Riding Into The Micromobility Revolution: Why We Invested In Lime

Sarah Smith
Feb 6, 2019 · 4 min read

Today my colleagues at Bain Capital Ventures and I are incredibly proud to back Lime and its exceptional management team as they revolutionize mobility on a global scale.

Like many Gen Xers, I grew up riding my bike around my neighborhood and taking a bus to school. In college, I spent a year in Budapest and eagerly mapped out my routes in the well-functioning public transit systems. My badge at Facebook boasted “Loves Public Transportation.”

While some people geek out over the newest iPhone, I geek out over new ways to get around. Even though it’s possible to stitch together many public and private modes of transportation, it’s long been obvious that the “last mile” has been underserved.

Solving the last-mile problem

The truth of the matter is that cities today aren’t built for people. Public transport can’t take you exactly where you need to go and often isn’t reliable — consider that commuters wait, on average, 40 mins per day for public transit. Car commuting and ridesharing are often frustrating, expensive and taxing on the environment. And walking or biking isn’t always the quickest, safest or most convenient. Yet, better alternatives haven’t existed or been practical.

As cities worldwide face growing populations, traffic congestion and pollution, micromobility solutions have quickly emerged as a game-changing, convenient and environmentally-friendly alternative for the first and last mile.

Specifically, dockless electric scooters have demonstrated a nearly vertical demand curve in consumer adoption, offering a fun, reliable, affordable and faster way to go from point A to B. Consumers have become more comfortable sharing assets (think Airbnb, Rent the Runway, WeWork), increasingly conscientious about the environment and accustomed to pulling out their mobile devices to order a ride. The convergence of these trends means that demand is only growing, representing an enormous opportunity for micromobility today.

And Lime is at the forefront of this revolution.

The necessary elements to win…big

Micromobility businesses are incredibly complex to operate and ultimately very few players will be able to do so at scale. To succeed, these businesses require expertise in operations, data science, software, hardware, supply chain, regulatory affairs and more. We believe Lime has the most mature organization in each of these areas.

More specifically, the Lime founding team has the operational and cross-border supply chain background to win. As one of the first movers, Lime continues to aggregate valuable usage data that enables the business to best optimize its fleet management, ensuring that scooters are placed where users most need them.

Lime is dedicated to manufacturing increasingly durable and safer scooters that are of fleet-quality. The company has custom hardware capabilities and works with top-tier manufacturing partners to design, quality control and procure the best hardware for its users — a clear point of differentiation for the company.

Lastly, Lime has taken far more safety and regulatory measures than many of its peers. Lime is doubling down on leading safety initiatives in local markets. And the team has invested significant resources in building a government relations team, which collaborates constructively with the regulators — with the end goal of putting the safety and convenience of its constituents first.

In response to constituent demand, many city authorities are working hard to develop the appropriate regulations for this new modality. Our belief is that ultimately most cities will adopt a dynamic capping system as the best method for managing the optimal supply of vehicles to meet their constituents’ needs. This enables providers to increase supply as long as utilization targets are achieved.

Increasingly we are convinced that cities will want to offer choice to riders and select vendor partners who are transparent with their utilization data and operate a safe and reliable fleet. Lime is extremely well-poised to deliver.

Unprecedented adoption and growth

Thanks to its winning team and nimble, collaborative approach, Lime has been able to scale to more than 100 cities in the past 18 months. Ten million people globally have signed up and more than 34 million trips have been taken on a Lime vehicle. Approximately 20 percent of rides start or end at a public transit center and 40 percent of all Lime riders report commuting to or from work or school during their most recent trip.

All in all, a truly diverse set of consumers has adopted scooters as a reliable form of transportation and this need is only mounting. We are thrilled to invest in a market leader in such a transformative industry. And we are grateful to the entire Lime team for including us on their exciting journey.

My colleagues Ece Erdagoz and Kevin Zhang helped me put these thoughts together

Ideas from Bain Capital Ventures

Ideas and perspectives from the Bain Capital Ventures team.

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