Lime (transportation company)

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Neutron Holdings, Inc.
Industry Dockless electric scooter sharing, dockless bike sharing, car sharing
FoundedJanuary 2017; 3 years ago (2017-01)
San Francisco, California, United States
FoundersToby Sun,
Brad Bao
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Area served
Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, Oceania, South America
Website www.li.me

Neutron Holdings, Inc. doing business under the name Lime, formerly LimeBike, is an American transportation company based in San Francisco, USA. It runs electric scooters, electric bikes, normal pedal bikes and car sharing systems in various cities around the world. The system offers dockless vehicles which users find and unlock via a mobile app which knows the location of available vehicles via GPS.

History

LimeBike was founded in January 2017 by Brad Bao and Toby Sun, both of whom were executives of Fosun International's venture capital arm. It raised US$12 million in venture funding led by Andreessen Horowitz in March 2017. [1] The company's first location, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, launched in June 2017 with 125 bicycles. [2]

LimeBike

LimeBike expanded in July 2017 to the cities of Key Biscayne, Florida, South Bend, Indiana, and South Lake Tahoe, California. [3] [4] [5] On July 27, 2017, LimeBike launched with 500 bicycles in Seattle, Washington, becoming the city's second bikeshare operator. [6]

The company closed a Series B round of venture funding in October 2017, announcing that it was valued at $225 million. [7] A $335 million funding round in 2018 led to a valuation of $1.1 billion for the company, making it a unicorn. [8]

As of October 2017, Lime had 150,000 users. [9]

In January 2018 Lime announced at CES 2018 that they would begin a trial of electric bikes, branded Lime-E, in San Francisco. [10] The following month Lime-S electric scooters were announced. [11] There was criticism in April 2018 when Lime left several hundred scooters on the streets of US cities without the permission of municipal authorities. [12] [13] Public criticism increased in June when it emerged that the scooters were programmed to play a recording of the message "Unlock me to ride me, or I'll call the police" repeatedly, at high volume, when their controls were touched. [14]

In May 2018, the company announced plans to begin development of transit pods, small self-driving electric vehicles. [15] Lime applied for car-sharing permits in Seattle in October 2018 and later launched a service in December 2018 with a fleet of Fiat 500 Lounge cars branded as "LimePod." [16] [17]

In August 2018, the company signed a deal with Uber to provide them with electric bikes for the expansion of their Uber Bikes service. [18]

In September 2018, a 24 year old man in Dallas, Texas in United States died in a single vehicle Lime scooter accident. Responding police officer found a Lime electric scooter broken in half about 500 feet from where the victim was found unresponsive. [19]

In October 2018 Lime announced the release of a new model e-scooter with larger wheels, built-in suspension and an aluminum frame to combat vandalism and extend vehicle life. [20]

In May 2019, co-founder and chief executive officer Toby Sun stepped down reportedly to focus on R&D while Brad Bao, a Lime co-founder, took his place as CEO. [21]

In September 2019, Lime was recognized as one of the LinkedIn's Top Startups for 2019. This was the first time Lime has been listed, and it was ranked at No. 12 amongst the list of 50 startups. [22]

In October 2019, Lime announced it is predicting to lose about $300 million in 2019. [23]

In January 2020, Lime laid off about 100 employees, or approximately 14 percent of its workforce, and ended its scooter rental service in a dozen markets, including Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio. [24] Further layoffs in April were blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic, with the CEO saying, "We had to pause operations in 99% of our markets worldwide to support cities’ efforts at social distancing." [25]

Started in March 2020, due to reduced demand for electric scooters during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Lime had to suspend service in nearly two dozen countries. [26]

In April 2020, Lime is reported to have acquired assets of electric skateboard startup Boosted. [27]

Lime acquired the Jump e-bike and scooter business from Uber in May 2020, along with a $170 million funding round led by Uber, with Bain Capital Ventures and GV participating. The deal valued Lime at $510 million, down 79% from its $2.4 billion valuation in April 2019. At the same time, Brad Bao stepped down as CEO, replaced by Wayne Ting. [25]


Usage

Users scan the QR code to unlock the scooter

The user installs the Lime app on a device (typically a smartphone), on which are displayed all the vehicles available (tracked by GPS) nearby. Before starting a trip, the user supplies payment information. The user then scans the QR code on the vehicle, beginning the trip. To end the trip, the user parks the vehicle then ends the ride through the app. The price of the trip is immediately withdrawn from the user's credit card. Lime requires every user to take a picture of the parked vehicle and its surroundings, to review whether the vehicle was parked improperly. If any problems were encountered with the trip (like a malfunctioning vehicle) the user can report it through the app.

Locations

As of September 2019, Lime operated in more than 120 cities across more than 30 countries. [28]

In January 2020, Lime announced that it was pulling away from 11 locations, including several US metropolitan areas such as Atlanta. [29]

Lime Scooter On A Sidewalk In Oakland, California
Lime-B
Lime Transport Van
Lime Juicer

Vehicles

Lime, depending on location, uses three different types of vehicles.

Lime-S

Four different electric scooter models are currently in use:

  • Lime-S Ninebot ES4, made by Segway with extra battery attached on to the Main Pole.
  • Lime-S Generation 1
  • Lime-S Generation 2
  • Lime-S Generation 3

Lime has a fleet of 120,000 scooters and they last about five months each. [23]

User collaborations

Chargers

Lime scooters are charged by gig workers, private contractors who sign up to become "Juicers"; the company sends approved Juicers charging equipment, and pays them to charge scooters overnight then place them at designated "LimeHubs" throughout the company's service area in the morning. Juicing can become competitive, with Juicers in some markets using vans and other creative means to pick up scooters all over the city. [30]

Theft of electricity

In one instance in August 2019 in Portland, Oregon, a local food stand operator caught a Lime juicer had been stealing electricity from his food kiosk to charge dozens of Lime scooters overnight. [31]

Controversy

Conflicts with local authorities

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Lime has been criticized for its approach towards municipalities, including ignoring local laws. In February 2019, a Fort Lauderdale Lime user was placed in a vegetative state after a violent collision with a car while riding a Lime scooter on the road, not the legally permitted sidewalk use. The injured woman was allegedly instructed to use the road by Lime's app. [32]

Coronado, California

The city of Coronado, California impounded over a hundred Lime bikes in 2018, and the company had to pay $9,300 to recover them in July. [33]

San Francisco, California

In September 2018, Lime sued San Francisco for denying Lime a permit. Lime had been operating in San Francisco without permission and received a cease-and-desist. [34] [35]

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Scooters were initially banned in Milwaukee when Bird Rides Inc. started their scooter business without permission. Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers signed a bill July 11, 2019 regulating scooters. [36] Shortly after the Governor's decision (July 23, 2019) Lime began operating in Milwaukee in a Pilot program, until the city again halted scooter rentals because of complaints about riders riding on sidewalks. Lime wanted to increase its fleet of 500 scooters in the Milwaukee area but they were denied permission. [37]

Cease-and-desist letters

Lime has received cease-and-desist letters from numerous cities, including Reno, [38] San Francisco, [39] Indianapolis, [40] and others.

Vehicle malfunctions

Some of Lime's electric scooters have been recalled due to mechanical failures. In October 2018, Lime recalled a number of its Segway Ninebot scooters after several cases of batteries "smoldering, or in some cases, catching fire". [41]

In November 2018, Lime issued a recall of its Okai-model scooters on reports that the baseboards could "break in half". [42] The recall was issued following internal comments by employees that its scooters were unsafe for public use. [43]

In January 2019, Lime withdrew its scooters from two Swiss locations ( Basel and Zürich) following accidents allegedly caused by brakes automatically activating when the scooters were still in motion. [44]

In February 2019, Lime issued a safety update, announcing that some of its scooters could malfunction and their wheels could "lock up" at high speeds. The company was forced to temporarily withdraw its scooters from circulation in Auckland and Dunedin, New Zealand, after injuries caused by irregular braking incidents. [45] [46] According to Consumer Reports affected Lime scooters had buggy faulty firmware. [47]

References

  1. ^ Kolodny, Lora (March 15, 2017). "LimeBike raises $12 million to roll out bike sharing without kiosks in the US". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  2. ^ Newsom, John (June 1, 2017). "Green machines: New bike share program gets its start at UNCG". News & Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Diaz, Johnny (July 24, 2017). "What are those bright green bikes in Key Biscayne? It's LimeBike, new bike sharing program". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Parrott, Jeff (July 7, 2017). "Bike-sharing company LimeBike is coming to South Bend". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  5. ^ "New bike ride share program to start in South Lake Tahoe Saturday". South Tahoe Now. July 11, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  6. ^ Soper, Taylor (July 27, 2017). "There are now 1,000 bike-share bicycles in Seattle as LimeBike officially launches service". GeekWire. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  7. ^ Carson, Biz (October 16, 2017). "LimeBike Now Valued At $225 Million After Investors Go All In On Bike-Sharing Craze". Forbes. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Robinson, Melia (July 10, 2018). "Uber, Google and top VCs just poured $335 million into scooter startup Lime — here's why one investor thinks it's the future of commuting". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  9. ^ Carson, Biz (September 15, 2017). "With New Fundraising, 9-Month-Old Bike-Sharing Startup Is Said To Be Worth $200 Million". Forbes. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Rose Dickey, Megan (8 January 2018). "LimeBike unveils pedal assist e-bikes". TechCrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  11. ^ Dickey, Megan (February 12, 2018). "Lime bike is also getting into the E-Scooter game". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ Carroll, Rory (25 April 2018). "Are ride-share electric scooters the future of urban transport?". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Shen, Lucinda (November 1, 2018). "Meet Tech's New Bounty Hunters". Fortune (Paper). 178 (5): 23–26.
  14. ^ Levin, Sam (7 June 2018). "Scooters littering city streets shout at people: 'Unlock me or I'll call the police'". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Brustein Bloomberg, Joshua (11 May 2018). "Scooter company Lime is planning to deploy 'transit pods'". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 May 2018.[ permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Lime applies for car-sharing service in Seattle". Puget Sound Business Journal. October 29, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  17. ^ Soper, Taylor (November 29, 2018). "We tested Lime's new car-sharing service, LimePod, that will take on BMW and Daimler in Seattle". GeekWire. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  18. ^ Bond, Shannon (2018-08-26). "Uber gears up for shift to bikes on short trips, CEO expects short-term financial hit". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  19. ^ Holley, Peter (September 4, 2018). "Police: Man dies after apparent electric scooter accident". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-11-12.
  20. ^ Toll, Micah (19 October 2018). "Lime unveils new electric scooter, fuels the e-scooter arms race". electrek. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  21. ^ Clark, Kate (May 24, 2019). "Lime's founding CEO steps down as his co-founder takes control". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  22. ^ Brown, Dalvin (September 4, 2019). "LinkedIn hails these startups as the best, most sought after in 2019". USA Today. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  23. ^ a b McKay, Tom (October 22, 2019). "You Lost How Much on Scooters?". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2019-11-12.
  24. ^ Bonifacic, Igor (2020-01-09). "Lime exits 12 cities and lays off 100 employees in search of profit". Engadget. Retrieved 2020-01-10.
  25. ^ a b Dillet, Romain (7 May 2020). "Uber leads $170M Lime investment, offloads Jump to Lime". TechCrunch. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  26. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J. (2020-03-20). "Electric scooter-sharing grinds to a halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  27. ^ O'Kane, Sean (2020-04-16). "Lime is buying up the remnants of electric skateboard company Boosted". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  28. ^ Mhatre, Amol (September 29, 2019). "The great electric scooter backlash". CBS News. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  29. ^ Catts, Everett (January 16, 2020). "Citing 'profitability' issues with e-scooters, Lime leaving Atlanta". Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  30. ^ Heffernan, Erin (November 6, 2018). "Inside the scooter side hustle: Charging for Lime and Bird is a new cutthroat gig in St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  31. ^ Hendricks, John. "'I couldn't believe it': E-scooters spotted charging at Portland food cart, owner not happy". KPTV.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  32. ^ Holley, Peter (February 11, 2019). "A Lime scooter accident left Ashanti Jordan in a vegetative state. Now her mother is suing on her behalf". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  33. ^ Solis, Gustavo (July 31, 2018). "LimeBike paid $9,300 to pick up its impounded bikes". San Diego Union Tribune.
  34. ^ Thomas, Eric (December 15, 2018). "Lime files appeal; wants scooters back on San Francisco streets". ABC 7 News. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  35. ^ Keeling, Brock (September 19, 2018). "Lime appeals San Francisco's scooter permit exclusion". Curbed. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  36. ^ "Tony Evers signs bill regulating electric scooters". Wisconsin State Journal. Capital Newspapers Inc. Associated Press, State Journal. July 11, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  37. ^ Dirr, Allison (August 7, 2019). "Milwaukee still has brakes on scooter pilot program, but provider says riders want more". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  38. ^ Higdon, Mike (September 19, 2018). "Reno's Lime Scooters gone for now; this isn't the company's first time being shut out". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  39. ^ Bhattacharjee, Riya (April 16, 2018). "'Public Nuisance:' San Francisco Issues Cease and Desist Letter for 'Unlawful' Electric Scooters". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  40. ^ "Lime operation manager reacts to cease-and-desist order from city". WISH-TV. July 6, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  41. ^ Deahl, Dani (October 31, 2018). "Lime removes some Segway Ninebot scooters from fleet amid concerns of battery fires". The Verge. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  42. ^ Liptak, Andrew (November 11, 2018). "Lime issues recall for a scooter model after reports that they can break apart". The Verge. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  43. ^ Holley, Peter (November 10, 2018). "Lime issues global recall of one of its electric scooter models amid fears that it can break apart in use". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  44. ^ "Lime e-scooters pulled from Zurich and Basel after accidents". The Local. January 9, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  45. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge (February 21, 2019). "Auckland threatens to eject Lime scooters after wheels lock at high speed". The Guardian Weekly. Dunedin. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  46. ^ "Lime scooters suspended temporarily due to safety issues". The New Zealand Herald. June 11, 2019. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  47. ^ Felton, Ryan. "Brake Problems in Lime Electric Scooters Are Causing Accidents and Injuries". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 2020-11-22.

External links