eScooter Startup Lime Exits 12 Markets, Fires 14 Pct. Of Staff

Lime is striving to reach profitability in 2020 and is laying off about 14 percent of its workforce — roughly 100 people — and ceasing operations in 12 markets, according to reports on Thursday (Jan. 9).

Lime CEO Brad Bao said in an online statement that the company “made a difficult decision” to leave locations where “micromobility has evolved more slowly.” Lime is shuttering operations in Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Antonio in the US; Linz, Austria in Europe; and Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Lima, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo in Latin America.

“These market closures have an effect not just on riders, but on our whole Lime community. To our full-time and temporary employees and our Juicers, many of whom have been with us every step of the way – thank you,” Bao said.

He added that the company is “hopeful we can reintroduce Lime back into these communities when the time is right.”

The Silicon Valley transportation startup was founded in 2017 as LimeBike, rolling out with 500 bicycles in Seattle. Since then it rebranded as Lime and penetrated more than 120 cities with its electric scooters, electric bikes, pedal bikes and car-sharing systems. A $335 million funding round in 2018 resulted in a $1.1 billion valuation, making it a unicorn.

“We’re very confident that in 2020, Lime will be the first next-generation mobility company to be profitable,” Lime president Joe Kraus told Axios. He added that the company will still move into new markets despite the exits and layoffs now.

Kraus also said Lime is not looking to sell “but could be interested in being on the other side of the M&A table.”

Lime joins Bird, Skip, Scoot, and Lyft in laying off its scooter-related employees in recent months. Bird let 5 percent of its workers go in March and Lyft laid off up to 50 people last month.

Last month Lime announced the rollout of a new subscription offering. LimePass will be released in cities across the nation, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. More global markets planned for this month.