Uber has recently announced its investment in electric scooter rental company Lime following a $335 million financing round. The round was led by Alphabet Inc.’s venture capital firm Google Ventures (GV), valuing the scooter rental startup at $1.1 billion.
While the partnership is currently being finalized, Uber is initiating plans to promote Lime scooters on its mobile application. Uber had previously built a similar partnership with Jump Bikes, a startup that rents electric bicycles, before acquiring the company for $100 million last April.
Lime scooters are currently available in more than 70 locations across the United States and Europe. The funds from this partnership stand to go toward purchasing tens of thousands more lightweight electric scooters in an effort to continuing the company’s rapid expansion. The new scooters, which are currently manufactured in China, will soon contain Uber’s logo.
There is currently speculation regarding scooters landing on a list of potential Chinese tariffs, though Brad Bao of Tencent Holdings has stated in an interview with Bloomberg that Lime may not be involved in the potential trade war due to the company’s investment in custom vehicles, as opposed to ones purchased directly off the shelf.
Uber’s partnership with Lime does not preclude them from entering into the scooter business themselves, as the company had previously filed an application in San Francisco to introduce their own services.
Although electric scooters have been a point of contingency throughout cities, with regulators writing new forms of laws to guide the mode of transportation and residents stating that riders don’t often follow the laws of the road when utilizing them, the venture capital world has proved to be a worthy partner in the phenomenon, which shows no signs of slowing down growth.