- Shared micromobility companies, including Superpedestrian, Bird, Micromobility.com, Tier, and Spin, face challenges due to regulatory issues and high operational costs.
- Lime is a potential survivor, demonstrating profitability with longer-lasting hardware, lower expenses, and effective marketing strategies.
- The industry needs a shift from the VC model, focusing on efficient, low-margin operations, longer-term city contracts, and market prioritization to ensure sustainable growth.
Superpedestrian's recent shutdown highlights the ongoing struggles in the shared micro-mobility industry, with Bird, Micromobility.com, Tier, and Spin also facing existential questions.
A combination of unfavorable city regulations, high operational costs, and overexpansion due to VC funding contributed to the downfall of these companies.
Inside Superpedestrian's Downfall
Superpedestrian's demise is attributed to a range of issues, including insufficient investment in marketing, mismanagement in upper leadership, and a flawed approach to city partnerships.
The company's failure reflects a broader pattern within the industry, highlighting the difficulties of making shared micromobility economically viable.
Shared micro-mobility industry in crisis
Beyond Superpedestrian, other significant players like Bird, Micromobility.com, Tier, and Spin have faced financial challenges, with some filing for bankruptcy.
The micro-mobility industry, once fueled by VC money, is now grappling with the harsh reality of low profit margins, operational hurdles, and regulatory complexities.
Lime emerges unscathed
Lime stands out as a potential survivor in the shared micromobility landscape, claiming profitability and avoiding massive layoffs. The company's success is attributed to longer-lasting hardware, lower operating expenses, and effective marketing strategies.
Silver lining: Normalizing micro-mobility and lessons for the future
While shared micro-mobility companies face uncertainties, the industry's challenges have spurred cities' normalization of e-scooters and e-bikes.
The failures of the VC-backed model highlight the need for a new approach, emphasizing long-term contracts, city partnerships without permit fees, and a shift toward efficient, low-margin operations.
Revamping the rules
Industry experts suggest a shift away from the VC model, urging shared micro-mobility operators to focus on high-volume, low-margin businesses without relying on extensive funding.
A call for longer-term city contracts, elimination of permit fees, and prioritizing markets serious about preventing vandalism are essential for sustainable growth in the next phase of shared micro-mobility.
Edited by Shruti Thapa