August 2, 2018 | California-based electric scooter rental startup Bird announced Wednesday it will launch pilot programs in Tel Aviv and Paris, US tech news and media network The Verge reports. Previously, the company has only operated in 30 cities throughout North America.
Tel Aviv and Paris were picked because of their “tech- and innovation-forward” behaviors, Patrick Strudener, head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the company, said.
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The ultimate goal is to “reduce car ownership in the cities and bring the car trips down” in big cities, he explained, noting that these two cities already had dedicated cycling infrastructures, making it safer to ride e-scooters.
Bird is currently in talks with officials in Tel Aviv and Paris at the municipal and national levels. The company says pilots in both cities will be limited at first, starting with 50 to 100 scooters and then scaling up. The pilot program in Tel Aviv will begin “in the coming weeks,” in partnership with Tel Aviv University.
“We are honored to be able to offer our solution to Paris, Tel Aviv, and — down the road — to more cities as we work toward our goal of getting cars off of the road and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said in a statement.
The Santa Monica startup was founded in 2017 by US businessman VanderZanden, a former exec at Uber, and has already reached a $2 billion valuation after raising $300 million in funding at the end of June. It is the first scooter company to reach unicorn status.
The Bird electric scooters are “dockless”, which means they do not have a fixed location, they can be dropped off and picked up from different locations in the city. Bird’s purpose is to innovate the way transportation operates in the big cities over the world as well as reducing pollution gas emission.