Ford is buying electric scooter startup Spin, Axios reports. The deal, according to a source close to the matter, the total consideration in the deal was close to $100m. Axios had previously reported the price tag was around $40 million. Spin currently operates its scooters in Coral Gables, Fla., Washington, D.C., Charlotte, N.C., Durham, N.C., Lexington, Ky., Denver, Colo., Detroit, Mich. and Long Beach, Calif. In addition to operating throughout specific cities, Spin is live on five college campuses. Spin was one of the three companies that initially deployed its scooters in San Francisco back in March. Along with Bird and Lime, Spin was forced to remove its electric scooters from the city until the city determined a permitting process. Since failing to receive a permit to operate, Spin has been one of the more quiet scooter startups in the industry. Though, next week, Spin is meeting with the city of San Francisco to appeal the denial of its permit to operate electric scooters in the city. As of June, Spin had a contract with electric scooter manufacturer Ninebot, owned by Segway, to purchase 30,000 scooters a month through the end of this year, according to a source. Its not completely clear why Ford feels the need to acquire Spin — let alone any electric scooter company — instead of just forming partnerships with scooter manufacturers to launch its own service. That same month, Spin was in the process of finalizing a $125 million security token. The idea with Spins security token offering is to raise money from accredited investors, who will then be entitled to a portion of the revenue from Spins electric scooter operations, according to a source close to Spin. With STOs, investors can buy tokens that are linked to real-world financial instruments. In the case of Spins offering, the tokens are linked to its revenue. Spin had previously raised $8 million in traditional venture funding. In recent years, Ford has also purchased commuter shuttle service Chariot, as well as Autonomic and TransLoc. In February, Spin officially entered the electric scooter space after first deploying stationless bikes in South San Francisco and Seattle. Spin had previously only operated a bike-share platform. Last August, Spin brought its stationless bike-share program to South San Francisco after launching in Seattle earlier that year. Then, in January, Spin unveiled its stationless electric bike. However, Spin is now solely focused on electric scooters, according to a source close to Spin. Over the last year or so, shared electric scooter services have gone from being non-existent to almost everywhere, operated by nearly everyone you would and would not expect. That includes Bird, the Santa Monica-based scooter startup worth north of $2 billion, Lime , another electric scooter unicorn that recently formed a partnership with Uber, Ubers JUMP, Boosted Board co-founder Sanjay Dastoors new startup Skip, Lyft and so many others. Ive reached out to Ford and Spin and will update this story if I hear back. Electric scooters are back in SF
The move could counter GM and others expanding beyond cars. Ford might not sit idly by while other transportation companies expand beyond cars. Axios sources say the Blue Oval has agreed to buy e-scooter service Spin for roughly $40 million. It's not certain what Ford would do with the company or what would happen to its staff. We've asked Ford if it can comment on the report and will let you know if it has more to share. If accurate, it would be consistent with Ford's strategy. The company has spent years talking about moving beyond car ownership, and has even toyed with e-bikes of its own. This could be a logical extension that gives Ford a significant footing in car-free transportation, even if it's locked out of San Francisco for now. It's also a hedge against transportation rivals entering the space. In addition to GM's e-bikes, it has to worry about Uber and Lyft offering their own two-wheeled travel options. If Ford sits by the wayside, it risks ceding ground if bike and scooter continues to grow.
Ford is buying dockless electric scooter company Spin for $40 million, according to Axios. The acquisition cost roughly what Spin was valued at after its Series A funding last year. The deal isnt the first time Fords entered the e-scooter market; the company started conducting a test run of scooter rentals at Purdue University under the name Jelly last month. Ford has also been exploring new mobility solutions since it acquired San Francisco-based shuttle service Chariot in 2016, and its been running a docked bicycle-sharing program in the Bay Area called Ford GoBikes since 2013. Ironically, Motivate, the bike-sharing company Ford partnered with to launch GoBikes, has since been acquired by Lyft, which is also getting into the e-scooter game. Though Spin is an SF-based company, the city put a temporary hold on its scooters after a brief trial in March. Other electric scooter startups like Lime and Bird have paused operations in the city as well until permit applications can be processed. (Only competing startups Skip and Scoot are allowed in SF for the time being.) For now, Spin operates in nine cities, including Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, and Long Beach, as well as five college campuses. Todays acquisition by Ford will likely see the company bringing its scooters to more cities.