Bird just announced 10 million scooter rides since launching about one year ago. If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because Bird competitor Lime earlier today announced it surpassed 11.5 million rides across its shared bikes and scooters.
Bird, which launched last September in Santa Monica, Calif., currently operates in 100 cities and has over two million unique riders, Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden told TechCrunch. But Bird’s first year of operations has been full of ups and downs.
Many of the downs have been around regulatory issues. Bird faced, and overcame them, in Santa Monica but failed in San Francisco.
“I think anytime you’re doing something new that the cities haven’t contemplated before, there always seems to be gray area on where you fit in in the regulatory environment,” VanderZanden said. “Cities hadn’t thought about electric scooters and electric scooter sharing. We collaborated very closely with the cities we’re in now.”
Although San Francisco did not grant an operating permit to Bird — the city gave them to Scoot and Skip — VanderZanden stressed that “San Francisco is one city. We’re in 100 cities.”
He also said Bird is not looking to appeal the decision in San Francisco. Lime, however, is in engaging in the appeals process.
As Bird enters its second year of operations, the name of the game is to double down on its efforts with cities and building out its government tech platform. Bird is also looking into manufacturing its own scooters to provide more durability to its customers and differentiate itself from other scooters on the market.
“We’ve been investing heavily in that area,” VanderZanden said. “You’ll start to see new vehicles coming from us soon.”
He added, “we want to keep building vehicles that are more ruggedized but also vehicles that have new features for the riders as well.”
And Bird definitely has the funds to do that. To date, Bird has raised $415 million in funding for shared electric scooters.