Uber jumps on the scooter bandwagon with “sizeable” investment in startup Lime

Uber Lime

Uber has made a “sizeable” investment in California-based scooter-sharing startup Lime, as part of the company’s latest $US335 million ($454.08 million) funding round.

According to a Bloomberg report, the investment, led by Alphabet Inc’s venture arm GV, values Lime at $US1.1 billion ($1.36 billion).

The raise also included IVP, the Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Atomico, as well as some of Lime’s existing investors. GV general partner Joe Kraus will also take a position on Lime’s board.

Details of the partnership have not been released, but a statement from Lime called Uber’s contribution “sizable”, and described the ride-sharing giant as a “strategic partner”.

Lime provides dock-less electric scooters, as well as electric and pedal-powered bikes, for short-term ‘last-mile’ rentals, with the partnership and investment meaning Uber will make Lime bikes and scooters available on its mobile platform, while scooters will be ‘co-branded’ with Uber’s logo.

Founded in January last year, the startup now has electric scooters and both electric and pedal-powered bikes in 70 markets in the US and Europe, with more than 6 million users worldwide.

The startup will use the new funds to further expand, globally, while also improving its infrastructure and developing new technologies and products.

The partnership may represent a change in tack for Uber, in terms of its ambitions in the scooter-sharing space. According to the Bloomberg report, Uber has previously filed an application in San Francisco to launch a scooter-sharing business of its own, however it is unclear currently whether those plans are still underway.

This raise for a US-based bike and scooter-sharing company comes after bike-sharing operator oBike announced it would be leaving Melbourne, and ofo announced it will be withdrawing from Australia. These exits raised questions about why the model, which seems so popular elsewhere, doesn’t seem to work in Australian cities.

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