Within the last two years green bikes and scooters colored up the streets in many cities around the world. Those are all of Lime. The California-based transportation rental startup started it all in America. Yet, it has a deep Chinese root.
Toby Sun and Brad Bao, both originally Chinese, founded the company in 2017. Sun is a native Shenzen and the company’s first investor is Thomas Yao. Yao is a Shanghai native co-founder of IMO Ventures, China.
Moreover, the dockless bike and scooter share actually started in China. But it failed in entering other market. Just to get it’s idea used by other companies. Including Lime.
The company has raised a total of $765 M funding through five funding rounds since March 2017. In the most recent round in February 2019, the company raised $ 70 M led by Bain Capital Ventures. Now, it has more than $2.4 billion in valuation, branding it as another unicorn startup.
Lime: How it started
Lime started as LimeBike, offering rental bicycle to college students within their campus. The first one is in University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with 125 bicycles available.
After a partnership with Segway in 2018, it changed to Lime, along with the productions of new electric scooters. In the same year, it also stroke a deal with Uber to provide Uber with electric bikes.
Being successful within campuses, Lime expanded to big cities around Florida, Indiana, California and Washington in July 2017. Now, it is available in hundreds cities across United States.
Apart from the United States, the company has its services available in 21 other countries. Most are in Europe, North and South America, and Australia. In addition, it is also available in four cities of Israel. In total, it has more than 50 million scooter rides.
Recently, Lime announced some changes within its organizational structure. The co-founder and CEO, Toby Sun stepped down. He decided to work on Lime’s future at the RnD. And Brad Bao, the other co-founder overtook the CEO spot. While the company is promoting COO Joe Kraous for Bao’s previous president seat.