May 20, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Scooter companies' meteoric rise in one chart

Data: Axios research; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Uber's explosive growth to a valuation of more than $3 billion within three years of its seed round has been notable, but today's scooter startups have ascended even faster.

Why it matters: Scooter companies like Bird and Lime benefitted from the optimism ride-hailing companies created about transportation services. But they're now facing an increasing number of questions about their ability to sustain this growth including concerns about seasonality and vehicle costs.

  • As Axios's Dan Primack pointed out last week, capital-dependent companies like scooter startups may be facing more skepticism from investors following Uber's not-quite-stellar IPO. Bird has been working to raise an extension of its prior round at a flat valuation, while Lime announced new funding in February.

Note: Bird's total scooter trips have continue to grow, though the company declined to share updated data with Axios. Instead, the company says it has been focused on its profitability per ride. It tells Axios that since early April, its new Bird Zero scooters have a positive contribution margin — meaning that the company is making money on those rides (the calculation includes depreciation).

Methodology: Axios created the chart above using data from company news announcements, Pitchbook, and Uber trip data tabulated by Michal Naka.

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