Scooter Econ 101

It is Tuesday, January 15, 2019. In case you forgot.
scooter gang

Born in 2018? Your zodiac sign is... The Scooter

Scooter ride-sharing companies exploded onto the scene in 2018. Bird, Lime, Skip, Spin, Scoot, and more invaded (some more diplomatically than others) cities around the world and raised more than $1 billion in venture funding.

That’s not to say it was all smooth scooting from the get-go. Between resistant city governments, community backlash, and instagram accounts promoting the vandalism of scooters, the scooter gang has faced an uphill battle.

Despite these challenges, scooter companies still managed to deliver tens of millions of rides in more than 100 cities worldwide -- it’s fair to assume that scooters are sticking around for the foreseeable future.

A crowded flock

There are at least nine different companies that have raised a minimum of $5 million in funding to compete in the scooter wars.

Although Bird currently trails Lime in terms of total fundraising, news broke recently that Bird is raising another $300 million.

This reported round of financing comes just over six months after Bird raised a previous $300 million and became the fastest startup in history to reach a $1 billion valuation.

The new round of financing would give Bird the biggest budget of the bunch and they’ll need it to replace those scooters lost to the graveyard.


Raising money to scale operations is one thing, actually making money is an entirely different beast. According to a report on Bird’s financials from The Information, Bird makes on average $3.65 in revenue per ride, but only $0.70 in gross profit.

Here’s a breakdown of what it costs to keep a bird flying:
  • $1.72 on charging costs
  • $0.51 on repairs
  • $0.41 on credit card fees
  • $0.20 on city permits
  • $0.06 on customer service
  • $0.05 on insurance
Bird’s biggest cost? Charging -- which has taken on a cutthroat culture of its own.

This year promises to be an exciting one for the scooter race, with other more established ride-sharing companies watching closely
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Zac Cherin
Brendan Uyeshiro
Brendan Uyeshiro