Investors in Lime were surprised this spring that the startup already had spent much of the $70 million it had raised only a few months earlier. The company was trying to shift quickly from running a bike-share business to one focused on electric scooters, and needed to buy thousands of the vehicles, according to people familiar with the matter. It lost an average of $6 million a month the first six months of the year, one of the people said.
It then raised hundreds of millions of dollars more from venture capital firms, but by October its net loss that month had swelled to $23 million, one of the people said, as it sought to expand to more cities and gain an upper hand on Bird, its leading rival. The monthly loss was expected to fall to $11 million in January, the person said. The extent of Lime’s losses hasn’t previously been reported.