- Mobility company Lime has announced a partnership with Uber through which Lime's dockless scooters will appear as transportation options on Uber's app. The scooters now will now be co-branded and sport Uber's logo in addition to Lime's.
- Uber also will invest an undisclosed amount of money in Lime as part of a $335 million round of financing, as will Google parent company Alphabet and Alphabet's GV venture arm.
- Uber launched a similar partnership to display bike- and scooter-share company Jump's devices on its app earlier this year, and Uber acquired the company in April for $100 million.
Although Uber's addition of Lime to its app has boosted its exposure as an investor, Alphabet actually contributed the greatest amount of funding this round. Alphabet also is an Uber investor, but the companies have had a contentious relationship that resulted in a high-profile legal battle. Uber and Alphabet-owned Waymo went to court over claims of autonomous vehicle (AV) trade secrets theft; the trial ended after four days when the companies settled.
Uber isn't forgetting about Jump with the new Lime partnership. It still plans to expand the markets in which the pedal-assist dockless bikes are offered. In fact, just last week it brought the e-bikes to Chicago and Austin, TX.
Last week Uber's main competitor, Lyft, acquired bike-share company Motivate, which operates bike-share programs in a number of large cities including New York and Chicago. The move appears to be a blossoming trend in which companies that provide different modes of mobility collaborate to create a larger, multi-modal company. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has even said as much, alluding to future expansion into other urban transportation such as public transit. TechCrunch has reported that both Uber and Lyft are in acquisition talks with bus-share startup Skedaddle.
Despite dockless vehicle companies' ongoing skirmishes with some municipalities over regulations and dockless vehicle littering, the businesses have gained a lot of traction in their short year in domestic operation. This latest investment round that bumped Lime to unicorn status indicates that the dockless vehicle boom isn't going anywhere, at least not for a while.