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Scooter startup Lime is laying off 14 percent of its workers and exiting 12 markets

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Bye-bye Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Antonio

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Lime, the largest electric scooter-sharing company in the world, is laying off 14 percent of its workers and exiting 12 markets, according to a report in Axios. The move comes during the winter months, when most scooter companies see a significant dip in ridership, and amid reports about the industry’s struggles to turn a profit.

In a statement posted online, Lime CEO Brad Bao said the company has decided to leave cities where “micromobility has evolved more slowly.” The cities where Lime will be shutting down operations include Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Antonio in the US; Linz, Austria in Europe; and Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Lima, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo in Latin America.

The company will also lay off 14 percent of its workforce, or around 100 employees, according to Axios. In his statement, Bao acknowledged that some employees would be leaving the company.

“Financial independence is our goal for 2020, and we are confident that Lime will be the first next-generation mobility company to reach profitability,” Bao said. “We are immensely grateful for our team members, riders, Juicers and cities who supported us, and we hope to reintroduce Lime back into these communities when the time is right.”

Lime, along with its rivals like Bird, Uber, and Lyft, have struggled to make scooter sharing profitable. Most experts agree that the market is oversaturated and needs to consolidate. After a period of rapid growth, many scooter companies now have to take a step back and tackle some of their intractable problems, such as unit economics, software, batteries, and safety. Lime joins Bird, Skip, Scoot, and Lyft in laying off its scooter-related employees in recent months.

Lime, which operates in over 120 cities around the globe, lost approximately $300 million in 2019 on more than $420 million in gross revenue, according to The Information. This is likely due to increased costs such as depreciation of its electric kick scooters and the company’s vast repairs operation.

Lime’s president Joe Kraus told Axios that the company is close to being profitable, but denied rumors that it was almost out of money and seeking a new round of venture capital investment. (Last October, Bird raised $275 million in new money, valuing the company at $2.5 billion.)