used, the price is €/$1 to unlock the scooter, then €/$0.15 per minute. For countries that have different currencies the price may be different. Different cities within the same country may have different prices, depending on local laws. In Washington, D.C. the Bird app extracts $10 at a time to use for a ride, in difference to the ordinary payment system.

CompetitionEdit

Bird's main competitor is American Lime. Nevertheless, many other smaller dockless electric scooter sharing companies have been funded since Bird's and Lime's arrival, including Scoot Networks and Skip Scooters. In addition, Uber has recently[when?] released a line of rentable scooters that have presented competition to mainstream companies like Bird and Lime. They also now have bikes that can be rented for short uses that are placed around urban cities. [28]

User CollaborationsEdit

ChargersEdit

Bird scooters are charged by gig workers, private contractors who sign up to become Chargers. The company sends approved Chargers charging equipment, and pays them to charge scooters overnight then place them at designated "nests" throughout the company's service area in the morning. Charging can become competitive, with Chargers in some markets using vans and other creative means to pick up scooters all over the city.[29]

The amount of money that Bird gives the independent contractors for charging a particular scooter depends on how long the scooter has been sitting out on the street after being flagged for needing a charge and before the Charger reflags the scooter in an app to claim the reward.

NestsEdit

Bird, in select cities and countries has created special designated parking spaces for Bird scooters. When available, users are strongly encouraged to park there.

RecognitionEdit

In 2018, Time Magazine named Bird as one of its "50 Genius Companies", commending its contribution to the "'first mile, last mile' problem in transportation. Because public transit stops are often a little too far from the places where people begin and end their journeys, they choose to drive, clogging up the roads and polluting the air. Bird is pioneering a new way to get those people to leave their cars at home."[30] In both 2018 and 2019, LinkedIn named Bird one of the most sought-after startups in the United States, according to .[31][32]

ControversyEdit

ParkingEdit

Since Bird is a dockless electric scooter sharing system, it does not provide parking stations, therefore the scooters can be left almost anywhere. Due to this, the scooters can sometimes be found parked on the sidewalk, in disabled parking spaces, in front of garage entrances, etc. Bird strongly encourages to park responsibly curbside, at its stations or at bike racks.

PricesEdit

Bird, and many other dockless electric scooter sharing companies, are often criticized for their relatively high prices, especially when compared to public transportation. The companies defend themselves by saying that the cost to buy, charge, and maintain the scooters are high; this is also not considering the research and development to make the service possible (like the app).

Conflict with city governmentsEdit

Milwaukee, WisconsinEdit

Scooters were initially banned in Milwaukee when Bird Rides Inc. started their scooter business without government permission. Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers signed a bill July 11, 2019 regulating scooters.[33] The Milwaukee Common Council and Mayor Tom Barrett banned Bird Scooters from operating in the city and passed an ordinance giving law enforcement permission to impound scooters. They also sued the scooter company.[34]

San Francisco, CaliforniaEdit

Bird scooters were banned from San Francisco, California. The city cited safety concerns in 2018. Bird decided to offer its scooters as a monthly rental as a way around their prohibition.[35]

Seattle, WashingtonEdit

Seattle, Washington has banned scooter shares, and city law currently bars use of motorized foot scooters on sidewalks and bicycle lanes. [36] Mayor Jenny Burkan announced in May, 2019 that her administration will soon begin crafting a pilot program for scooter share. [37]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Yakowicz, Will (December 10, 2018). "14 Months, 120 Cities, $2 Billion: There's Never Been a Company Like Bird. Is the World Ready?". Inc.com. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "Bird". Crunchbase. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  3. ^ Zaleski, Olivia (May 29, 2018). "Bird Races to Become the First Scooter Unicorn". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  4. ^ "Bird is the fastest startup ever to reach a $1 billion valuation". Quartz.
  5. ^ "Scooter Startup Bird Doubles Valuation to $2 Billion in 4 Months". Inc.
  6. ^ "Bird Marks One Year Anniversary with 10 Millionth Environmentally-friendly Ride". Bird. September 20, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  7. ^ "Bird Unveils Bird Zero: Custom-Designed e-Scooter for Ridesharing 2.0". Bird. October 4, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  8. ^ "14 Months, 120 Cities, $2 Billion: There's Never Been a Company Like Bird. Is the World Ready?". Bird. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "Scoop: Bird raising $300 million in Fidelity-led round". Axios. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "E-scooter startup Bird is raising another $300M". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Bird Acquires Scoot - Scoot to Operate as a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Bird". Scoot. June 12, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  12. ^ Bhuiyan, Sam Dean, Johana. "Bird buys Scoot — and a back door into San Francisco's rental scooter market". latimes.com. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  13. ^ "Bird Buys Competitor Scoot, Further Consolidating the Crowded Scooter-Rental Market". Fortune. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  14. ^ Griffith, Erin (July 22, 2019). "Bird Is Said to Raise New Funding at $2.5 Billion Valuation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  15. ^ Rose Dickey, Megan (July 23, 2019). "Bird is raising a Series D round led by Sequoia at $2.5 billion valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  16. ^ Carson, Biz (October 3, 2019). "Scooter Startup Bird Raises $275 Million In New Funding Round". Forbes. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J. (August 1, 2019). "Bird's new electric scooter has a better battery and anti-vandalism sensors". The Verge. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Pandey, Erica (September 19, 2019). "The side effects of the electric scooter revolution". Axios. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  19. ^ Bird Cities
  20. ^ "Bird unveils custom electric scooters and delivery". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  21. ^ "Bird is raising a Series D round led by Sequoia at $2.5 billion valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 26, 2019.[verification needed]
  22. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J. (May 8, 2019). "Bird has a new electric scooter: it's durable, comes in three different colors, and you can buy it". The Verge. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  23. ^ "Bird is now selling its electric scooters directly to consumers". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  24. ^ "Bird One is the "most advanced and safe e-scooter on the road today"". Dezeen. May 24, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  25. ^ "Bird is launching a two-seater electric vehicle to become more than a kick scooter startup". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  26. ^ Singh, Dhara. "Bird's new scooter rolls out next week with damage sensors, bigger battery". CNET. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  27. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J. (August 1, 2019). "Bird's new electric scooter has a better battery and anti-vandalism sensors". The Verge. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  28. ^ "Bird Competitors and Alternatives".
  29. ^ Heffernan, Erin (November 6, 2018). "Inside the scooter side hustle: Charging for Lime and Bird is a new cutthroat gig in St. Louis". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  30. ^ "Bird Is One of TIME's 50 Genius Companies 2018". Time.
  31. ^ "LinkedIn Top Startups 2018: The 50 most sought-after startups in the U.S." www.linkedin.com. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  32. ^ "LinkedIn Top Startups 2019: The 50 hottest U.S. companies to work for now". LinkedIn.
  33. ^ "Tony Evers signs bill regulating electric scooters". Capital Newspapers Inc. Associated Press, State Journal. July 11, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  34. ^ Janzen, Clara. "City passes ordinance for Milwaukee to impound Bird motorized scooters - but will they?". bizjournals. American City Business Journals. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  35. ^ McFarland,, Matt (May 15, 2019). "Bird scooters got kicked out of San Francisco but found a loophole back in". Cable News Network. CNN Business. Retrieved August 9, 2019.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  36. ^ "Seattle embraced dockless bike shares, but bans scooter ones. How come?". The Seattle Times. September 30, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  37. ^ "Electric scooters are coming to Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan says". The Seattle Times. May 9, 2019. Retrieved August 15, 2019.

External linksEdit