UPDATED 00:04 EST / JUNE 06 2019


Report: Bird has acquired San Francisco-based e-scooter sharing service Scoot

Fresh from launching a new electric moped service Tuesday, Bird Rides Inc. has acquired e-scooter sharing startup Scoot Networks Inc. according to an unconfirmed report published Wednesday.

TechCrunch, quoting sources, claims that the deal is sealed but not announced. The price is unknown, but the report noted that Scoot has raised about $47 million to date, with its last round valuing it at $71 million.

Investors in the company include Mahindra Partners, Vision Ridge Capital Partners, Black Green Capital, Krillion Ventures, Scout Ventures, SeedInvest and Maveron.

Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based Scoot pitches itself as the “fastest, most affordable and most fun way to get around the city.” Despite a sizable sum of venture capital investment, the company hasn’t expanded as rapidly as others the market have, offering services only in Barcelona, Spain, and Santiago, Chile, along with its hometown San Francisco.

Arguably Scoot’s biggest success to date was obtaining one of two licenses offered by San Francisco to offer e-scooter hires in the city in August.

The acquisition is said to represent the possible start of consolidation in the scooter hiring market. However, Bird buying Scoot, the former operating in over 100 cities versus Scoot operating in three, is more like Bird picking up spare change off the street.

That said, the same TechCrunch report, again quoting sources, said Uber Technologies Inc is in talks to acquire Skip (Waybots Inc.), another e-scooter minnow that operates in only two cities. One of the cities Skip operates in is San Francisco, the company having obtained a license from the city to operate at the same time as Scoot did.

According to Crunchbase, Skip has raised $131 million to date from investors that include Menlo Ventures, A.Capital Ventures, Accel, Trucks Venture Capital, Maven Ventures, Y Combinator and SV Angel.

If Scoot, having raised $47 million and managing to offer services in only three cities, isn’t strange enough, Skip raising $131 million and only operating in two cities is weirder yet. There’s zero technology value or even significant market share advantage in acquiring either company, which begs the question: Why?

The only common denominator between the two is they have the only licenses to operate in San Francisco. It may be an extremely high price to pay just to operate in San Francisco, but it may be one both Bird and Uber are willing to pay.

Photo: paulwasneski/Flickr

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