LimeBike pedals to $70 million additional funding

LimeBike just keeps piling on the millions. The dockless bike-sharing startup announced today that it has raised an additional $70 million from Fifth Wall Ventures and Rainbow Technology. This is an extension of the $50 million Series B round the startup announced last October.

Since launching in March 2017, LimeBike has rounded up a total of $132 million, which seems a little extreme considering that, well, they’re just bikes. Cofounder and CEO Toby Sun had this to say:

“Yes, bike-sharing is a capital-intensive business … We design everything in-house and work with the best manufacturers in the world. We do not do off-the-shelf products. You may have already noticed, but some players in the bike-share industry will not make it because of a lack of funding and operational excellence.”

And $132 million pales in comparison to other rounds, especially when it comes to Chinese competitors like Mobike, which raised $600 million last June, or Ofo, which secured a whopping $700 million last July.

LimeBike’s biggest competitor, however, seems to be New York City-based Jump Bikes, which recently closed a $10 million round. In an interesting turn of events, the startup received an exclusive permit from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) in early January to launch 250 dockless ebikes — effectively blocking other bike-sharing startups (including LimeBike) from receiving such a permit for the next 18 months.

Sun has been contesting the decision since it was announced.

“There was recently a special hearing led by Supervisor Malia Cohen, who was very concerned about the lack of transparency on the bidding process and how many community members, including the Board of Supervisors, were blindsided by the agency’s decision as well. More actions from the City will follow … All we are asking from SFMTA is for fairness and transparency.”

Product-wise, both startups are banking on electric bikes. LimeBike just added motorized bikes to its dockless fleet.

Choosing Fifth Wall Ventures to lead today’s round was a smart move on LimeBike’s part. The real estate-focused VC firm, which closed its first fund last May, will help support the startup’s strategic partnerships with commercial real estate owners, according to a statement.

In addition to tapping into the real estate market, LimeBike will use the fresh injection of capital to improve its mobile application and expand aggressively. The startup is present in more than 45 markets across the U.S. and Europe (Switzerland and Germany).

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