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A person riding a scooter in San Francisco last week. Photo: Bloomberg
Uber/Lyft

No Longer a Gimmick, Electric Scooters and Bikes Face Scrutiny

Photo: A person riding a scooter in San Francisco last week. Photo: Bloomberg

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.

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