Scooters Are Here (But Where Are They Headed?)

With the announcement of Bird’s recent $300mm fundraising round, I wanted to share some quick thoughts on my outlook for the market.

Is it winner take all? I don’t think so. With scooters, there are weaker network effects than there are with ride sharing (due to lack of drivers) which makes the bar to entry lower. I believe that the market will move towards winner take all eventually when someone cracks the holy grail of multi-model travel as Uber is envisioning with its transportation-as-a-service view of the future. But that will take a long time.

My guess: Two or three players will operate in cities worldwide along with smaller players that operate within their region (EMEA / Asia Pacific / Lat Am) will have the largest market shares in their cities. The market in a single city will likely be an oligopoly with 2-3 companies total due to regulation to reduce congestion.

Regional players can move much more quickly within certain markets and capture large market share quickly because of concentrated focus / resources. The market is smaller, but they will be content with leading in a region. Meanwhile, the worldwide players may not be able to move as quickly but the addressable market is much bigger and may benefit from distribution / global network effects (Uber planning to promote Lime in its app).

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