Over $5 billion in venture funding went into “Scooter Startups in the past 5 years”.
Here’s what happened:
To be clear, the funding concerns assorted startups engaged in the renting, charging, and making of scooters in roughly the past five years, according to Crunchbase.
Let’s take the example of a popular scooter-rental app: Bird
Bird announced in May of 2021 that it would go public through a merger with a SPAC, Switchback II, at an initial valuation of around $2.3 billion.
In truth, Bird’s financials didn’t look great at the time. Its 2020 revenue was down over 40% year over year to $79 million. Net loss exceeded $208 million. Still, Bird forecasted revenue would hit over $400 million by 2022.
However, that number would represent just a tiny slice of a global micro-mobility services market it estimated at $800 billion.
So, did they overestimate? I think not.
Amidst a global pandemic, followed by what seems to be a recession (although we may just admit it and say that the recession has already started), I think the timing is just very fickle.
I’ve just spent 3 weeks in Berlin and used scooter services almost every other day. One month before I was in Rome and used scooters to navigate the entire city.
“Scooters networks simply did what virtually all California unicorns of the era did: They grew rapidly while losing gobs of money.”, says Crunchbase.
The question is, did that curtain fall already, and are we to expect a slew of bankruptcies among in the micro-mobility industry? I sure hope not and I don’t think so.
As inflation rises and holiday trips will become more of an infrequent indulgence than a general expense, I suspect we might see a rise in service fees that moves micro-mobility to the realm of luxury goods.
I’m curious to see what the future holds. I think we’ll know soon enough.
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