Jul 13, 2021 - Business

E-scooters take flight in Minneapolis suburbs and beyond

Illustration of a pattern of scooters. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Electric scooter rentals are rolling into Minnesota cities beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul this summer.

What's new: Marshall, a city of 13,000 in the western part of the state, became one of the latest localities to welcome a fleet from the e-scooter company Bird Rides earlier this month, the Marshall Independent reports.

Why it matters: The new agreements are part of Bird's broader push to move into suburbs and smaller cities as competition in the e-scooter business increases.

  • A spokeswoman told us the local expansion is part of an effort to "bring the benefits of micro-electric transportation" to cities with populations as small as 10,000.

Between the lines: Bird announced in May an initial public stock offering via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

  • Per its investor presentation, the company is projecting it'll double its 2021 revenue from the prior year to $188 million, and top $800 million in 2023, Axios business and technology reporter Kia Kokalitcheva notes.
  • It's banking on smaller, "long-tail" markets to provide the majority of that revenue.

The state of play: Bird appears to have an edge in these smaller markets in Minnesota for now.

  • Competitor Lyft, which also operates in Minneapolis, has yet to expand beyond the city's limits.
  • A representative for Lime, which is in St. Paul and Rochester, said they're focused on continuing to provide high-quality service to riders in those two cities.

What's next: The city of Fridley is considering signing an operating agreement of its own with Bird. An official there told us details are still being worked out and the issue could come up in front of the City Council again later this month.

Of note: Bird's limited presence in low-income neighborhoods fell short of city requirements and drew scrutiny from some Minneapolis officials after the company's license was renewed this year.

  • A spokeswoman told The Minnesota Reformer at the time that the company is "committed to meeting and exceeding the equity requirements" set by Minneapolis.

Our reminder for e-scooter-loving suburbanites: Follow local traffic laws and wear a helmet, please!


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