Last August, San Francisco welcomed some electric scooters back into its midst, but it gave Bird (and Lime and Spin) the finger — making the city an afterthought in the scooter wars. But now, Bird has bought its way back into the city by purchasing Scoot, one of the two scooter companies that did get permits to operate in SF.
So the city’s last-mile mobility race may be ramping up again.
A press release announcing the acquisition is calling it “a strategic decision from two like-minded companies,” and says that Scoot will continue to operate under its own brand as a subsidiary of Bird, presumably because it needs to in order to operate in places like San Francisco. Scoot also provides larger Vespa-sized scooters — clearly an area of interest for Bird since it announced its electric moped earlier this month.
But intriguingly, Scoot riders won’t just be using Scoot’s scooters anymore, but rather ones from Bird. “Over the coming months, you will be able to find awesome Bird-built Scoots in the cities where you already scoot, and many more cities to follow. Scoot riders can expect the same great service, but now with more, better vehicles,” reads part of an email sent to Scoot users today.
“We are thrilled to welcome Scoot to the Bird ecosystem and look forward to working with the Scoot team as we further scale our complementary missions – to replace car trips with micro-mobility options for all,” said Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird.
Bird previously tried to get around the SF ban on its scooters by offering a $25 monthly rental service, where it would deliver the scooters instead of leaving them lying around the city. It’s also trying to sell e-scooters to entrepreneurs around the world instead of operating services everywhere all by itself.
Ford purchased Spin, one of the other startups that was excluded from San Francisco, for $100 million last November. Uber just revealed a new scooter today for its previously purchased subsidiary Jump, and Lyft rolled out its own shared electric scooters in Denver last September.
Update, 5:09PM ET: Added that Scoot users may be riding Bird-built scooters in the near future.