After launching only 18 months ago, Silicon Valley mobility startup Lime has managed to raise a staggering $382 million in venture capital, for a reported $1.1 billion valuation. That speaks to the company’s ambitions for its bike and scooter-sharing services, but also to the massive costs and frenzied competition it faces.
The total funding includes the latest round of $250 million reported recently by Axios and confirmed again this week by the Financial Times. The round was led by the firm formerly known as Google Ventures, and Axios said Coatue Management and Andreessen Horowitz are also likely to invest.
The rapid rise of Lime, known as LimeBike until it re-branded this spring, also speaks to the massive disruption happening across the mobility industry. Back in late February, I had a chance to chat with Caen Contee, Lime’s vice president of marketing and partnerships and one of the company’s first employees, while he was in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress.
He said Lime was founded on the notion that almost every facet of traditional transportation is being reinvented. Because this transition is accelerating, the company is also determined to scale quickly to seize the opportunity.
“There’s a bit of a perfect storm happening,” he said. “The economics speak for themselves.”
This approach has generated enormous controversy, both for Lime and for competitors like Bird, which has raised $400 million in venture capital for its electric scooter service. Business Insider wrote this week that such fundraising represents “everything that’s wrong with Silicon Valley.”