Scooter startup Bird already left San Francisco in February blaming “onerous regulations,” but ten months later they’re declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy as their stock is down 97%, so you have to wonder about their business acumen.
The biggest success story of the 2018 San Francisco scooter craze was the company called Bird, which was valued at $2 billion just months after being founded. But the company came and went in San Francisco. Once we started regulating which companies could do business here, Bird was left out of the mix.
They managed to return by switching to a monthly rental model in 2019. But in February of this year, Bird left the SF market entirely, feeding this news as an exclusive to then-Chronicle columnist Heather Knight, who they seemingly played like a banjo at the Bluegrass Festival, with a top Bird executive complaining that “San Francisco has the most onerous regulations and is the most difficult to operate in of the hundreds of markets we operate in globally.”
Exclusive: Bird, a scooter company with 1,500 electric vehicles in San Francisco, is giving up on the city, saying its fines, overly complicated regulations and poor communication are worse than any of the hundreds of cities it works in.— Heather Knight (@hknightsf) February 17, 2023
My latest column.https://t.co/z2fnl0XuUC
Or maybe Bird was just terrible at doing business? At the time the above article was written, Bird had already been busted for overstating their revenue, and was in the process of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange as their stock plummeted by 97%. And today TechCrunch is reporting that Bird has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
This comes in the wake of that New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) delisting, which happened in September. CNBC explained at the time that even though they raised a half-billion in venture capital, Bird was delisted from the NYSE and was forced to trade on a penny-stock exchange.
Bloomberg adds that Bird “has a tentative deal to sell itself to a Canadian firm,” though that firm is not named in the report.
Well, maybe the regulations were too tough in San Francisco. But we never banned Bird outright here, whereas Bloomberg points out that app-rental scooters have banned in Barcelona, Paris, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Sydney. That outlet adds that “More than one-third of the top 100 cities (worldwide) have banned scooters."
Image: Kevin J. via Yelp