Photo: Skip

Skip hasn't yet dumped its e-scooters onto the streets of hometown San Francisco, instead quietly testing its service in Washington, D.C. while waiting for San Francisco to put a regulatory regime in place.

Bottom line: Skip is betting that its friendlier, play-by-the-rules approach will help put it ahead of competitors like Bird, Lime and Spin.

San Francisco is only giving e-scooter permits to five companies, but a dozen companies applied. Skip not only will compete against established e-scooter rivals, but also against ride-share giants Uber and Lyft.

Skip, formerly known as Waybots, tells Axios that its sales pitch is fourfold:

Safety for riders and everyone else: It will back, financially and otherwise, local organizations such as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition focused on initiatives like adding more bike lanes. CTO Mike Wadhera says that riders usually ride (illegally) on sidewalks because they don't feel safe on the streets with cars.

  • The company will also spend up to $150,000 in the next 18 month on incentives like ride credits to get riders to safely park their scooters out of pedestrians' way. It's working on vehicle features that can encourage this, although Wadhera declined to share more.

Transparency and accountability: Skip is proposing that it form a community advisory council that would serve as a way for residents and city officials to regularly meet with its executives to address concerns.

  • Skip also would publish data about its customers, to encourage transparency and to encourage accessibility.

Employment: The startup will need people to repair and service its scooters, and wants to help create job training programs for disadvantaged groups.

  • Skip says these jobs will be as full company employees, not independent contractors, and that its trained mechanics would be able to work for any e-scooter company.

Experience: The executive team includes vets from companies like Uber and Airbnb, which have had their fair share of fights with San Francisco officials. They now position themselves as reformed.

  • "We are seeking out people who may have been part of companies that got some things wrong in the past but are eager to be in a company doing it the right way,” Wadhera said.

Bottom line: Some of its rivals have already established their brands in San Francisco and raised a lot of capital. But Skip doesn't believe it will be winner-take-all race, and that unlike ride-hailing a few years ago, playing by the rules will prove a positive differentiator.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Lawmakers demand answers from World Bank on Xinjiang loan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the World Bank about its continued operation of a $50 million loan program in Xinjiang, following Axios reporting on the loans.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is currently waging a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The lawmakers contend that the recipients of the loans may be complicit in that repression.

Obama: Americans could be "collateral damage" in Trump's war on mail-in voting

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

Elon Musk is channeling Henry Ford in auto manufacturing

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has spent more than a decade trying to disrupt the traditional auto industry, is sounding more and more like the man most closely associated with it: Henry Ford.

Why it matters: In his quest to build affordable electric cars for the masses, Musk is starting to embrace many of the ideas pioneered by Ford's founder — things like vertical supply chains and an obsession with manufacturing efficiency. A century ago that approach helped to popularize the American automobile by lowering the cost of the Model T.