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article imageE-scooter startup Bird raises $3900 million

By Tim Sandle     Jan 20, 2019 in Technology
The e-scooter startup Bird has secured $300 million for its expansion plans, with assistance from financial giant Fidelity. The investment shows the growing popularity of e-scooters. However, this form of transport continues to remain controversial.
Scooter startup Bird is set to raise additional $300 million funding for its latest investment round, supported by Fidelity, according to Business Insider. Other investors in Bird are Accel, CRV, Greycroft, Index Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Craft Ventures and Tusk Ventures. The fortunes of Bird look strong with additional reports surfaced that Uber is preparing a bid for either Bird or its leading competitor Lime.
During the course of 2018, Santa Monica-based Bird has expanded rapidly across the U.S. and it operates in over 100 cities in both the US and Europe. In all, Bird has raised $415 million across four funding rounds, according to CrunchBase.
Shifts towards electric cars and buses are rising partly due to concerns about the environment and the popularity of e-scooters is in tune with this. Certainly for those apprehensive about riding a motorcycle a suitable alternative is the electric scooter. As well as the option for people to purchase scooters, what companies like Bird offer are rental solutions for e-scooters and this model has proved popular in many cities.
Wired notes that in many U.S. cities the general populace are supportive of e-scooters. In Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, over 70 percent of residents surveyed said they ‘feel good’ about e-scooters.
To add to this review, a study from Qualtrics provided an insight into how the U.S. population feel about the electric scooter share programs. The answer was a 72 percent approval rating.
There are, nonetheless, safety issues associated with e-scooters. While helmets are recommended for riding electric scooters, many hospital emergency rooms receive a high number of injured riders in cities where the scooters are proving to be popular. In some areas, like California, the wearing of helmets whilst riding scooters is compulsory.
In the meantime, Axios reports that Bird is continuing to battle for "micromobility" supremacy with Lime. With the latter company, Lime is seeking $400 million in its own new funding round. In general, e-scooter companies are upping the premium technology features, such as color displays between the handlebars, thicker wheels, a back brake, and longer battery life. Some e-scooter displays now include features like Wi-Fi-enhanced GPS.
While e-scooter mania remains big in the U.S., no scooter company has been able to break into the U.K. This is due to the strict laws that classify the scooters as motor vehicles requiring drivers’ licenses and subject to tax and insurance.
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