Wheels layoffs at electric bike startup
The Verge was informed that Wheels is a Los Angeles-based startup that rents electric bicycles in more than a dozen cities and is currently cutting jobs by 6%. The company is the latest microcar company and aims to find a profitable business model to lay off employees.
Wheels was founded in early 2019 by brothers Jonathan and Joshua Viner. They also created the popular dog app Wag. Since its launch, Wheels has expanded to San Diego, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Scottsdale, Cleveland, Chicago, Tallahassee, Texas A&M, Orlando and Salt Lake City, and Stockholm, Sweden.
Its electric car is somewhere between a bicycle and a scooter, with no pedals, seats, small and thick wheels, and a unique frame. Since then, the company has raised nearly $100 million in venture capital to fund the expansion of its rental electric bike service. Its latest round was in October last year, led by Tesla’s early investor DBL Partners.
But, like other scooter and bike companies, Wheels is not immune to the financial roller coaster in the seatless bike and scooter market. A company spokesperson confirmed in an email that the company’s founders informed employees at a staff meeting on February 24 that about 6% of companies that would lay off more than 300 people, or about 20 people.
A Wyeth spokesperson said: "Although this action only affects a small part of the company, it provides us with the best chance of success as we continue to grow and develop."
In addition, well-informed sources said that the company will close operations in three cities: Cleveland, Salt Lake City and Chicago. The company expressed doubts. According to the spokesperson, Wheels began deploying a small number of electric bikes in Salt Lake City in the past few weeks with a view to starting larger operations after the upcoming RFP process. In Cleveland, Wheelers temporarily suspended operations during the coldest winter, but plans to redeploy soon. In Chicago, where electric scooter drivers have just finished, Wheels is applying for a permit.
Most of the layoffs come from the company's operations team, and the other layoffs come from departments that focus on asset recovery, supply chain and recruitment. The founder explained that Wheel Wheels will focus on expansion in Europe rather than the United States, and has just acquired a startup called Mygo in Madrid, Spain, with the goal of doing business in other European cities. The operations team is responsible for expanding into new cities, finding warehouses, and hiring and training employees. It was previously told that they would conduct business in at least three or four cities in the United States each month. Now they were told that the plan was put on hold.
The spokesman said Whistle still plans to develop in the United States. "In the next few months, we are planning the same rapid expansion in the United States, and we will continue to regularly develop new markets in the United States (we have just launched Orlando and Tempe in the past few weeks, and there are many new markets Rise), and throughout Europe, we will launch many new markets in the near future." He said in an email.
Other micro-transport providers announced layoffs in recent months. Major operators such as Bird, Lime, Uber and Lyft have laid off employees, dragged bicycles and scooters on city streets, and withdrew from the market because of their focus on making their business profitable. Even with the introduction of a stronger and more durable scooter, it did not reverse the inflow of more capital than inflow.