The shared e-scooter supplier Lime is withdrawing from twelve cities due to lack of profitability. In the USA these include Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio, in Latin America Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Lima, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and the Austrian city of Linz in Europe.
The San Francisco-based micro-mobility company announced as much in a press release. It reads as follows: “While the vast majority of our 120+ markets have adopted micro mobility transportation solutions quickly and are profitable, there are select communities throughout the world where micromobility has evolved more slowly. For this reason, we have made the difficult decision to close 12 markets across the globe at this time.”
The background is that Lime is moving away from its aggressive growth strategy in favour of gearing towards higher profits. The BBC quotes Brad Bao, Lime Chief Executive and co-founder, as saying that financial independence is the goal for 2020. He added that they held a positive outlook on financial matters: “We are confident that Lime will be the first next-generation mobility company to reach profitability.” Meanwhile, the withdrawal from the cities mentioned above is not without job losses. According to the BBC, a spokesperson for Lime said that 14 per cent of the workforce would be laid off.
At the beginning of 2019, Lime had already withdrawn 550 electric kick scooters from Zurich and Basel. In Switzerland, the company cited technical problems as the reason. There were several accidents in which the front brake suddenly locked at full speed due to a software error.
With regard to Germany, Lime, on the other hand, reported in September 2019 that it was no longer making losses in its core business. In other words, just half a year after the market launch. In some cities, the break-even point had not yet been reached at this point, but according to the Americans, the more successful locations compensated for this.
Lime is backed by data and technology companies such as Uber and the venture capital firm GV, formerly known as Google Ventures. Only a few months ago, Lime and Uber expanded their cooperation. Since then, Prague, Warsaw and Stockholm have become the first European markets to have direct access to Lime’s electric kick scooters via the Uber app.
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