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Illustration:Rebecca Zisser / Axios

E-scooter rental startups are facing strict limits and barriers in a number of cities, but venture capitalists still say their astronomical valuations for companies like Bird and Lime are reasonable.

The bottom line: Investors believe the restrictions are temporary.

Cities are in the studying phase, investors told Axios.

  • “I think it’s really hard for investors like me to not believe that over time regulations will loosen up,” DCM Ventures principal Kyle Lui, who led his firm’s investment in Lime.
  • And there are silver linings. “I think it will prevent a lot of new players potentially getting funded… The companies that have the proper funding will have the resources to do local lobbying,” Lui adds.
  • Caps can also help avoid the oversupply problem China saw with bike-sharing, says says Bird investor David Sacks.
  • Some cities like Santa Monica are using flexible caps based on scooter utilization levels, which could ensure reasonable supply and demand ratios, adds Sequoia Capital partner Roelof Botha, who led his firm's investment in Bird.

They believe San Francisco was an outlier when it didn't pick Bird or Lime for its pilot program.

And there's always the rest of the world, as both companies already are expanding outside the U.S.

  • Even a particular region can be adequate. “I don’t think Grin has aspirations to be global, they’re very focused on Latin America,” says Lui, whose firm also invested in the Mexico-based scooter startup. “You see a lot of highly successful local ride-sharing companies."

Still, some investors are waiting until cities more fully embrace scooters.

  • "It won’t be able to ramp up the way that Uber could,” says Menlo Ventures partner Shawn Carolan, who recently led his firm's investment in Skip. “It’s gonna be quick, but not ‘Uber quick.’”

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).