Billion Dollar Unicorns: Bird Delivers Meteoric Growth

A survey of 7,000 people conducted by the research firm Populous found that 3.6% of those surveyed had used a dockless scooter recently. Given the short period of time that dockless scooters have been in business, that is believed to be a much quicker adoption rate than that of dockless bikes. The market is currently dominated by two key players. Billion Dollar Unicorn Bird and Lime, which we had covered recently.

Bird’s Offerings

Santa Monica-based Bird was founded in September 2017 by Travis VanderZanden who wanted to set up a company that would redefine transportation solutions. Prior to setting up Bird, Travis had worked at Lyft and Uber, so was well experienced in the ride-sharing world. Similar to Lime, Bird users can find a dockless scooter through their app, unlock the scooter using the QR code on the app, and when done, simply lock, and end the ride on the app.

Currently, the service is available in more than 100 cities in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Its international locations include Mexico City, Antwerp, Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris, Vienna, Zurich, and Tel Aviv. The company has also tied up with more than 20 universities in the US to provide its services within their campuses.

Bird’s Financials

Like its rival Lime, Bird also charges a flat fee of $1 to ride a scooter plus an additional $0.15 per minute for the ride. Since these scooters are electric and need to be charged, Bird pays gig-workers called Chargers to find scooters, charge them, and redistribute them the next morning. It pays anywhere between $5-$20 for each scooter to be charged fully.

It is still privately held and does not disclose its financials. As of September last year, Bird had recorded more than 10 million rides on its scooters. Analysts estimate that the rides are helping Bird deliver an annual revenue run rate of $250 million as of October 2018.  They peg the average revenue per Bird ride at nearly $3.65. In the future, Bird envisions revenues of $70 million from cities like San Francisco where it hopes to deploy as many as 10,000 scooters. Analysts believe that Bird is still not profitable.

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Disclaimer: More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion ...

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