Uber Ipo

Lyft Releases Its First Earnings Report, Uber Prepares for IPO as Rideshare Drivers Strike Worldwide

This Week In Mobility – May 10, 2019

This week, Uber’s IPO is finally here as Lyft releases its first quarterly earnings report as a publicly traded company. In other news: Is Elon Musk out of his mind?

Lyft First Quarter Earnings Report is No Surprise

Lyft is officially a publicly traded company, and posted its first quarterly earnings report showing a loss of $9.02 per share. We’ve reported before about Lyft’s lack of revenue and falling stock prices, so it’s no surprise that the company’s first report was less than stellar.

Can Lyft and Uber prove to investors that there is money to be made in the rideshare industry? While many financial experts are skeptics, evidence shows that Uber and Lyft are transforming the way the world deals with commuting. Even US government transit authorities are using rideshare companies to avoid having to replace aging vehicles and handle other issues.

So yes, there’s money to be made, but investors shouldn’t expect the same quick returns they get from other publicly traded companies that are already profitable.

Rideshare Drivers Strike Just in Time for Uber’s IPO

On Wednesday, drivers from both Lyft and Uber logged off their driver apps and banded together to protest mistreatment from rideshare companies worldwide.

Because rideshare drivers are considered contractors and not employees, they are not able to benefit from basic employee rights such as minimum wage, Social Security (for US drivers), and other benefits.

The timing of the strike is a precarious one for Uber, as it is in the midst of setting share prices and preparing for today’s IPO. While it may seem like business as usual for Uber, the strikes may be why experts believe that prices will fall around the midpoint of their sale price range of $44 to $50. In addition to the strike, the recent NYC driver hiring freeze has hit both Uber and Lyft pretty hard in terms of future growth.

Uber and Lyft are the world’s largest rideshare companies, and many drivers work for both organizations.

Love Using Bird? Now You Can Buy One of Their Scooters

E-scooter rentals are doing so well that micro-mobility company Bird is betting that you’ll want to buy your own.

Bird announced Wednesday that the Bird One scooter, expected to be ready for sale this summer, will sell to anyone who wants to buy their own for $1,299.

Sound ridiculous? After you recover from the high price tag, it’s important to note that e-scooter rentals are booming worldwide. California-based Bird is making a smart move by taking advantage of their current popularity and announcing the scooters are now available for sale.

Back in April, Bird rival Lime announced that their scooters have weathered more than 50 million trips since they launched in 2017. But sharing scooters isn’t always ideal for some. Yes, expensive scooters are definitely a gamble. There’s a big jump between a $15 scooter rental and a $1,299 investment in an electric vehicle.

But handling the worldwide commuting crisis is going to involve risky moves from companies like Bird who are willing to experiment with new ways to get people around.

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry and Elon Musk Go Head-to-Head

Is Elon Musk a visionary or just plain crazy? Autonomous car experts are abuzz this week about Elon Musk’s latest claim: that Tesla will have a million fully autonomous “robo-taxis” on the road by 2020.

Technology publication The Next Web pointed out that “there isn’t a single consumer-facing vehicle with level five autonomy in production today.”

So yes, visionary seems a little far-fetched in this situation. Elon Musk is a highly intelligent guy, but he is a businessman. His Tesla taxi idea has legs, given the fact that Tesla owners are already renting their cars out on Turo.

A million fully autonomous Teslas making money for owners while they sleep by 2020 is not happening. The Tesla Network will take a little longer than a few months to get up and running. For now, Tesla owners will continue to recoup their investment in their vehicles by sharing them 11 days a month with “less fortunate” drivers.

On Demand Logistics Company Flexe Raises $43M

Logistics is quietly coming up in the on demand industry as a way for retailers to make money delivering goods. With heavy hitters like Amazon investing in their own delivery network, smaller retailers are looking for ways to compete.

Venture capitalists recognize the importance of competition, and are investing in ways to help retailers without deep pockets deliver items as efficiently as possible.

Tuesday, on demand warehouse startup Flexe announced a $43M Series B funding round to help companies with “‘pop-up’ storage space” needs. The company compares itself to Airbnb.

Instead of finding rooms for vacationers like Airbnb, Flexe finds temporary warehouse space for companies to efficiently move products to consumers. This model is wonderful for growing ecommerce companies that don’t have physical warehouse space or distribution partners where they need them.

Image Credit: Picture Lake


Bird Scooter Riders

Bird Platform: How to Manage Your Own Scooter Fleet with Bird

Since launching about a year ago, Bird, a popular scootershare company, has already clocked more than 10 million rides and expanded to more than 100 cities. Now, the company is expanding its offering with a new opportunity for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to develop their own fleet of sharable e-scooters.

In late November, Bird Rides launched the Bird Platform.

The new Bird Platform enables entrepreneurs to make money managing their own fleet of shared e-scooters using Bird’s resources. This program offers a great opportunity for business-savvy individuals who want to make a little money on the side or established business owners who want to expand their services.

If this sounds like the kind of opportunity you want to take advantage of, you’ll want to understand how the platform works and how you can get started with your own fleet. Below is a quick guide that covers all you need to know about the new Bird Platform.

Bird Platform: How It Works

The basic logistics of the platform are simple.

Bird provides you with scooters at cost and access to the company’s marketplace of chargers and mechanics. As an independent operator, you run your own fleet complete with your own branding. You can also decide whether to utilize Bird chargers and mechanics or use your own resources.

Purchasing Branded Scooters

As an independent operator, you can purchase the e-scooters directly from Bird at cost.

These will be their Bird Zero model scooters, which have 60 percent more battery life, better durability, and increased ride stability when compared to the earlier model.


There are no minimum or maximum number of scooters you need to purchase as part of your fleet.

However, keep in mind any local regulations that dictate the number of scooters allowed on the streets.

For example, in San Francisco, the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency has put a cap on the number of scooters permitted on the roads. And they have actually denied Bird a permit to operate within the city limits at all.

Once you’ve purchased the scooters, you’ll need to create your own branding to set yourself apart from other scooter companies in your area. After developing your unique branding, simply upload your logo to the Bird Platform and select your sleeve color. According to Bird, you cover the cost of city permits, and they’ll “do the rest.”

Managing Your E-Scooter Fleet

Once you have purchased your fleet of e-scooters, you’ll get everything you need to manage the machines through the Bird Platform.

In addition to the freedom to brand your scooter fleet however you please, Bird will also help you run your scooters from your very own customized app. The scooters are delivered to you “map-ready,” meaning that they are already equipped with the latest in GPS, anti-theft technology, and GovTech.

All independent operators will have access to Bird’s Open Map API. This allows them to display their scooters on the Bird map where riders will be able to see available scooters to reserve.

Bird Scooters - Find a Bird Nearby


Since Bird is already a popular scooter rental app for consumers, allowing independent operators to display their scooters on the Bird app will help drive additional business for these entrepreneurs and business owners.

The Bird Platform will also make it easy for independent operators to market their business through a customized website. You can add your own branding and information to the site and begin to use this as a marketing tool for your scooter fleet. And you can manage it all from one easy to use platform through Bird.

bird e-scooter fleet


Accessing the Charger & Mechanic Marketplace

When you become an independent operator with Bird, you also have access to an extensive marketplace of chargers and mechanics for your e-scooter fleet. Having access to the Bird charger and mechanic apps enables you to easily get all the tools and resources you need to streamline your business and more efficiently manage and maintain your fleet of e-scooters.

Independent operators will be able to set their own pay rate for chargers to maintain their scooters. This means you have more control over your bottom line. Not to mention, you also have the ability to charge the scooters yourself as a way to save money. In fact, those who currently work as chargers for Bird may be the ideal candidates to become independent operators as they will be able to maximize their earnings doing the same task.

Operating Fees

In addition to initial start-up costs of purchasing the Bird-designed e-scooters, Bird will also charge a service fee for each ride. This service fee covers all of the benefits Bird provides its independent operators, including the ability to buy reliable scooters at cost; use of the Bird Platform, which makes e-scooter fleet management easy; access to the network of chargers and mechanics; and listing on Bird’s Open Map API. This service fee will amount to 20 percent of the ride cost.

Other costs involved include the cost of maintenance. Again, you have the ability to charge the scooters yourself or pay chargers on Bird’s charger network. The best option for you will depend on your own individual needs and circumstances. You’ll also need to consider mechanic fees. Though you have access to the network of Bird mechanics through their app, you may also outsource this work or complete it yourself, depending on your own needs and preferences.

How to Get Started With Your Own Bird Scooter Fleet

Bird has just launched the Bird Platform and is beginning the rollout in select cities this month.

According to Bird, more than 300 entrepreneurs and business owners have already started to show interest in this opportunity. As it’s currently only available in a few markets, they are currently asking those who want to become independent operators to sign up to join the Bird Platform waitlist.


Turo Go User

English Limes, Bird Needs Scooterpreneurs and Instacart Is Getting Social

This Week In On Demand — Nov. 30, 2018

Not even the post-Thanksgiving drowsiness can slow down the on demand app momentum.

Fortunately, we kept an eye on the latest gig economy happenings so you didn’t have to. Here’s what you missed this week in on demand.

Wind Mobility Raises $22 Million

E-scooters are dominating the on demand industry worldwide, and now, there’s another player in the mix.

Wind Mobility announced a $22 million funding round led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and Source Code Capital. Based in Berlin, the scooter rental company launched in 2017, and currently serves markets in Western Europe and the U.S.

Wind Mobility joins two other must-watch European competitors — VOI and Tier. All three startups are in a race to dominate the EU before American companies, like Bird and Lime, gain a stronghold on the market.

Another contender is Taxify, an Estonian-based ride-sharing company that’s expanding into scooters.

Lime Lands in the UK

While Wind Mobility sets its sights on European domination, Lime is focusing its attention further north. On Monday, the company, began its first day of operation in the UK, but they’re only launching their e-bikes in the first wave.

Milton Keynes is the only city in the operating area with expansion expected in the future.

Lime U.K. Bike


From initial reports, the launch seems to have gone off without a hitch — standing in sharp contrast to many of their e-scooter operations in the U.S.

Lime has experienced local government pushback, a lawsuit, and massive recalls over the past few months.

However, the company has taken a different approach with their UK launch by working closely with the Milton Keynes council and focusing on e-bikes, which haven’t yet undergone the backlash of their scooter counterparts.

Bird Joins Forces With Independent Operators for Bird Platform

On Tuesday, Bird announced a new franchise partnership program.

Dubbed Bird Platform, the option allows individuals or businesses to purchase their own fleet of Bird scooters. The scooter-sharing company sets up the independent entrepreneur with a customized website, a branded set of e-scooters, and access to Bird’s network of contractors for charging or repair purposes.

The operators are required to pay for any necessary operation permits in their area, but Bird is in charge of filing the paperwork.

Along with the initial buy-in, Bird also receives 20 percent of each scooter ride.

By giving the power to local operators, who offer insider knowledge into their community, Bird is able to further expand their markets without directly dealing with the struggles of a hands-on approach.

Instacart Nabs Social Media Guru From Facebook

Last week, Instacart made another addition to its growing team. Bangaly Kaba is joining the grocery-delivery company as the vice president of growth. He currently serves as Facebook’s Instagram manager — a position he’s held since 2014.

Kaba will fill the spot left by previous chief growth officer, Elliot Shmukler, who left the company in September.

Kaba’s hiring is added to a list of big-name additions to Instacart’s team just this month.

A few weeks ago, the company welcomed two former Google employees, Varouj Chitilian and Dave Sobota, along with an acquihire of the MightySignal team, which added six new team members.

While team expansions are expected of a growing company, these moves are likely being made to prepare for Amazon’s entry into the grocery delivery market.

Uber Hit With $1.17 Million Fine

A data breach and alleged coverup by ousted CEO, Travis Kalanick, is costing Uber $1.17 million. The fine was issued by the UK and the Netherlands governments as a result of the ride-sharing company breaking EU privacy laws. The hacking incident, which occurred in 2016, affected 57 million people globally.

The European fine is substantially less than the financial consequences Uber faces stateside.

While only 600,000 U.S. users were affected, the company is facing a $148 million payout for the breach. Improvements to their cybersecurity measures are also a part of the settlement made with the country’s state governments.

Turo Announces Turo Go, While Getaround Says ‘Goodbye’ to Uber Rent

Peer-to-peer vehicle rental service Turo announced Turo Go, using Continental’s Key as a Service (KaaS) software.

The partnership allows users on Turo’s platform access to a mobile-powered keyless entry and operation system. As a result, both vehicle owners and renters avoid the dreaded in-person meet up to exchange keys.


The software is similar to Getaround’s Connect system, making Turo a more powerful player in the peer-to-peer vehicle rental market.

Speaking of Getaround, the company’s latest partnership with Uber, known as Uber Rent or Uber Getaround, is being dismantled.

The venture launched in April of this year and allowed rideshare drivers to rent a peer’s vehicle directly through the Uber app.

Uber privately announced the end of the program to users last week, and it has since been made public. Uber drivers without vehicles can still take advantage of discounted rates through the company’s previous partnership with the peer-to-peer rental service, but all transactions take place separately through the Getaround app.

Check back next week to stay up-to-date on the latest acquisitions, investments, collaborations, and team announcements affecting side hustles worldwide.


Lyft buys Blue Vision

On Demand Gas, Uber Eats By Drone, Lyft Gets Vision – This Week In On Demand

This Week In On-Demand — Oct. 26, 2018

It’s been a busy week in the on-demand sector. While the rideshare IPO race is in full swing, the rush for self-sufficient technology is threatening the future of gig-economy opportunities. Here’s what you need to know this week in on-demand news.

Uber Raises Quick Cash With $2 Billion Junk Bond Sale

Late last week, Uber floated $2 billion worth of bonds to select investors. The private placement was initially expected to raise $1.5 billion, but the company raised the offering after immense interest. Since the deal was made privately, not much is known about the specifics of the investors or Uber’s financial reports.

The junk bond sale comes just months ahead of the rideshare company’s expected IPO, which is estimated at $120 billion. However, Uber is struggling with a continual cash flow problem. This latest round of debt is added to the $1.5 billion loan deal completed in May. Such debt increases may seem drastic, but they’re a vital step to keep the company going until it hits the market in 2019.

Lyft Buys Blue Vision Labs

On Tuesday, Lyft’s Level 5 division announced the purchase of Blue Vision Labs. Based in London, Blue Vision Labs specializes in 3D mapping and augmented reality, which goes hand in hand with Lyft’s autonomous vehicle initiative. The AR company’s staff will now join the rest of the Level 5 team — Lyft’s self-driving subsidiary.

As with Uber, Lyft is making various business moves ahead of their impending IPO next year. The purchase of Blue Vision Labs comes a week after the company launched a rideshare subscription program. Within the past month, the business has also gone on a hiring spree to prepare for its market debut. Keep your eye on this space, as it’s highly likely that more acquisitions and big announcements are on the way.

Check out Blue Vision’s collaborative augmented reality technology below. Or if you want to get a head start on an idea for next year’s Lyft Pitch, sign up for an api key.


Bird & Lime Hit With Lawsuit

It looks like Bird and Lime are headed to court. On Friday, attorney Catherine Lerer filed a class-action lawsuit in California against the companies. Joining the two popular scooter-rental services are Xiaomi and Segway. All nine plaintiffs are seeking compensation for injuries suffered while riding rented scooters.

The lawsuit comes after months of pushback from local governments regarding electric-scooters. In early October, Bird’s CEO, Travis VanderZanden, stated that the business carefully selects locations based on their lack of legal perimeters as opposed to working with the municipality to implement the service. Such an approach has resulted in a cease-and-desist in Nashville and a ban in San Francisco. If the scooter companies stick with their current techniques, more lawsuits and legal challenges are a given.

Uber Eats Sets Its Sights On Drones

If you were wondering what the future of UberEats looks like, drone food delivery is the answer. The company is reportedly hoping to launch a drone delivery program by 2021. The news comes after Uber posted a job listing referencing their goals. The post has since been taken down, but it was enough to spark the rumor mill. However, the on-demand business is staying quiet about the specifics of the program.

While the prospect of drone deliveries are exciting, there’s a bigger issue to consider — delivery drivers. Swapping out contractors for drones is likely a cost-effective long-term solution for the company, but it eliminates at least some level of income for thousands of drivers across the country. If other businesses follow suit, it could drastically reduce the level of side hustles available.

On-Demand Fuel Delivery Is Here

It was only a matter of time before the oil industry jumped on the delivery bandwagon. Big Oil powerhouse Royal Dutch Shell has announced it’s bringing its service to Houston in the near future. The company provides on-site gasoline deliveries through their app — a service already offered in the Netherlands. Another company, called Yoshi, has landed a $4 million investment from Exxon for its by-request fuel fillups.

Considering the increasing focus on sustainable fuel sources, the oil industry is facing a future of uncertainty. The move to on-demand service offerings is a natural progression. While it may not be a long-term financial solution, it is a way to increase profits beyond the per-gallon price of fuel as a result of service fees and monthly subscriptions

With the moves toward self-driving vehicles and drones food delivery, what do you think the future of the gig economy looks like? Let us know in the comments!


rent bird scooters

Quickstart Guide To Bird Scooters: How To Rent And Charge

Your Thorough Guide to Bird Scooter Rentals

The bikeshare industry is evolving, and electric scooters are an obvious next step in that evolution. There are a few different scooter rental companies that have entered the market in recent months, and one of the most successful is Bird. The company offers opportunities for riders as well as individuals who want to boost their income. Take a closer look at the company, what they offer, and how you can be a part of it, below.

Everything You Need to Know About Bird Scooter Rentals

Bird scooters have grown quickly in popularity, but electric scooter rentals are a very new service. As a result, most people don’t know much about Bird or how their rental services work. Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a Bird scooter rider:

What Are Bird Scooters?

Founded in 2017, Bird specializes in electronic scooter rentals only. Through Bird’s app, riders can locate available scooters in their area and rent them for easy traveling. The equipment is dockless, so you’re able to ride right up to where you’re going and leave the scooter at your destination, instead of finding a charger dock.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Bird Scooter?

Bird offers a very straightforward pricing arrangement. There’s an initial $1 fee for each electric scooter rental, and then you’ll pay 15 cents for every minute you use the scooter. Considering the speed and convenience of Bird’s scooter rentals, the combination of base fare and per minute fee results in a highly affordable mode of transportation for short trips.

What Are the Benefits of Bird Scooters?

Electric scooters are a fantastic way to get through your city. Choosing to travel by Bird electric scooter offers many benefits, including:

  • Convenience: The Bird scooter app makes it incredibly easy to find scooters near you, and the unlocking process is quick and painless.
  • Speed: Bird scooters are designed to reach speeds of up to 15 mph, which means you can get where you’re going quickly.
  • Affordability: Bird scooter rentals are also inexpensive. Considering their speed and availability, riders are able to reach the destinations quickly, which keeps their overall costs low.
  • Eco-Friendliness: The scooter rentals are also an eco-friendly transportation option. They run on electricity, which is associated with lower carbon emissions than gas or diesel. The equipment is also designed to operate efficiently, so no energy is wasted.

With so many benefits, foot transportation could become a thing of your past.

Where Are Bird Electric Scooters Available?

The electric scooter rental scene is fairly new, so it’s no surprise that Bird is only available in a few locations. However, the success of their current operation areas is leading the company to expand rapidly. As of today, Bird electric scooters are available in the following cities:

  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • San Antonio
  • Oakland
  • San Diego
  • San Jose
  • Los Angeles
  • Atlanta
  • Indianapolis
  • Baltimore
  • Charlotte
  • Memphis
  • Salt Lake City
  • Arlington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Milwaukee

As you can see, the majority of their operational centers are in large metropolitan areas. In the near future, you can expect to find Bird in major cities all over the country. Smaller cities and college towns are likely to be in the second round of expansions after Bird enters each state.

How to Rent a Bird Electric Scooter


Bird Scooters - Find a Bird Nearby


Renting a Bird scooter is fairly easy. First, you need to download the Bird app, which is available on the iTunes store and Google Play. After you open the app, it’ll prompt you to create an account. You’ll also need to enter your payment information before accessing the service. You’ll find this option at the top of the main menu. To get started with a free ride on Bird (up to $5), click the button below.

Join Bird


On the main page of the app, you’ll see a map that indicates your position in relation to nearby scooters, or “Birds,” as the company calls them. You’ll also be able to view the current battery level of each scooter before you choose one.


Bird Scooters - QR Code Unlock


After you’ve located a scooter nearby, you tap the symbol on the screen to choose it. Then you’ll focus your phone camera on the QR code, which is located on the handlebar, to verify the scooter, before hitting “Unlock.” The first time you utilize a Bird scooter rental, the app will also require you to take a picture of your driver’s license.

Once your scooter is rented, it’s time to ride. On the left side of the handlebar, you’ll see the brake handle, and on the right side, a throttle button. To start the system, you’ll use foot power. Three strong pushes will wake up the scooter, and then the rest of the power is provided by the throttle button. Be sure to only operate the scooter in bike lanes and not on sidewalks.

After completing your journey, tap the “Lock” button in the Bird app. You can park the scooter with the kickstand and leave it near the entrance of your destination. It’s best to avoid blocking walkways and sidewalks, so look for a safe location that’s easy to access for other riders.

Everything You Need to Know About Being a Bird Charger

Since Bird’s electric scooters are dockless, they need to be charged regularly. To aid in this effort, the company employs contractors known as “chargers.” Chargers operate as independent contractors and are responsible for Bird scooter charging on a daily basis.

What Bird Chargers Do

Bird chargers utilize the app to locate scooters in their area, and then they collect them for charging. There isn’t a central docking station, so each charger takes the machines home with them to charge overnight. The scooters require a special charger that connects to a standard outlet, but the company will provide these to you once you join their team.

The company sorts scooters throughout a city by creating a “nest,” which is a specific location with expected high demand. After the equipment is charged, the chargers “release” the Birds anywhere in their nest area.

How Much Do Bird Chargers Make?

Bird pays their chargers based on the number of scooters they charge. Each scooter is categorized as either green, yellow, or red, and their charging price varies by category and location. On average, you can expect to make around $5 per fully charged Bird scooter. Once you locate a machine on your app, it’ll tell you how much you’ll make for charging the scooter.

One of the top benefits of working for Bird is their same-day payouts. You’ll be paid the same day for all charged scooters that were freed back to their nest by 7 a.m. After 7 a.m., releases are paid the following business day. Such a quick turnaround only adds to the appeal of the company. Bird does limit each charger to 20 scooters per night.

Bird Charger Requirements

To become a Bird charger, the company requires you to apply. The process isn’t as complicated or thorough as rideshare or delivery companies, but you do need to meet some basic requirements. All Bird chargers must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum age of 18 years old
  • You need to have a vehicle
  • Live in or near an operation center
  • Charge a minimum of three Birds at a time

Since the company pays out on a daily basis, they require that each charger tackle three machines at once. This choice reduces the company’s overall costs as banks charge them for each transaction.

How to Become a Bird Charger

To apply for this Bird scooter job, you need to visit their charger sign up page. You can also access it through their app through the main menu under “Become a Charger.” Next, you’ll enter your personal and tax information along with your direct deposit information.


Become A Bird Charger


After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a call from the Bird team for a short interview. At this time, they’ll explain the process involved in more detail.

Upon approval, you’ll gain access to charger features in your Bird app. This step allows you to find and “capture” Birds in your area. Once you find them, you’ll scan the QR code in the same manner as you would rent them, and then you’ll load them into your vehicle and take them home for the night. The next morning, you’ll need to drop off the Bird scooters in their nest area (designated by the app) between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Bird Scooters: The Future of Bikeshare

Bikeshare options ruled 2017, and scootershare is sure to take over 2018. At the front of the electric scooter rental pack is Bird, but it’s not the only player in the game. Have you used a scooter rental service yet? If so, which one?

on demand economy - man ringing bell held by robot hand

The State Of The On Demand Economy

On Demand In 2018: The Arena Is Crowded, But Growing

It’s hard to believe Uber was founded almost a decade (2009) ago. Lyft is a bit younger, but still a six year old company. It’s incredible to think how much these two apps, along with Postmates, Google Express, Instacart, Grubhub, Doordash, and a whole bunch of others, have changed how we get around, and how we shop for food and household items.

The other day, I tried to remember the last time I was in a taxi cab. I couldn’t. Then, I tried to remember the last time I actually called a restaurant to order delivery or take out. Couldn’t remember that either. However, although I used Instacart once, I still generally go to the supermarket myself. Call me old fashioned.

Bikes and Scooters: A New Wrinkle

Besides all the available rideshare and delivery apps, a new type of app has appeared in the last year that looks to further change how we get around – ebike and escooter dockless rental apps. The concept is pretty simple. A user searches for an available ebike or escooter on the app. The app locates a nearby escooter or ebike. The user walks over, unlocks the ebike or escooter using the app, and rides to their desitnation. When they get there, they can just leave the ebike or escooter parked off to the side. Although the field is pretty new, there are already a few major players. It’s likely not all of these companies are going to make it (remember Sidecar).

  • Bird – $115 million in funding, raising an additional $200 million
  • Jump – Already bought by Uber
  • Limebike – $132 million in funding, raising up to an additional $500 million
  • Spin – Originally bikes, recently added an ebike to their offerings – $8 million in funding
  • Skip – $6 million in funding

If that weren’t enough, Lyft is also developing it’s own e-bike/e-scooter service.

So much change in just a few years, and yet, it’s likely only the beginning.

The Next Five Years

Both Lyft and Uber aim to integrate more with municipal transportation systems in the coming years. Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is aiming to make Uber the “Amazon of transportation“. This is why both companies are moving into the ebike and escooter area. Both eventually aim to become an end to end transportation company. Currently, you can use the Lyft or Uber app to book a Lyft or Uber ride only. Look for e-bike options to be added with a year. Over the next five years, expect Lyft or Uber to try and integrate subway, light rail schedules and external booking into their apps.

On Demand Economy - hands holding phone

2018 is likely to be a year of massive change for the on demand arena, and especially for Uber and Lyft. Although Uber is aiming to go public in late 2019, Lyft may try an IPO in late 2018. Whatever happens, 2018 is likely to be the last year in which all the on demand companies are privately held. Besides the coming IPO’s, there’s also the question of how fast both companies will be able to integrate autonomous vehicles into their fleets.

International Rideshare Players

In the U.S., it’s basically Lyft and Uber. Outside the U.S., it’s a whole different ballgame. Didi cleaned Uber’s clock in China (Uber surrendered, left and took a small stake in Didi.) Grab is dominant in S.E. Asia (Uber sold their s.e. asia business to them recently). In India, Ola is number one, with Uber a distant second. In Europe and Africa, Uber is dominant, but stiff competition is coming.

  • Didi – Dominant in China, operates in Brazil; Planning expansion to Europe, Africa, and the U.S.
  • Ola – Dominant in India
  • Grab – Dominant in S.E. Asia
  • Taxify – European startup, also expanding in Africa – just closed a $175 million funding round led by Daimler Chrysler.
  • Softbank – Japanese conglomerate that has stakes in Uber, Didi, Ola, and Grab. Nobody realizes it, but Softbank is actually the quiet king of rideshare on the planet earth. They also just invested in GM’s self driving car division.

Self-Driving Cars

Autonomous vehicles are coming, but they’re not likely to fully take over the roads in the next five years. Even when they do, they’ll still be a need for drivers (although not as many) However, they will start to become a more common site in the next few years. Virtually every major automaker is a player in this area, and they’re all doing some testing in California. Here’s a quick rundown of who’s doing what and who’s ahead.

  • Waymo (Google subsidiary) – The leader in the field. They have more self driving cars on the road, that have driven more miles, than everyone else on this list combined. One of the ways success is measured in self-driving cars is how long the vehicle can go without a human driver having to intervene. By this metric, Waymo is first by a large margin.
  • Ford – A strong second, but they need more testing.
  • GM – Third, but just got a massive investment from Softbank.
  • Tesla – Tesla gets a lot of hype, but their actual self-driving technology lags behind the three front runners
  • Uber – Overall, their program has been a disaster. They don’t have the funds, or the engineering talent to compete with Google in this area.
  • Lyft – partnering with various companies – no real internal program
  • Daimler-Mercedes, Fiat, Honda, Toyota, BMW and many others – all have testing permits for autonomous vehicles in California.

In all likelihood, both Uber and Lyft will wind up incorporating self-driving cars from Waymo, Ford or GM into their platforms. As it turns out, developing true self-driving vehicles is incredibly difficult, and frankly, beyond the scope of Uber and Lyft’s capabilities. Put another way, Google has unlimited funds, the best self-driving engineering talent in the world, and has been working in the field for six years, and they’re just getting to the point where they can safely put a lot of their self-driving cars on the road. As you can see, the on demand economy is a complicated and crowded arena with a lot of moving parts.

It’ll be interesting to see what everything looks like in 2023.