Uber’s recent acquisition of Jump might be just the tipping point of the company buying other e-scooter startups. The cab-hailing service seems to buy other e-scooter sharing services Bird and Lime. Several rumors suggest Uber has been in talks to acquire the two companies for some time now.
Both Lime and Bird are the two biggest e-scooter sharing companies currently on the market. Uber will be accelerating the launch of its own scooter service by buying the companies. Uber will just be bringing in more cash if it successfully manages to acquire Lime or Bird.
It will expand its services from taxis, delivery vehicles, and bikes to scooters. Uber can clearly afford to buy the e-scooter market because its still in its infancy. Many e-scooter rental service providers are still gathering funds.
So the timing is in favor of Uber. The rumors of this acquisition interest were reported to The Information. These, of course, are just rumors, and the deal might all be just a big hoax or clever marketing by all the parties involved.
But if the rumors are true and a deal was truly happening, it might happen before the year is even over. Every party involved is acting hush-hush about the whole situation. Uber and Lime both have failed to comment.
A spokesperson from Bird hasn’t said if Uber had talked with Bird. Bird’s chief Travis VanderZanden said Bird was not for sale. This might be true, but it is only a matter of time before either Bird or Lime settles on a price.
Uber, after all, has the means to make an offer too good to refuse. Lyft has already started its e-scooter rental service. Even though its still looking to expand, it is on the right trajectory. Lyft has bought Citi Bike operator Motivate. This makes Lyft the largest bike-sharing network in the US.
This should serve as enough motivation for Uber to follow a similar path. It will be good for the company to offer its services beyond just cars. It will mean more options for the customers, and more options mean a potential for new clients.
Uber will have a few hurdles in its way, even if the company does acquire any of the e-scooter sharing startups. E-scooters are still quite a niche market, so Uber will need to market this service carefully and precisely.
It will need to do a thorough analysis of the market and seek individuals who can be potential customers and future users of the service. Then there is the safety concern about the e-scooters itself.
There have been many e-scooter deaths this year. Uber will need to ensure passenger safety first to avoid the mistakes of its competitors. If Uber can guarantee this and win over traffic and safety regulatory parties, the company will become truly unstoppable.
Uber should certainly be careful though, as it has a lot of its own issues to deal with in the past. Lawsuits involving passengers’ privacy have haunted the company. Hopefully, the company turns a new leaf by making this deal work.