Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Cities Uber/Lyft

No Longer a Gimmick, Electric Scooters and Bikes Face Scrutiny

Uber’s agreement last week to acquire Jump, an electric bike-sharing service, brought new legitimacy to a business that had been viewed by some as a novelty. But the high-profile deal also has exposed concerns about whether motorized bikes and scooters can live up to heightened expectations. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who is still a board member, privately has told people the deal, at upward of $200 million in cash and stock, was too expensive for what Uber got in return, according to people familiar with his thinking.

He wasn’t alone in scrutinizing the emergence of the sector, which jolted into public view after other bike and scooter startups raised significant funding and angered city officials after launching in San Francisco without permission. The e-bike and e-scooter rollout has happened so quickly that tech companies and investors are scrambling to evaluate the companies’ potential. Some startups are likely to add to their war chests: LimeBike, which operates bike and scooter fleets, is preparing for another fundraising round that could value it at $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

No subscription? You're missing out.

Join the high-powered community of tech and business leaders who rely on The Information's original news and in-depth reporting.

It’s unclear whether all these companies will become friends or foes of Uber and Lyft, which could see short car trips cut out by newer options. A person with knowledge of Uber’s business said the company has detected no impact so far in markets like Santa Monica or Washington, D.C., where of bike- or scooter-sharing services have been active.

--Serena Saitto contributed to this article.

5 total comments
Noah David, Jeremy Banon and 3 others commented on this article.
Read comments from top tech and industry leaders
Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Founding Partner, Eight
Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder & Managing Partner, SocialCapital
Tina Sharkey
Tina Sharkey
CEO, Brandless
Jonah Peretti
Jonah Peretti
CEO, Buzzfeed
Adam D'Angelo
Adam D'Angelo
CEO, Quora
Brit Morin
Brit Morin
Founder & CEO, Brit + CO
Dustin Moskovitz
Dustin Moskovitz
Co-Founder, Asana
Christina Miller
Christina Miller
President & General Manager, Turner
Max Levchin
Max Levchin
CEO, Affirm
Adam Mosseri
Adam Mosseri
Director of Product, Facebook
Alex Mather
Alex Mather
The Athletic
Martha Josephson
Martha Josephson
Partner, Egon Zehnder
James Murdoch
James Murdoch
Co-Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox
Andrew Kortina
Andrew Kortina
Founder, Venmo
Ben Chestnut
Ben Chestnut
Co-Founder & CEO, Mailchimp
Ruchi Sanghvi
Ruchi Sanghvi
VP Operations, Dropbox
Login or Subscribe to follow the discussions happening here and real-time in our   Slack Community.
The sudden arrival of the bikes and scooters on city streets and sidewalks has left policy makers unsure of whether or how to regulate the companies.