Bird Global

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Bird Global, Inc.
Company typePublic
OTC Pink: BRDSQ (2023-present)
NYSE: BRDS (2021-2023)
IndustryDockless electric scooter sharing
Founded1 September 2017; 6 years ago (2017-09-01) in Santa Monica, California, United States
FounderTravis VanderZanden
Headquarters392 NE 191st Street #20388 Miami, FL 33179, U.S. (25.950170, -80.193167)
Area served
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • North America
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$205 million (2021)
Decrease US$−220 million (2021)
Increase US$−196 million (2021)
Total assetsIncrease US$597 million (2021)
Total equityIncrease US$321 million (2021)
Number of employees
302 (December 2022)
Footnotes / references

Bird Global, Inc. is a micromobility company based in Miami, Florida.[1]: 43  Founded in September 2017, Bird has distributed electric scooters designed for short-term rental to over 400 cities.[1]: 9 [2]


Bird was founded in September 2017 by Travis VanderZanden, formerly an executive at Lyft and at Uber. It had its Series A round of funding in February 2018, raising $15 million led by Craft Ventures; this was followed by a Series B round in March for $100 million, led by Index Ventures and Valor Equity Partners, and a venture round in May for $150 million from Sequoia Capital,[3] becoming the fastest company to ever reach the $1 billion "unicorn" valuation.[4] In June 2018, Bird raised an additional $300 million, valuing the company at $2 billion.[5]

In September 2018, Bird claimed 10 million rides.[6]

In October 2018, Bird announced its Bird Zero vehicle. The Bird Zero was designed for ride sharing with "more battery life for longer range, better lighting for increased visibility, and enhanced durability for a longer life-span."[7]

In November 2018, Bird released the Bird Platform, a program based on the company's mobile app and Bird Zero vehicles that allowed independent operators to use Bird's infrastructure to run their own fleet of shared, branded electric scooters.[8]

In January 2019 Axios reported that Bird was raising $300 million in new funding led by Fidelity as an extension of its C funding round.[9] Bird did not confirm this report.[10]

On June 12, 2019, Scoot Networks was acquired for an undisclosed value as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bird.[11][12][13] The deal was expected to be valued at around $25 million in a combination of cash and stock. The acquisition was to allow Bird to operate shared electric scooters in San Francisco.

In July 2019, Bird was said to be valued at $2.5 billion.[14] In July 2019, the company was raising Series D funding, led by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and CDPQ. This funding was intended to help the company become profitable and also continue to do further research and development of the vehicle.[15] In October 2019, the firm successfully closed Series D funding, raising $275 million and reaching 2.8 billion valuation.[16] This new funding was expected to help the company to upgrade its fleet with a focus on a more sustainable Bird Two model.[17]

In November 2019, Bird launched the "Helmet Selfie" safety feature to incentivize riders into wearing helmets when using Bird vehicles.[18] Users can submit a self-portrait photo of themselves wearing a helmet through the app, and receive future ride credits.[19][20]

In January 2020, Bird acquired rival Berlin-based scooter company, Circ.[21]

For March 2020, Bird had planned to launch in Austin, Texas after the Austin City Council approved a "dockless" bike-share pilot program in February 2018.[22]

Bird initially responded to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic by increasing cleaning and sanitizing efforts in March 2020.[23] Later that month, Bird scaled down operations (reportedly even suspending them within all markets), and terminated around 40% of its then about 1060 employees in a group Zoom meeting.[24] The company halted operations in six US cities (San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Portland, Miami, and Coral Gables), as well as European markets, including Annecy, Antwerp, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Krakow, Lisbon, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Munich, Paris, Rimini, Sevilla, Stockholm, Torino, Verona, and Vienna.[25]

In May 2021, Bird announced its intention to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company Switchback II with an implied valuation of $2.3 billion.[26] In November 2021, the SPAC deal closed and the merged company Bird Global, Inc. started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.[27]

In September 2023, Bird acquired San Francisco-based competitor Spin from Tier Mobility [de] for $19 million.[28] Bird was also forced to delist from the New York Stock Exchange during this month due to its low stock price, having a total market capitalization of only $7 million.[29]

In December 2023, Bird filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US. Its Canadian and European activities are not part of the bankruptcy. The company has plans to restructure and sell some of its assets to some of its existing lenders.[30]


Bird scooter QR code

The user installs the Bird app, on which are displayed all the scooters available (tracked by GPS) nearby. Before starting a trip, the user supplies payment information. The user then scans the QR code on the scooter, beginning the trip. To end the trip, the user must take a photo of the parked scooter to end the ride. The price of the trip is immediately withdrawn from the user's credit card. If any problems were encountered with the trip (like a malfunctioning vehicle) the user can report it through the app.

Operating area and hours[edit]

On the Bird app, the user can see the operating area of the service and also view a tutorial on how to use the scooter.[31] Riding outside of the operating area is tolerated, but if the user leaves the scooter outside the operating area, they will be charged a fee. The fee changes based on the location. On the map, there are various red zones, in which users are prohibited to park. If the rider misbehaves, they will incur a fine. Bird has worked with various cities to launch a 100-city tour to work closely with local officials on policies.[31]

While Bird doesn't have set operating hours, the availability of scooters during nighttime is severely reduced because the scooters need to be recharged every night. Nevertheless, if a user finds a scooter outside during the nighttime, they can still unlock it. Bird operates every day of the week.

Bird's revenue is lower during winter, and at the beginning of the warmer months, many scooters are taken out of hibernation, an operation internally known as the "Spring Push".[24]


Bird operates its electric scooters in cities across the globe.[32]

Bird scooters available in Long Beach, California in March 2023. Here Bird's scooters are located alongside those of Lime, one of the company's main competitors.


Bird uses electric scooters for its rental service. Bird developed its own scooter, the Bird Zero, launched in October 2018. The Bird Zero was specifically made for the scooter rental industry, with a longer lifespan.[33] The Zero has been designed to be optimal for the ride-sharing industry to minimize maintenance needs. As of July 2019, Bird Zero scooters made up more than 75% of the company's fleets.[34]

In May 2019, Bird stopped purchasing and distributing both Segway models,[35] and launched Bird One, the first Bird scooter made available for purchase as well as shared use.[36] Improvements incorporated into this model include longer battery life (up to 30 miles on a single charge), a more responsive brake system, and better lighting and stability features.[37] According to the company, Bird Zero scooters have a lifespan of roughly ten months,[38] and Bird One scooters are designed to last over a year in the sharing environment.[39]

In June 2019, Bird unveiled the Bird Cruiser, an electric vehicle that is a blend between a bicycle and a moped. It seats up to two people and is designed to be part of Bird's shared-vehicles fleet.[40]

In August 2019, Bird launched Bird Two.[41] This model includes improvements to battery life (50% more capacity than Bird One), self-reporting damage sensors, higher traction and puncture-proof tires, as well as anti-tipping kickstands on both sides.[42]

In June 2021, Bird announced the deployment of shared Bird Bikes in North America and Europe.[43]


Generally, in countries where the Euro or the Dollar is used, the price is €/$1 to unlock the scooter, then €/$0.15 per minute. The monthly fee for renting a scooter is $25. However, prices for sharing and monthly rentals differ according to country, currency and local laws.


Bird's main competitor is American Lime. Nevertheless, many other smaller dockless electric scooter sharing companies have been funded before and after Bird's arrival, including Scoot Networks, which has since been acquired by Bird,[44] and Skip Scooters. In addition, in 2018 Uber released a line of rentable scooters that have presented competition to mainstream companies like Bird and Lime.[45]

User collaborations[edit]


Bird scooters are charged by gig workers, private contractors who sign up to become Chargers. The company sends approved Chargers charging equipment and pays them to charge scooters overnight then place them at designated "nests" throughout the company's service area in the morning. Charging can become competitive, with Chargers in some markets using vans and other creative means to pick up scooters all over the city.[46]

The amount of money Bird pays the independent contractors for charging a particular scooter depends on how long the scooter has been sitting out on the street after being flagged for needing a charge and before the Charger reflags the scooter in an app to claim the reward.


Since Bird is a dockless electric scooter sharing system, it does not provide parking stations. As a result, scooters can be found throughout cities to help people connect to transit offerings and central locations.[47][48]

In November 2018, Bird added a crowdsourced parking feature called "Community Mode" to its app. The feature enables users to report improperly parked scooters to Bird, which then sends staff to move them to better parking locations.[49]

In June 2019, Bird added a new feature for cities that agree to reclaim parking spaces for micro mobility. First rolled out in Paris, the app directs riders to close by approved parking spots and awards them a discount on their next ride if they park there.[50]


In 2018, Time magazine named Bird as one of its "50 Genius Companies", commending its contribution to the "'first mile, last mile' problem in transportation. Because public transit stops are often a little too far from the places where people begin and end their journeys, they choose to drive, clogging up the roads and polluting the air. Bird is pioneering a new way to get those people to leave their cars at home."[51] In both 2018 and 2019, LinkedIn named Bird one of the most sought-after startups in the United States.[52][53]


Putting franchisees into debt[edit]

When Bird began marketing its franchise opportunities to operations staff and fleet managers, it ended up putting some workers $40,000 in debt. Those franchisees never own the scooters they obtain from Bird and are liable for repayments even when scooters are lost or stolen.[54]

Mass layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and national shutdown, Bird laid off 400+ employees via Zoom during a call that lasted approximately two minutes. The company immediately locked out all affected employees from accessing company systems.[55][56][57]

Milwaukee, Wisconsin[edit]

Scooters were initially banned in Milwaukee when Bird Rides Inc. started their scooter business without government permission. Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers signed a bill on July 11, 2019, regulating scooters.[58] The Milwaukee Common Council and Mayor Tom Barrett banned Bird Scooters from operating in the city and passed an ordinance giving law enforcement permission to impound scooters. They also sued the scooter company.[59]

In May 2019 Bird reached a settlement with the city of Milwaukee regarding the lawsuit.[60] The following August, Milwaukee's Department of Public Works announced it would allow Bird to operate in the city again.[61]

San Francisco, California[edit]

In August 2018, Bird, Lime and several other micro-mobility companies were banned by the City of  San Francisco, California citing safety concerns as the reason. The Municipal Transportation Agency then launched a pilot scooter sharing program allowing only Skip and Scoot to operate in the city.[62] Lime tried and failed to appeal the decision[63] and Bird began offering its scooters as a monthly rental as a way around their prohibition.

In September 2019, the city of San Francisco announced the four permit holders that would be able to operate. Operators were able to submit an application and the city down-selected based on several criteria, including safety. Bird, was one of the selected operators through its subsidiary Scoot.[64]

Seattle, Washington[edit]

Seattle, Washington has banned scooter shares, and city law currently bars the use of motorized foot scooters on sidewalks and bicycle lanes.[65] Mayor Jenny Durkan announced in May 2019 that her administration would soon begin crafting a pilot program for scooter sharing.[66]

Accidents and deaths[edit]

Bird electric scooters have been involved in some accidents and deaths.[67]

Overstating revenue[edit]

In November 2022, the company admitted to overstating the revenue it received from its shared electric scooters for more than two years. In an audit of financial statements, Bird found that it was recognizing unpaid customer rides from their preloaded "wallet" balances as revenue. The company pledged to correct its financial reports "as soon as practicable", and agreed that a broader review of its disclosure practices would be required.[68]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Bird Global, Inc. 2021 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. March 15, 2022.
  2. ^ Yakowicz, Will (December 10, 2018). "14 Months, 120 Cities, $2 Billion: There's Never Been a Company Like Bird. Is the World Ready?". Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  3. ^ Zaleski, Olivia (May 29, 2018). "Bird Races to Become the First Scooter Unicorn". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  4. ^ "Bird is the fastest startup ever to reach a $1 billion valuation". Quartz. June 14, 2018.
  5. ^ "Scooter Startup Bird Doubles Valuation to $2 Billion in 4 Months". Inc.
  6. ^ "Bird Marks One Year Anniversary with 10 Millionth Environmentally-friendly Ride". Bird. September 20, 2018. Archived from the original on May 19, 2019. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  7. ^ "Bird Unveils Bird Zero: Custom-Designed e-Scooter for Ridesharing 2.0". Bird. October 4, 2018. Archived from the original on April 19, 2019. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  8. ^ "14 Months, 120 Cities, $2 Billion: There's Never Been a Company Like Bird. Is the World Ready?". Inc. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "Scoop: Bird raising $300 million in Fidelity-led round". Axios. January 9, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "E-scooter startup Bird is raising another $300M". TechCrunch. January 9, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Bird Acquires Scoot - Scoot to Operate as a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Bird". Scoot. June 12, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  12. ^ Bhuiyan, Sam Dean, Johana (June 12, 2019). "Bird buys Scoot — and a back door into San Francisco's rental scooter market". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 13, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "Bird Buys Competitor Scoot, Further Consolidating the Crowded Scooter-Rental Market". Fortune. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  14. ^ Griffith, Erin (July 22, 2019). "Bird Is Said to Raise New Funding at $2.5 Billion Valuation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  15. ^ Rose Dickey, Megan (July 23, 2019). "Bird is raising a Series D round led by Sequoia at $2.5 billion valuation". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  16. ^ Carson, Biz (October 3, 2019). "Scooter Startup Bird Raises $275 Million In New Funding Round". Forbes. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
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  19. ^ Small, Andrew (November 22, 2019). "Scooter Riders Hate Wearing Helmets. Maybe This Will Help". Retrieved December 4, 2019.
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  24. ^ a b "'It Felt Like a Black Mirror Episode' The Inside Account of How Bird Laid off 406 People in Two Minutes via a Zoom Webinar". dot.LA. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  25. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J. (March 20, 2020). "Electric scooter-sharing grinds to a halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic". The Verge. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
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  27. ^ Clara Harter (November 5, 2021). "Bird flies onto stock exchange, encounters turbulence". Santa Monica Daily Press.
  28. ^ Kokalitcheva, Kia (September 19, 2023). "Scooter consolidation continues with Bird's acquisition of Spin". Axios.
  29. ^ Griffith, Erin (December 7, 2023). "From Unicorns to Zombies: Tech Start-Ups Run Out of Time and Money". New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  30. ^ "Bird Electric Scooter Company Files for Bankruptcy After 2021 SPAC". The Wall Street Journal. December 20, 2023. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  31. ^ a b Pandey, Erica (September 19, 2019). "The side effects of the electric scooter revolution". Axios. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  32. ^ "Bird hits 10 million scooter rides". TechCrunch. September 20, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  33. ^ "Bird unveils custom electric scooters and delivery". TechCrunch. October 4, 2018. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
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  38. ^ "Bird One is the "most advanced and safe e-scooter on the road today"". Dezeen. May 24, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
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  40. ^ "Bird is launching a two-seater electric vehicle to become more than a kick scooter startup". TechCrunch. June 4, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  41. ^ Singh, Dhara. "Bird's new scooter rolls out next week with damage sensors, bigger battery". CNET. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
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  44. ^ "Bird confirms acquisition of Scoot". TechCrunch. June 12, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  45. ^ Toll, Micah (October 4, 2018). "Jump electric scooters launched by Uber as they expand to scooter sharing". Electrek. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  46. ^ Heffernan, Erin (November 6, 2018). "Inside the scooter side hustle: Charging for Lime and Bird is a new cutthroat gig in St. Louis". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  47. ^ Giambrone, Andrew (August 19, 2019). "The top 8 places where people are taking Bird scooters in D.C." Curbed DC. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  48. ^ DeRoos, Dan (September 6, 2019). "Bird reveals top perching locations for a scooter in Cleveland". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
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  50. ^ "Bird launches designated scooter parking". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  51. ^ "Bird Is One of Time's 50 Genius Companies 2018". Time.
  52. ^ "LinkedIn Top Startups 2018: The 50 most sought-after startups in the U.S." Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  53. ^ "LinkedIn Top Startups 2019: The 50 hottest U.S. companies to work for now". LinkedIn.
  54. ^ Martyn, Amy (September 29, 2020). "Bird Is Quietly Luring Contract Workers Into Debt Through a New Scooter Scheme". Medium. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  55. ^ Sapra, Bani. "Bird employees say they were locked out of their email and Slack accounts as they were told their jobs were gone". Business Insider. Insider Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  56. ^ Dickey, Megan Rose (March 27, 2020). "Bird lays off about 30% of workforce amid COVID-19 pandemic". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  57. ^ Arciga, Julia (April 2, 2020). "Over 400 Bird Employees Were Laid Off in Two-Minute Zoom Webinar: Report". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company LLC. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  58. ^ "Tony Evers signs bill regulating electric scooters". Capital Newspapers Inc. Associated Press, State Journal. July 11, 2018. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  59. ^ Janzen, Clara. "City passes ordinance for Milwaukee to impound Bird motorized scooters - but will they?". bizjournals. American City Business Journals. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  60. ^ "City of Milwaukee reaches settlement with scooter company Bird Rides". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  61. ^ "Bird scooters officially coming back to Milwaukee". Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  62. ^ "San Francisco Smacks Down Scooter Start-Ups Bird and Lime". Vanity Fair. August 30, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  63. ^ "Lime loses appeal to operate electric scooters in SF". TechCrunch. February 13, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  64. ^ "SF to allow 10,000 e-scooters citywide, raising fears of 'scooter-geddon part two'". The San Francisco Examiner. September 25, 2019.
  65. ^ "Seattle embraced dockless bike shares, but bans scooter ones. How come?". The Seattle Times. September 30, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  66. ^ "Electric scooters are coming to Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan says". The Seattle Times. May 9, 2019. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  67. ^ "List Of Electric Scooter Accidents And Deaths". Ranker. July 12, 2019.
  68. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J. (November 14, 2022). "Bird overstated shared electric scooter revenue for two years". The Verge.

External links[edit]