Bird announced today that it will sell its electric scooters to entrepreneurs and small business owners, who will then be able to rent them as part of a new service called Bird Platform.
The company will provide independent scooter operators, who will be branded as they please, as well as access to the company’s market for chargers and mechanics, in exchange for 20 percent of the cost of each trip. Bird says fleet managers, who can be independent entrepreneurs or local mom and pop bike rental shops, for example, can also collect and load the scooters.
There is no minimum or maximum number of scooters that independent operators can buy, although they must take into account local regulations that, in certain cities, limit the number of scooters allowed on the streets. Bird says the company will initially start rolling out the Bird Platform in December, targeting markets where scooters are already actively used and where regulations are a bit more relaxed. Bird Platform will be irrelevant in San Francisco, for example, where the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has put a limit on the number of available e-scooters and refused to grant Bird a permit to operate.
The company hopes the Bird Platform will be a useful tool as it continues to make its way into new markets around the world.
Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden They said they have been quietly working on this product for a while and there are 300 interested people waiting to start using the service.
“In the last year of operations, we received these incoming requests from entrepreneurs who really wanted to bring Bird to their cities,” VanderZanden told TechCrunch. “I think there have been a lot of people passionate about the electric scooter movement and getting cars off the road. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who want to bring Bird to their city.”
Goat, an Austin-based scooter startup, began renting its scooters to micro-mobility enthusiasts in the Texas capital. Goat CEO Michael Schramm explained the launch in a company announcement at the time, according to Mashable: “The way we look at it is, why would anyone want to be a charger and make $ 5 on a scooter, when You can manage your own fleet and keep all the profits by doing the same task that you are already doing?
Bird, valued at $ 2 billion, has raised $ 415 million in venture capital funds from Greycroft, Sequoia, Accel and others. Since its launch about a year ago, it has accumulated more than 10 million trips and has expanded to about 100 cities.