Bird Acquires European e-Scooter Company Circ, Raises $75 Million More
Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior reporter, covering venture capital. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks. Follow him on Twitter.
Continuing its recent acquisition strategy, Santa Monica-based Bird announced Monday it has acquired Berlin based Circ, the leading shared e-scooter company in Europe and the Middle East. With the deal, Bird will add 300 employees to its operations.
"I founded Bird nearly three years ago because we need to change the status quo and take a transformative stance to combat the traffic and pollution that affect our cities and endanger people globally," Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird said in a statement. "To further advance our mission, we're excited to acquire Circ which is the clear European leader. We like their laser focus."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, which comes on the heels of last year's purchase of west coast rival Scoot for a reported $25 million.
The scooter business has scaled up quickly, with Circ only founded in 2018 and Bird in 2017. Circ boasts operations spanning 43 cities in 12 countries. In November, TechCrunch reported the company laid off employees, which the founder attributed to "operational learnings." (Bird also went through layoffs last spring.)
Bird also announced Monday that it has raised an additional $75 million in capital after increasing its Series D round to $350 million. The round was led by CDPQ and Sequoia Capital.
It is a good sign for a company that has reportedly been burning through cash.
In July, The Information reported that in the first quarter of last year -- during the slow winter months -- the electric scooter operator lost nearly $100 million while revenue dipped to about $15 million. Sources said Bird was down to just $100 million in cash after raising more than $700 million a year and a half before.
Bird is currently valued at $2.7 billion, according to Pitchbook data, and the company has been trying to sell investors on what it describes as a more prudent business model.
"Investors today are looking for financially disciplined companies with a clear path to profitability," said VanderZander. "More than 12 months ago we shifted our focus from growth to profitability which put us in a position to deliver the strongest unit economics and longest-lasting custom-designed vehicles of any micro-mobility company today."
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Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.
It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.
Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.
As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?
My distractingly sweet dog, Seamus.
Photo by Tami Abdollah
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Triller executive chairman Bobby Sarnevesht.
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