US scooter-sharing startup Bird has launched a new platform allowing other startups and small businesses to run their own mini scooter empires.
Bird Platform will provide scooters-as-a-service, offering any business or individual a fleet of scooters.
Platform users also gain access to a marketplace of mechanics and chargers — people earning money for charging the electric vehicles in their homes — all for a service fee, which according to a report from TechCrunch, amounts to 20% of the cost of any rides.
Users can brand their scooters however they please, uploading their logo and choosing the colour of the frames. They can also create a branded website for their two-wheeled side hustle.
“The e-scooter movement has never been just about one company, one city or one way of providing a service,” Bird chief executive Travis VanderZanden said in a statement.
“It’s about the collective — all of us and the universal need to invest in a brighter, safer, greener future.”
According to the TechCrunch report, Bird Platform will be rolled out in December in any city Bird scooters are actively used, and where regulations allow it.
Bird has not yet made it to Australia, and although the startup says Bird Platform will soon be available globally, it’s not clear whether Aussie companies or individuals are able to sign up — or how easy it will be to implement the service Down Under.
In September, Estonian ride-sharing startup Taxify unveiled plans to roll out dockless electric scooter sharing in Australia, although there hasn’t been much progress on this since.
Bike-sharing startups, however, have a somewhat strained relationship with the Australian public, with crackdowns on stray and ill-placed bikes cluttering cities and high-profile providers pulling out of the country, all while others continue to try and crack the market.
So if Bird does successfully migrate to Australia — whether adopted by a tech giant or university to provide campus transport, or even a bike-rental business looking to attach another string to its bow — there could be even more two-wheeled ride-sharing options in the not-too-distant future.