$100 million to fuel a six-month-old start-up

Bird Rides, a six-month-old start-up that runs a “dockless” electric scooter sharing service in Los Angeles, has raised $100 million to fuel its expansion, as investors bet that it could become the next Uber. The new Series B funding, led by Valor Equity Partners and Index Ventures, comes less than a month after its Series A round of $15 million was announced in mid-February. Since it launched in September, Bird’s app-based rental system has become hugely popular in areas of Los Angeles such as Santa Monica and Venice, where hundreds of scooters are available on the street for anyone to pick up and drop off. Hire of the scooters, which resemble the Razor and Micro kick scooters popular with children but have an electric motor that can go up to 15 miles per hour, is charged by the minute, with the devices tracked by GPS. More than half a million rides on Bird were taken in the past 30 days, the company says, doubling over the previous month… Nonetheless, $100 million is an unusually large sum for such a young business. By way of comparison, Uber raised about $37 million in its Series B round in December 2011… 18 months after it first launched its car-booking app… Bird’s new round follows a huge wave of investment into Asian bike-sharing companies such as Ofo and Mobike, each of which has raised about $1 billion… With the new funding, Bird is planning to launch in 50 new markets this year.
Tim Bradshaw