Jul 10, 2018

The electric scooter wars are entering a new phase

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uber yesterday announced that it participated in Lime's new funding round, which topped out at $335 million, and that the two sides are working on a strategic partnership whereby people would be able to rent Lime scooters via Uber's app.

Why it matters: New developments suggest a consolidation phase is coming in the electric scooter wars. We're heading toward full-stack local transportation companies, and what we've seen with bikes — e.g., Uber buying Jump, Lyft buying Motivate — should eventually come to scooters.

The details: The strategic partnership isn't yet finalized, but a source says it will include at least temporary restrictions on both sides. For Uber, that means rules around its own e-scooter fleet launches (although it says it isn't pulling its SF permit request) and investing in Lime rivals. For Lime, that means working with other ride-hail companies.

  • Lime executive Caen Contee adds that Uber can receive additional equity, based on milestones tied to Lime usage via Uber's app. This is similar to the agreement Uber signed earlier this year with bike-share company Jump, which Uber acquired just months later.

Lyft, meanwhile, is said to be working on its own partnership with Spin. No details yet, nor confirmation from either company, but it shouldn't be too surprising. There are basically three big scooter-share companies right now: Lime (partnered with Uber), Bird (led by someone who left both Lyft and Uber on not-so-great terms) and Spin (winner winner, e-scoot dinner).

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

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Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post on Feb. 28, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

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