The Santa Monica-based eScooter rental service Bird is being valued at $2.5 billion in a new funding round led by the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.
The Series D funding round tips Bird’s valuation above the $2.3 billion where it was pegged last year, double the startup’s previous valuation, three people with knowledge of the deal told reporters on Monday (July 22).
“What they’ve accomplished in achieving both rapid growth and strong unit economics is rare for a company this complex and so early on,” Sequoia Capital partner Roelof Botha said in an email to reporters. “Bird’s innovation across a spectrum of disciplines to achieve operational excellence at scale, including hardware design and manufacturing, vehicle maintenance and repair, optimization of Bird charging and deployment and city-level regulatory affairs is unparalleled.”
The total amount Bird will raise in the new fundraising has not yet been finalized, the anonymous tipsters said.
Bird launched in 2017 and raised a total of $418 million in funding in 2018. The startup grew fast, bringing fleets of scooters to cities around the globe. They’re now facing competition from other eScooter startups, including Ford’s Spin, Uber’s Jump, Lime, Skip and Lyft.
The rental scooter market is quickly expanding but also experiencing growing pains and backlash as cities complain about collisions and vandalism and implementing stricter regulations. Scooter startups are also seeking valuations under the $3 billion-plus valuations they were fetching in previous years.
Regardless, Bird continues growing and is planning launches in over 50 new cities. It acquired Scoot in June and earlier this month announced a second hub in Paris. In March, Bird began rolling out programs in New Zealand, Canada and Latin America.
Localized payment options have been essential to the industry’s growth, offering payment methods that cater to its riders and the “juicers” who get paid to collect and charge the company’s eScooters.