Lime Scooter Startup Is Now Going to be Worth $2 billion

By Theodore Schleifer, Recode / Posted on January 17, 2019

The two-year-old scooter-sharing company Lime is finalizing a new round of fundraising that values the company at about $2 billion excluding the new cash, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lime is expected to take in $400 million in a round financed primarily by its existing investors, the people said. The money is expected to arrive in an initial tranche of $300 million followed by a second $100 million investment.

Lime in recent days has been circulating documents to some of its smaller shareholders and gauging interest in the new fundraising round. Its larger backers include not just venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz but also several strategic investors — and maybe someday, buyers? — like Uber and Google’s parent company Alphabet. Some new investors such as Bain Capital Ventures are expected to participate.

Lime declined to comment. Some of the earlier financing details were reported by the Wall Street Journal and Axios.

So, are electric scooters still the next big thing?

Well, the $2 billion valuation, while impressive given the age of the company, reflects humbler ambitions for Lime, which reportedly was initially pitching investors on a valuation that was almost two times as high as the one it ended up securing in this round. The heat around scooter-sharing companies has cooled considerably in recent months: Lime’s primary competitor, Bird, has similarly scaled back some of its fundraising hopes and is raising money at a flat share price.

The company’s price tag also refects the new stakes for Lime’s management team, which has had to rapidly scale its operations and C-suite over the last year. One big question over the next few months is whether Lime’s leadership, led by CEO Toby Sun, will be able to take the company to the next level, especially given its dollar-for-dollar, scooter-for-scooter war with Bird and its CEO, Travis VanderZanden.

Lime this November brought on a highly regarded chief operating officer, veteran tech player Joe Kraus, from Alphabet’s early-stage investing arm, GV.