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Lyft Invests $100M in Other On-Demand Transportation Venture

By: Lauren Hannula December 12, 2018
Lyft has acquired bike share company Motivate, the parent company of NYC-based Citi Bike, following similar moves from Uber, General Motors, and Ford.
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They say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em; Lyft is taking that invitation to heart.

The company known for rideshares is getting into the bike share business after purchasing Citi Bike parent company Motivate to the tune of a reported $250 million.

For all that cold hard cash, the app-based enterprise will get plenty of riding options. New York City-based Citi Bike is the largest bike-share system in the nation, counting more than 12,000 cycles in its roster. And Motivate has similar operations in Chicago, San Francisco, and a number of other U.S. cities.

Still, Lyft plans to expand on that dominance even more with an additional $100 million investment in the company. The funding would work to more than triple the size of the NYC fleet—to 40,000 bikes—and double the size of Citi Bike’s service area—to 35 square miles—in the next 5 years.

The move puts Lyft in league with a number of other mobility-based companies looking to cash in on the 2-wheeled trend. Back in April, Uber acquired the bike-sharing start-up JUMP for a reported price of close to $200 million. General Motors recently made public plans to launch an e-bike venture in 2019. And just last month, Ford announced it was purchasing electric scooter company Spin at a rumored cost of $100 million, with an overall investment totaling $200 million.

The corporate dalliances with other transportation may point to a larger affair the nation is having with expanded ride options, a phenomenon which has developed its own name: micromobility.

The rise of sharable bikes—and especially scooters—has been astronomical this year, with new fleets sweeping across the country and quickly expanding to numbers so large that cities can barely keep track of the rides, let alone keep tabs on their use.

But such booming popularity poses a threat to the auto-based options. Rideshare companies in China, where dockless scooters were first introduced, have reportedly already seen the proliferation of the bikes and scooters eat into their short-distance profits.

With the recent rounds of heavy investments in the states, it seems car-centric companies here may be thinking more long-term—and attempting to solve their own last-mile problems.

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