Uber-Backed Lime Announces $55 Million Expansion Amidst Industry Turbulence

lime e bike

lime e bike

by | Apr 10, 2024

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Lime, the San Francisco-based operator of a shared electric bike and scooter network, is gearing up for a substantial expansion, investing over $55 million this year to bolster its global fleet. Backed by Uber Technologies Inc., Lime is pushing forward despite the challenges its industry peers face.

CEO Wayne Ting revealed plans to introduce more than 30,000 new bikes across North America, Europe, and Australia, concurrently phasing out aging models. Ting also disclosed intentions to re-enter markets such as Greece and Mexico, which had previously exited due to the pandemic, while exploring new revenue streams like advertising deals and introducing a novel vehicle type to its shared fleet.

The company’s financials tell a compelling story of growth. Lime reported a 32% surge in gross bookings in 2023 compared to the previous year, reaching a record-breaking $616 million. Additionally, its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization soared by over 500%, surpassing $90 million.

Challenges in the E-Bike Market

This expansion comes at a time when many competitors in the US are struggling to survive. Bird Global Inc. recently declared bankruptcy, while Superpedestrian is contemplating the sale of its European business amidst the closure of its US operations. Lyft Inc., owner of Citi Bike since 2018, is exploring strategic partnerships or potential divestment of its bike-share business.

Despite these challenges, Ting remains optimistic about Lime’s trajectory. He notes that the company is at an inflection point, poised for scalable growth without substantial additional investments in research and development. With Uber’s support, Lime received a significant boost in 2020, enabling it to weather the storm of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Global Expansion of Lime

Currently valued at around $510 million, Lime derives about 60% of its revenue from international markets, particularly in cities with bike-friendly infrastructures. Major markets include Sydney, Rome, Seattle, London, Milan, and Paris, which recently expanded its e-bike fleet ahead of the summer Olympic Games.

Looking ahead, Lime is strategically positioning itself for a potential initial public offering (IPO). While IPO plans were initially floated in 2021, market conditions necessitated a reevaluation. However, with its expansion plans and strong financial performance, Lime appears poised for continued success in the burgeoning shared mobility sector.

E-Bike Market

As electric vehicle tax credits and governmental initiatives focus on expanding charging infrastructure, the less-discussed yet burgeoning segment of electric mobility—e-bikes—is quietly gaining traction in the United States. With an anticipated annual growth rate of over 15% from 2023 to 2030, the nearly $2 billion US e-bike industry is capturing attention. Bill Klehm, CEO of eBliss Global, attributes this surge to shifting consumer preferences towards affordable and clean transportation alternatives amid rising vehicle costs.

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