Shared electric scooter rides accounted for 45.8% of all micromobility trips in 2018

Shared electric scooters are close to overtaking bike-sharing, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials. In 2018, of the 84 million micromobility trips taken, 38.5 million of those were on scooters.

The other 45.5 million trips were on bikes — either ones from station-based bike-shares or dockless shared bikes. Rides on station-based bikes accounted for 36.5 million trips, an increase of nine percent from 2017. Compared to the year prior, more than twice as many trips were taken on micromobility services.

“Managing the many new shared vehicle types on city streets is a challenge,” NACTO Director of Strategy Kate Fillin-Yeh said in a statement. “The data cities receive from vendors can be spotty, complicating efforts to regulate systems or make good policies. Much of the equipment is new and largely untested at scale, and the market is changing rapidly, with an uncertain financial outlook. The most successful shared micromobility systems have been planned hand-in-hand with cities, and we’re excited to help cities create and support transportation options that shift more trips to sustainable, safe modes.”

While station-based bikes saw more usage than the year before, NACTO says electric scooters have likely been the driving factor for the decrease in usage of dockless bikes. Dockless bikes “have largely disappeared from city streets, with the notable exception of dockless bikes still in use in Seattle,” Nacto writes. That’s partly why NACTO predicts dockless bike rides will continue to decrease in 2019.

That’s great news for Lyft, which acquired CitiBike and Ford GoBike provider Motivate last year. That’s not great of news for Uber, which acquired dockless bike-share startup JUMP early last year.

Lyft adds Citi Bikes to its app for NYC riders

Lyft is going to integrate Citi Bike into its app for some riders in New York City. Lyft acquired bike-share startup Motivate back in July and proceeded to become a one-stop transportation app in three cities in December. Now, it’s ready to do the same in New York.

Beginning early next month, Lyft customers in NYC will be able to unlock CitiBikes through the Lyft app. Lyft says it picked New York as its fourth location after Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Calif. because Citi Bike is one of the most popular bikeshare systems. To date, Citi Bike has logged more than 75 million rides with a fleet of more than 12,000 bikes.

Before, riders needed a special Citi Bike account but with the Lyft integration, that will no longer be necessary. The caveat is that this is only available for riders who are new to Citi Bike. Those with pre-existing accounts won’t be able to link their accounts to use the Lyft app to unlock bikes just yet. But Lyft says it’s coming over the next few months.

It’s worth noting, however, that Lyft had to pull CitiBike’s pedal-assist bikes off the road this past weekend after receiving reports from some riders that the brakes were too strong, resulting in some people falling off the bikes. Lyft also pulled its pedal assist bikes from San Francisco and Washington D.C.

“After a small number of reports and out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively pausing our electric bikes from service,” Lyft spokesperson Julie Wood said in a statement to TechCrunch. “Safety always comes first.”

It’s not clear when the pedal-assist bikes will return to the CitiBike, Ford GoBike and Capital Bikeshare fleets. Motivate first deployed pedal assist bikes in San Francisco about one year ago before more broadly deploying the bikes. Currently, Lyft is working with its suppliers and a third-party engineering firm to determine the root cause of the issue. The recall affects about 15 percent of the bikes available, but Lyft plans to temporarily replace the pedal-assist bikes with classic bikes. Meanwhile, Lyft is working on its own electric bike model that it will deploy in the near future.

Since acquiring Motivate, Lyft has expanded to additional neighborhoods outside of Manhattan and agreed to put $100 million into the Citi Bike system. Over the next five years, Lyft plans to triple the number of bikes to 40,000.

Lyft competitor Uber added bikes and scooters to its app last September with the launch of Mode Switch. The idea was to make it easier for people to switch between different modalities.

Skip is way more popular than Scoot in San Francisco

San Francisco has hit the mid-point for its one-year electric scooter pilot program. In a slide deck to be presented at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors meeting tomorrow, the SFMTA reports that there were 242,398 electric scooter trips between October 2018 and February 2019.

What especially jumps out is the fact that Skip accounted for 90 percent of all rides. It seems that’s a result of consistently having more scooter availability than its rival, Scoot .

On the flip side, Skip’s high number of devices and 218,000 trips made resulted in 34 collisions — 18 of which caused injuries. Scoot riders experienced zero reported collisions.

Some of the promises related to electric scooter usage have touched on fewer car trips and better access to transportation for people in low-income areas. The SFMTA says 42 percent of scooter trips replaced car trips, while just 0.5 percent of Scoot trips and 0.3 percent of Skip trips were part of the low-income program.

Oh, and here’s the real shocker (sarcasm): 63 percent of riders are white and 82 percent are men. Meanwhile, 68 percent of the riders have household incomes of more than $100,000, according to rider surveys. In San Francisco, 53 percent of the population is white and 51 percent are male, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In conclusion, the SFMTA says lock-to mechanisms have improved parking compliance, but that more scooters are needed to more thoroughly evaluate the program. Additionally, scooter companies need to do more outreach in underrepresented communities.

Moving forward, the SFMTA will decide this week whether to allow Skip and Scoot to increase their respective fleet sizes, as well as consider allowing operators like JUMP, Spin, Lime and Bird to deploy their own fleets.

Update 12:50pm PT: The SFMTA has decided to allow Skip and Scoot to add an additional 175 scooters to their respective fleets. As part of that, each is required to sign up at least 150 riders as part of their low-income programs. Once they hit at least 500 low-income riders, the companies can deploy a total of 2,500 scooters.

Uber’s JUMP Bikes founder and Scoot’s SVP of Product are talking bikes and scooters at TC Sessions: Mobility

Micromobility — electric personal vehicles — has gone from being non-existent to ubiquitous across cities all over the world. Currently, we’re seeing micromobility take on the form of electric scooters and pedal-assist bikes.

JUMP and Scoot operate in both of those categories. JUMP got its start as a pedal-assist bike-share startup, but has since evolved to handle electric scooters. And while Scoot’s first product from 2012 was an electric moped, it got its feet wet with bikes back in May 2018, then electric scooters later that same year.

Between JUMP founder Ryan Rzepecki, who sold his startup to Uber for about $200 million, and Scoot SVP of Product Katie DeWitt, TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility presented on July 10 in San Jose, Calif. is ready to dive deep into what the future of micromobility holds for us.

We’ll explore topics around asset management, unit economics, partnering with cities, data sharing, consolidation and what a potential shift to ownership would mean.

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Uber files for IPO

Uber has filed its S-1, setting the stage for the transportation company to go public next month. This comes less than one month after competitor Lyft’s debut on the public market.

Uber is listing under the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “UBER,” but has yet to disclose the anticipated initial public offering price. While Uber did not disclose the valuation its seeking, the company is reportedly looking to sell around $10 billion worth of stock, valuing the company between $90 billion and $100 billion.

In the filing, Uber reported 2018 revenues of $11.27 billion, net income of $997 million and adjusted EBITDA losses of $1.85 billion. Though, we knew this thanks to Uber’s previous disclosures of its financials.

But this is not the first time we’ve seen Uber’s financials. Over the last couple of years, Uber has willingly disclosed many of these numbers. Its last report as a private company came in February when Uber disclosed $3 billion in Q4 2018 revenue with rising operating losses.

From ridesharing specifically, Uber’s revenues increased from $3.5 billion in 2016 to $9.2 billion in 2018, with gross bookings hitting $41.5 billion last year from ridesharing products.

Uber’s monthly active platform consumers of ride-hailing, new mobility or Eats came in at 91 million for Q4 2018. That came out to 1.5 billion trips in total in that quarter.

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There’s a lot packed into Uber’s S-1, so here’s a quick look at some other things we found interesting:

  • Uber saw about 5.5 trips per monthly active platform consumer in Q4 2018, compared to that same quarter a year prior
  • Uber Eats represented 18 percent of gross bookings for Q4 2018, which is higher than gross bookings for rideshare
  • Ridesharing trips grew by 34 percent in 2018 while ridesharing gross bookings per trip declined by one percent

It’s unclear just how much money key stakeholders will make, but Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick owns 8.6 percent of the company. He’s the third largest shareholder with 117.5 million shares. Other notable stakeholders include SB Cayman 2 Ltd. and Alphabet.

Competitor Lyft filed its S-1 documents in March, showing nearly $1 billion in 2018 losses and revenues of $2.1 billion. It reported $8.1 billion in booking, coverings 30.7 million riders and 1.9 million drivers. About a week later, Lyft set a range of $62 to $68 for its IPO, seeking to raise up to $2.1 billion. Since its debut on the NASDAQ, Lyft’s stock has suffered after skyrocketing nearly 10 percent on day one.

Google loses its chief diversity officer

Google’s chief diversity officer, Danielle Brown, has left the company. Brown, who became Google’s CDO in June 2017 after serving in a similar role at Intel, announced today that she’s joined payroll and benefits startup Gusto to lead its chief people operations.

In Brown’s LinkedIn post announcing the job change, she noted that she will have the opportunity to “engage and support an internal team” as well as “influence how we build our product to drive positive change around critical issues like diversity, compliance, and employee engagement for millions of workers in the U.S.”

For Google, this means Melonie Parker will step into the role of CDO, following a nine-month stint as Google’s head of diversity. In a statement to TechCrunch, Google VP of People Operations Eileen Naughton said:

We’re grateful to Danielle for her excellent work over the past two years to improve representation in Google’s workforce and ensure an inclusive culture for everyone. We wish her all the best in her new role at Gusto. We’re fortunate to have a deep bench of experienced leaders and are delighted that Melonie Parker, who has been our Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will step up to become Google’s Chief Diversity Officer and Director, Employee Engagement. Melonie has 20 years of HR experience, and a passion for improving workforce representation and inclusion. We’re deeply committed to this work and have made progress, but there’s more we need to do.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that, following one diversity-related issue after another (anti-diversity manifesto, sexual harassment allegations, employee-led walkouts, etc), Google’s chief diversity officer has decided to seek out potential greener pastures.

It’s also worth noting that Google has been through its fair share of diversity leads. In 2016, then-Google head of diversity Nancy Lee left the company, saying she was retiring. However, Lee has since joined electric scooter startup Lime as its chief human resources officer.

Google is currently 68.4 percent male, 54.4 percent white, 39.8 percent Asian, 3.3 percent black, 5.7 percent Latinx and 0/8 percent Native American, according to its most recent diversity report.

Uber is expected to seek $10 billion in IPO

Uber is reportedly making its S-1 publically available tomorrow, according to Reuters. According to the IPO paperwork, Uber will sell around $10 billion worth of stock, Reuters sources say. If true, Uber’s IPO would be one of the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) in the tech industry since Alibaba’s 2014 IPO.

While previous reports have pegged Uber’s valuation at around $120 billion, Uber is reportedly seeking a valuation of between $90 billion and $100 billion. That decrease is reportedly influenced by Lyft’s performance on the public market. Still, that valuation is higher than its last valuation of $76 billion following a funding round.

The expected arrival of the S-1 tomorrow puts Uber on track to begin its IPO roadshow at the end of this month, and list on the New York Stock Exchange in early May. TechCrunch has independently learned Uber is indeed expected to list next month.

We’ve reached out to Uber and will update this story if we hear back.


Landed raises $7.5 million Series A to help teachers buy homes

Teachers are notoriously underpaid and buying homes is notoriously expensive. This is where Landed, which just raised a $7.5 million Series A round led by Initialized Capital, comes in.

Landed helps educators buy homes by providing them with down payment assistance. That’s because many teachers leave their jobs due to a lack of stable housing. In Berkeley, Calif., for example, more than half of the school district’s employees reported they considered leaving because of the high costs of housing.

“Our mission is to help these people build financial security and help them remain committed to their communities,” Landed co-founder Alex Lofton said. “We try to stay flexible to peoples realities. We don’t require people to buy in any particular city.”

To date, Landed has helped more than 200 educators buy homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver and Seattle.

Currently, the maximum amount of support Landed gives is $125,000 in the Bay Area, but Lofton says people generally take less than that. Unlike some of the city-run housing programs, there’s no income restriction with Landed.

“A lot of people we work with make a bit too much money to qualify for those programs,” Lofton said.

Landed, which manages the funds it sets up, offers down payment assistance in exchange for a cut of the home’s appreciated value. Landed, Inc., which is a licensed real estate brokerage, gets money on every transaction that occurs while Landed’s fund.

Given the influx of new cash into the SF Bay Area via IPOs from tech companies, Landed expects the market to become more challenging.

“With all of these economic booms In a market that’s already really supply-constrained with housing, it will be even more challenging,” he said.

While that’s surely discouraging to potential homebuyers, Landed is prepared to expand into additional markets and diversify where it offers support.

“[IPOs] will affect us but it won’t end our mission,” Lofton said. “For the community that we’re a part of, in our backyard, it does make us all here a bit nervous.”

With the funding, Landed will be able to expand to more cities and serve educators beyond K-12.

“I’ve followed the team at Landed for several years in their mission of providing more equitable access to homeownership to some of the most important community members – our educators and teachers,” Initialized Capital Partner Kim Mai-Cutler* said in a statement. “Not only is Landed attacking a profound issue affecting teacher retention in metros and school districts throughout the country, this is a promising market opportunity to build a trusted brand and institution to help essential professionals achieve their lifetime financial goals.”

*Kim-Mai Cutler is a former colleague of mine, but this relationship had no bearing on coverage.

The uncertain future of shared electric scooters

Cities all over the world have seen an influx of two-wheeled, electric kick scooters on the road over the last couple of years. Scooters from the likes of Bird, Lime, Spin, Uber’s JUMP, Lyft and others are all trying to own the first and the last mile. The first mile is often understood as the distance between a transportation hub and someone’s starting point while the last mile is the distance between a transportation hub and someone’s final destination. These companies want both, and some (Uber, Lyft) also want everything in between.

The rise of electric scooters is often compared to the rise of ride-hailing, but there are some key differences at play. For one, cities are in charge of regulation — not the states. And since these are much smaller vehicles, cities can easily pick them up and throw them in the back of a truck if they become a nuisance. Meanwhile, as part of city regulation, data-sharing is not optional — it’s a requirement in order for companies to receive permission to deploy scooters on city streets.

The startup ecosystem had become accustomed to the ethos of begging for forgiveness, rather than asking for permission. But that’s not the case with electric scooters. These companies have found their entire businesses to be contingent on the continued approval from individual cities all over the world. That inherently creates a number of potential conflicts.

It’s also unclear whether the increase in people riding scooters is indicative of people adopting shared services or simply adopting a new mode of transportation. Some industry insiders wonder if it’s just a matter of time between consumers ditch shared scooters in exchange for their own. 

Between city regulators capping the growth of operators, the vast number of companies going after the first and last miles and the threat of the shift from shared to ownership, it’s all going to come down to the survival of the fittest.

At the mercy of cities

Unlike the ride-sharing market, electric scooter operators are entirely dependent upon cities. These cities, rightfully so, have a number of concerns ranging from safety to sidewalk congestion to equal access to transportation.

The gender wage gap is shrinking among computer programmers, but it’s still quite large

Glassdoor has released its latest gender pay gap data analysis. In the U.S., the unadjusted pay gap comes in at 21.4 percent, meaning women make just $0.79 for every $1 men earn.

But, when controlling for variables like age, education, location, experience, occupation and industry, the pay gap is 4.9 percent. That’s a slight improvement from three years ago, when Glassdoor did its first analysis. That means, women make about $0.95 cents for every $1 men make.

In the tech industry, there is an adjusted wage gap of 5.4 percent, meaning, men generally make 5.4 percent more than women. On an adjusted basis, men make 11.8 percent more money than women.

In technical roles, while the wage gap is shrinking, it’s still quite large. Across the U.S., 79 percent of all computer programmers are male, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The wage gap between men and women is 11.3 percent, which comes out to about $0.88 for every $1 men make. In the tech industry, referred to as information technology, the wage gap is 5.4 percent (about $0.95 for every $1).

The wage gap among computer programmers represents the largest pay gap shrink (among the 15 job occupations with the highest wage gaps) since 2016, where the wage gap was 28.3 percent and women made about $0.72 for every $1 men made.

Other jobs with high pay gaps include pilot (number 1), professor, branch manager, C-suite and chef. Perhaps the tech industry is getting slightly better with equal pay, but it’s rather disconcerting that the computer programmer role is still among the top 15 jobs with the largest pay gaps.

“Knowing the facts about the gender pay gap is critical to helping close the gap,” Glassdoor senior vice president and head of product and UX/design Annie Pearl said in a statement. “Combining knowledge with leveraging valuable resources is the next step to ensuring equal pay for equal work everywhere… We all have a part to play to close the pay gap.”

The industries with the widest wage gap (6.4 percent) are retail and media. That means women make $0.93 for every $1 men earn. With that, I’m signing off.