Bird, the electric scooter company that sparked the global micromobility boom, plans, according to dot.LA. Bird is merging with Switchback II Corporation, a Dallas-based blank check company that is focused on companies that reduce carbon emissions, according to documents verified on the website.
Bird is the newest transportation company, but one of the few e-scooter companies to go public. A record number of companies went public last year by partnering with SPAC shell companies, avoiding the control of a traditional IPO.
Bird is the newest transportation company, but one of the few e-scooter companies to go public
Reports of Bird’s SPAC ambitions first surfaced last November after Bloomberg reported that the Santa Monica-based company was working with Credit Suisse to find a potential partner. Bird and Switchback II Corporation spokesmen did not respond to a request for comment.
The deal will bring Bird hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to use to fund its business while continuing to pursue profitability. Scooter sharing is a cash-intensive business, with companies routinely spending more on each scooter than they make with revenue. Very few companies that operate scooter fleets have managed to make a profit.
dot.LA, who looked at the pitch deck, has more details on the transaction:
The transaction valued Bird at $ 2.3 billion, below the $ 2.85 billion value reached at the beginning of 2020. That was before the pandemic, however, which brought sales to $ 95 million in 2020, a 37 percent decrease from the 2019 deal seen by dot.LA.
Bird first launched its scooter sharing service in September 2017 in Santa Monica. Since then, the company has grown to over 100 cities, made over 10 million trips, and raised money at an unprecedented rate. It’s the fastest startup to reach a valuation of $ 2 billion.
But the pandemic has hit the company hard. Bird saw his driver numbers drop at the start of the lockdown last spring. In March last year, the company laid off over 400 employees in a now infamous Zoom appeal.
But as the lockdowns ease and customers return to scooter sharing, Bird’s problems remain
But as the lockdowns ease and customers return to scooter sharing, Bird’s problems remain. The company has been held back by a number of major cities issuing permits to scooter drivers, including Chicago, Paris, and San Francisco. Bird was recently selected to participate in New York’s first ever scooter program – a decision that may have helped improve the company’s long-term financial prospects.
Bird is increasingly reliant on revenue from its franchise program, where the company sells its older scooters to small operators and cuts each trip. The program, known as the Bird Platform, has left some operators deeply in debt, OneZero reported last year. The company has since rolled out the Bird Platform in countries like Switzerland and Estonia, and cheers investors who hope it will lower Bird’s labor and capital costs.
In January, The Information reported that Bird is close to finalizing more than $ 100 million in convertible bonds from some of its existing investors. The debt, which could eventually be converted into shares, would help Bird avoid selling shares at a lower price than previous rounds of donations. However, the company has not yet announced whether this deal has been closed.