All members of the scooter startup trifecta may pull in fresh venture capital in 2018.
Axios has reported that Lime is looking to raise up to $500 million in what could be a combination of debt and equity. The final terms of the deal are subject to change as the startup is reportedly still negotiating with prospective investors.
We asked Lime late last week about a potential upcoming funding. A spokesperson said the company declined to comment on rumors and speculation. We reached out again Tuesday and are waiting for a response.
Founded in 2017, the dockless bike and electric scooter provider topped off its Series B with a fresh $70 million at a $260 million valuation just three months ago. That brought the company's total equity funding to $132 million, per PitchBook data. Coatue Management led the Series B for the San Mateo, CA-based startup, with participation from DCM Ventures, GGV Capital, Section 32, AME Cloud Ventures and basketball star Kevin Durant's The Durant Company.
Meanwhile, a source with knowledge of the situation told PitchBook on Tuesday that Spin, a competitor to Lime that also provides dockless scooters and bicycles, has "multiple offers on the table worth tens of millions." Spin needs an injection of capital if it wants to compete with Lime and Bird, the third member of the scooter trifecta. To date, it has raised just $8 million via a Series A led by Grishin Robotics last May. Spin is valued at $43.2 million.
Bird, for its part, raised $100 million at a $400 million valuation in March. It's backed by Valor Equity Partners and Index Ventures, among others.
News of Lime's attempt to raise fresh funds comes as the company continues to launch fleets of electric scooters, called Lime-S, in cities across the US. The company launched its electric scooter service in Honolulu within the last week, though several of the scooters have already been confiscated by the city. Lime didn't have the proper permission, per reports, with Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell telling Hawaii News Now the scooters appeared after he asked Lime not to deploy their fleet in the coastal city.
The scooter wars are ongoing, particularly because it's still the wild west when it comes to regulating electric scooters and bikes. It's going to be quite a fight for Lime, Spin and Bird as they each seek a majority foothold in a hot market.