Bike sharing has taken a turn in the U.S ., following trends in China. The new mode is dockless, where companies distribute bikes around a city or campus to be rented per trip instead of dispensing them from one station. Thebikes are tracked via GPS, and can be located by consumers, paid for and unlocked applying their smartphones. Best of all, when riders are done with one of these bikes, they can park them anywhere thats convenient( and legal ).
As TechCrunch has previously reported, venture investors are running money into startups trying to make dockless bike sharing a success domestically. These firms are facing fragmented regulations and rivalry from better-funded Chinese players coming to Northern america, as well as incumbents likeMotivate Co ., the kiosk-based bike-sharing corporation that has locked up agreements with cities across the country.
The latest to score a round of funding is Spin( incorporated as Skinny Labs Inc .), a San Francisco startup founded by veterans of the tech scene: CEO Derrick Ko, chairwoman Euwyn Poon and CTO Zaizhuang Cheng. Spin simply closed an$ 8 million Series A round of venture funding is presided over by Grishin Robotics ,~ ATAGEND and joined by Exponent.VC, CRCM and angel investors Matt Brezina and Charlie Cheever.
Euwyn Poon mentioned now that it has locked in a Series A round, Spin will ramp up hiring and embark on negotiationswith different boroughs to bring itsbike-sharing service across the country without ruffling feathers.
Dockless bike-sharing companies have stirred panics that bikes will clutter the sidewalks, posing a peril to pedestrians and creating an eyesore. To keep their corporation in good stand with regulators and cities, Spin has enlisted Molly Turner, the founder of Airbnbs policy team, as an advisor.
Grishin Robotics founder Dmitry Grishin said he belief cities will want to have Spins bikes around because of theirpotential to reduce pollution and traffic and increase consumers fitness.The investor mentioned, It has astounded me that ride-hailing apps have not significantly reduced traffic jams in places like San Francisco. Traffic is getting worse all the time. We need to add more systematic ways to solve short distance travel. Making bikes more accessible in cities will help. Its very good for passengers, but also tourists. So its a huge market opportunity.
Spinscompetition includes several other funded startups here. Social Bicycles, the first to offer kiosk-free bike sharing in the U.S ., has raised$ 7 million, and has already reached profitability. Another early bike-share musician, Zagster, closed a $10 million Series B round that it announced in January. And earlier this spring, LimeBike closed a $12 million Series A round is presided over by Andreessen Horowitz.
Derrick Ko, a former Lyft product manager, mentioned Spin will differentiate its offering with bikes that are comfortable to ride and self-locking, and an easy-to-use app. While Spin allows users to pay with Apple Pay and Android Pay, or by inputting their credit card info into the companys app today, the startup will look to integrate other pay technologies down the line.
Spin CTO Zaizhuang Cheng mentioned, One of our goals is to bring equitable bike sharing to all the communities who may not have credit cards and smartphones. We have realized examples of this in Taiwan. They make it easy for someone to take a train, and when they get off, continues its travel on a bike.( It could demonstrate convenient to be able to pay for abike with the same card you used for the metro .)
Spinwill roll out bikes in Seattle this June, the co-founders mentioned. But they did not disclose how many bikes they would dispatch in that market, or other cities where they plan to operate this year.
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