Spin (company)

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Skinny Labs, Inc.
IndustryBicycle-sharing and scooter-sharing
FoundedOctober 2016 (2016-10)
FoundersDerrick Ko
Euwyn Poon
Zaizhuang Cheng
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
ParentFord Motor Company

Spin is a scooter-sharing company that is owned by the Ford Motor Company. It is based in San Francisco and was founded as a start-up in 2017, launching as a dock-less bicycle-sharing system controlled by a mobile app for reservations. Spin later moved into scooter-sharing.


Spin was founded in 2016 as Skinny Labs, Inc. and announced in January 2017, hoping to bring Chinese-style dock-less bicycle sharing to the United States.[1]

Spin raised $8 million in Series A venture capital financing led by Grishin Robotics in May, during preparation for a wider rollout in other cities.[2] Spin launched in Seattle, Washington, on July 17, 2017, becoming the city's first dock-less bicycle-sharing system under new regulations from the city government.[3] Spin debuted with 500 bicycles in Seattle, and exceeded 5,000 rides during its first week in operation, surpassing the city's former bicycle-sharing system, Pronto Cycle Share.[4] In late July, Spin announced plans to expand to South San Francisco, California, as part of a larger national rollout.[5] The New York City Department of Transportation, however, ordered the closure of operations in Rockaway, Queens.[6]

In February 2018, Spin rolled out scooter sharing, starting in San Francisco. The scooters were initially priced at $1 to unlock, plus fifteen cents a minute.[7]

The company launched in Austin, Texas, during South by Southwest in March 2017. The service was suspended by Spin within a day of launch, due to a dispute with the city government over permits and regulations.[8][9]

On April 12, 2018, San Francisco's Public Works department seized several dozen Spin bikes after pedestrians objected to the bikes blocking sidewalks.[10]

With the expiration of Seattle's bikeshare pilot program permit, Spin decided not to seek a new permit with the city and ceased their operations there in September 2018.[11]

On November 7, 2018, the Ford Motor Company announced that it had acquired Spin and aims to expand its service to more cities. The Wall Street Journal reported that Spin was valued at $80 to 90 million at the time of the purchase.[12]

Equipment and usage[edit]

Spin uses orange-colored, three-speed bicycles equipped with onboard GPS units and cellular modems. Rides cost $1 for every 30 minutes, or $29 per month with unlimited 30-minute rides.[13][14] Bicycles are unlocked using a mobile app that scans a QR code on the bicycle.[15] When it operated in Seattle, bicycles had to be parked in designated landscape/furniture zones on sidewalks.[16]


Spin scooter in front of the National Museum of the American Indian

In November 2017, the company announced that they plan to expand to Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Durham, Scottsdale, Houston, Silver Spring, Doral, and Miami Lakes by the end of 2017.[21]

In summer 2018, it began operating a system with Lime in certain suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. (Specifically Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop.[22]) Dockless bikes are excluded from the Hubway operating area in the urban core.


  1. ^ Kolodny, Lora (January 25, 2017). "Spin wants to bring dock-less bike sharing to the US". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  2. ^ Kolodny, Lora (May 25, 2017). "Spin raises $8 million as bike-sharing battle heats up in the US". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Lloyd, Sarah Anne (July 17, 2017). "Spin is the first dockless bike-share program to launch in Seattle". Curbed Seattle. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Fucoloro, Tom (July 25, 2017). "Spin smashes Pronto ridership in week one, announces improved bikes". Seattle Bike Blog. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  5. ^ Shieber, Jonathan (July 25, 2017). "Spin brings its pick-up-anywhere bike sharing to South San Francisco". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  6. ^ "City 'Spins' Rockaway Bike Share Plan | The Wave". The Rockaway Wave. 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  7. ^ Dickey, Megan Rose (2018-02-08). "Bike-sharing startup Spin is getting into scooter-sharing". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  8. ^ Small, Andrew (March 12, 2017). "Austin (Briefly) Gets a No-Frills Private Bike Share". CityLab. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  9. ^ Theis, Michael (March 14, 2017). "After Austin's crackdown, free-roaming bikeshare program could soon return". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  10. ^ Cabanatuan, Michael (April 13, 2018) "SF scooter problem: City impounds dozens of the two-wheelers." San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 15 April 2018.)
  11. ^ "Spin bike share announces departure from Seattle". Curbed Seattle. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  12. ^ Colias, Mike; Brown, Eliot (November 8, 2018). "Ford Buys Electric-Scooter Startup, Looking to Diversify Beyond Autos". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  13. ^ "Three More Things". Spin. July 26, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  14. ^ Lloyd, Sarah Anne (July 28, 2017). "Seattle's dockless bike shares: a guide to the bikes taking over the city". Curbed Seattle. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  15. ^ Machkovech, Sam (July 23, 2017). "Dockless bike sharing lands in Seattle—and leads us down unsavory alleyways". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  16. ^ Gutman, David (July 17, 2017). "Bike shares wheeling back into Seattle, but they're unlike Pronto in 2 big ways". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  17. ^ Repko, Melissa (August 4, 2017). "Is Dallas shifting gears? LimeBike, Spin join Big D's bike-share market". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  18. ^ "Bike share program brings new rides to Salisbury". delmarvanow.com. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  19. ^ "UC San Diego Bikeshare Program". transportation.ucsd.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  20. ^ "Jefferson City rolls out new bicycle-sharing program". abc17news.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  21. ^ Coldewey, Devin (10 November 2017). "Bike-share platform Spin poaches Seattle transit regulator and launches in a dozen new cities". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  22. ^ Thousands of dockless bikes headed for Boston's suburbs

External links[edit]