Venture

Ford Pursues “Mobility Smorgasbord” Goal With Acquisition Of Scooter Startup Spin

Update: Previous reports put the acquisition of Spin at $40 million. Sources have since reached out to Crunchbase News to confirm that Ford acquired the company for $100 million.

The scooter space lost a startup today as the sector traded one of its players for a formidable competitor in the form of a major automaker.

As first reported by Axios, Ford has acquired Spin, a modestly funded scooter company that competed with industry-heavyweights Bird and Lime. An Axios source pegs the acquisition at $40 million, which it later updated to $100 million.

Ford, as has been previously reported, is not known to be particularly startup hungry. But that has been changing. As reported by Crunchbase, Ford has acquired three startups, inclusive of Spin, in the past year. That’s the most startups it has acquired in any given year on record, all of which have occurred under the leadership of Ford CEO Jim Hackett.

In particular, the acquisition of Spin directly ties into Hackett’s plan to push Ford beyond just “making vehicles with internal-combustion engines,” as reported by Fortune in September of last year.

When Hackett made this statement, Ford closed the day at $11.62 a share per Yahoo Finance. And unfortunately for Hackett, it doesn’t appear a historical uptick in acquisitions have helped the company drive its share price. Currently, the auto giant is worth $9.60 a share. What impact the Spin acquisition has had on today’s trading appears unknown at this point.

For Spin, however, the acquisition marks a real opportunity to compete against well-funded Scooter incumbents. Compared to Bird and Lime, Spin scrambled for fundraising relevance.

A chart below, which is only inclusive of rounds made up until June 2018, clearly shows the uphill battle Spin faced in the private markets.

However, with Ford and its $38 billion market cap, the team behind Spin now has a more realistic shot at giving Bird, Lime, and their investors a run for their money. And for investors of Spin, who put $8 million into the startup, $100 million is likely a tidy exit.

Dmitry Grishin, managing director and cofounder of Grishin Robotics, said that, “We are excited about next generation of personal mobility. Spin’s team was part of this emerging trend and they have found a great partner in Ford. We belive that this personal mobility phenomenon is global. We see similar dynamics in other countries such as Brazil where we backed Yellow.” Grishin Robotics led Spin’s Series A round.

That said, it’s debatable if scooters will be enough to keep Ford’s CEO out of the crosshairs of impatient public investors.