Uber is exploring the possibility of acquiring one of the hot new scooter startups that sped headlong onto the transportation tech scene this year, according to multiple reports.
Citing anonymous sources, The Information and The Financial Times report that Uber has held acquisition talks with Bird, the Santa Monica-based company that operates rentable electric scooters in cities around the country.
Uber is also reportedly having early discussions with Lime, the company behind the bright green bicycles for rent in Seattle. Lime also has its own fledgling e-scooter business but scooter-share is prohibited in Seattle.
Uber declined to comment on the reports. A Lime spokesperson said, “Lime does not comment on speculation and rumor. We are focused on building an independent company.” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said, “Bird is not for sale,” in a statement.
Either deal would be expensive for Uber. Both startups are heavily funded and valued at more than $1 billion, though their business model is unproven.
But an acquisition would further Uber’s ambitions to become an on-demand mobility app, offering travelers a wide range of transportation options. Uber furthered that goal in April with the acquisition of electric bike-share company JUMP. The service launched in Seattle in November.