Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Uber buys electric bike-sharing startup

Uber buys electric bike-sharing startup

Beleaguered ride-hailing company Uber announced today that it will acquire Jump (née Social Bicycles), the dockless bike-share outfit that sprouted up in San Francisco in January. Several of Uber's worldwide competitors, including Chinese giant Didi, have invested in or partnered with bike-share startups.

Ride-hailing giant Uber is buying the e-bike startup JUMP Bikes, adding bike-share to its transportation options. In addition, you can continue to use the Jump app if you prefer. The report follows an earlier leak that suggested Jump was weighing whether to accept Uber's buyout offer or raise a new round of funding instead.

Writing in a blog post on the Uber website, chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said: "At Uber, we're focused on championing smart technology for smart cities".

Uber had previously struck a deal with Jump in January so that Uber users in San Francisco could identify one of Jump's 250 electric bikes around the city, unlock it with a PIN code, and pedal away for $2 per 30 minutes through the Uber app.

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Didi said it would start off with a vehicle service, but according to Reuters, it is also considering allowing users to hire motorcycles and bikes. "People are using these bikes for multiple trips a day".

"Our ultimate goal is one we share with cities around the world: making it easier to live without owning a personal auto".

Electronic bikes come built with a motor, but the cycles aren't like riding a motorcycle or scooter.

Khosrowshahi said that Uber plans to integrate independent bike companies into Uber's app as well. By 2017, thousands of bikes were in 40 cities.

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Companies like Uber are betting on big shifts in how people commute.

Khosrowshahi didn't address what the acquisition would mean for Uber's multibillion dollar losses. "JUMP e-bikes let riders go farther, get there faster, and they're insanely fun - and our initial data is proving it".

JUMP offers a dockless electric bike service within San Francisco and Washington.

Ryan Rzepecki, Jump's chief executive, started working on bike sharing nearly a decade ago, initially with a company called Social Bicycles that sold bicycles to different cities. And now, surprisingly, Uber is moving in a different direction with its first acquisition of a bike-share company.

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"We're excited to begin our next chapter and to play a significant part in the transition of Uber to a multi-modal platform", he said in a statement.

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