A startup in the West Coast scooter sharing craze is already worth $1 billion — here’s what it’s like to ride a Bird scooter

Electric scooter startup Bird is riding high these days.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Bird is raising $150 million in a Series C funding round led by Sequoia Capital, which will value the company at $1 billion.

The company has worked aggressively to cover the streets and sidewalks of San Francisco, as well as other US cities, with motorized vehicles that are like Razor scooters for grown-ups. People can reserve a local scooter from a smartphone app, ride for a small fee, and leave the scooter anywhere at the end of a journey.

Led by a former Uber and Lyft executive, Bird has previously raised $115 million to expand nationwide. But the company’s rise to success hasn’t been without speed bumps. Starting on June 4, San Francisco will ban scooters from companies including Bird, Spin, and Lime, unless the companies operating the vehicles have a permit.

I pass at least a dozen electric scooters on the streets of San Francisco on my daily commute, so I recently rented an electric scooter from Bird to try it for myself.

Here’s what it was like to rent and try the Bird electric scooter:


The Bird has landed in San Francisco, and people have very mixed feelings about it.

“A few weeks ago, I had not noticed any electric scooters in SF. Now you can’t exit a building without tripping over one,” M.G. Siegler, a general partner at Google Ventures, tweeted in April.

It’s true. Starting in March, three startups — Bird, Lime, Spin — rolled out hundreds of motorized scooter rentals in downtown San Francisco in the span of a few weeks. Now they’re everywhere.

Some people have commended the scooter startups for giving people a cheap, easy way to get around while reducing their reliance on cars and easing congestion on public transit.

Others are annoyed. The proliferation of scooters has created crowding on city sidewalks, because the vehicles don’t use docking stations like some electric-bike-sharing startups.

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