Lime has sought to become a one-stop shop by adding Wheels sharing e-bikes to its app
The next time you open Lime's smartphone app, you might see a new type of non-electric scooter.
The SAN Francisco-based company today announced that it has integrated Wheels, a Shared e-bike startup, into its app so that customers can rent an e-bike from Lime's scooter as easily as they could from a Lime scooter.
Lime plans to add more ride-sharing services to its app in the coming months as it hopes to become both a provider and a platform for all two-wheeled electric transport."The ultimate goal is to have" all light electric vehicle travel under five miles, "a spokesman said.This is an ambitious challenge, especially given that e-bike and scooter companies are still struggling to turn a profit as COVID-19 has upturned global supply chains and transport sectors.
Beginning this winter, Lime's app will offer Wheels' e-bikes in four cities: Austin, Miami, Seattle and Berlin.To hire the Wheels, Lime customers scan the QR codes on the handlebars like scooters.
Nearby vehicles will be automatically displayed on the map along with pricing information.Wheels vehicles will also continue to be used on the Wheels app.
Wheels, a Los Angeles-based start-up, rents e-bikes in a dozen cities.Its electric car is a cross between a bicycle and a scooter, with no pedals, seats, small, thick wheels and a distinctive low-pedal frame.Since its inception in 2019, the company has raised nearly $100 million in venture capital to fund the expansion of its electric-bike rental service.Its latest round, in October, was led by DBL Partners, an early Tesla investor.The company went through a round of layoffs in February, losing its vice President of operations.
A partnership is not a prelude to an acquisition, Lime says.The company says Lime can provide convenience and reliability to its customers by bringing other companies into its applications.The idea is to extend Lime's user base and retain existing customers by providing more options and less application switching.On the business side, the company says it is not accepting any acquisitions at this time.
The Wheels won't be the first e-bike from Lime apps.Lime started out as a bike-sharing company called LimeBike and switched to scooters in 2018.That same year, Uber invested more than $300 million in Lime, including integrating Lime's scooter into Uber's app.Earlier this year, during the CoVID-19 pandemic, Uber sold its loss-making bike-sharing unit Jump to Lime for $170m in investment.Then Uber wrote off tens of thousands of bright red Jump bikes;Since May, the rest of the bikes have been appearing in Lime's app.