Startups

The Numbers Making Lime A Serious Competitor In Ridesharing

Scooter and bike sharing company Lime recently announced that it has surpassed 6 million rides, and that it achieved this number within a year of its launch in June 2017. The new figures cement scooters, at least for now, as a key player in the domestic ridesharing market that has launched super-giants such as Lyft and Uber.

From Bikes To Scooters

In December 2017, Lime reached one million rides sourced only from its bikes. Lime’s electric scooters didn’t debut until February 2018. By May 2018, however, Lime reported that its users had recorded three million rides on its bikes and scooters.

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While Lime has given the market a number of data points, Bird, another electric scooter sharing company, has been less generous. Bird announced in April 2018 that it had reached one million rides. That’s it.

Because of the meager statistics here, we will have to do some guesswork to make the comparison between the two work. But, with the information that is available, here is how the two companies currently compare:

Lime has raised 86 percent of its capital since it debuted electric scooters. (More notes on Lime’s fundraising can be found here.) That is because scooters proved to be a hit. As such, we can infer that a large percentage of Lime rides since the debut of scooters were, in fact, taken on scooters themselves.

You can select any number you’d like, but given the company’s growth rate after scooters, we’ve decided—for argument’s sake—to presume that 80 percent of Lime rides reported may have been scooter-enabled. From that educated guess (based on the firm’s reported results), we can loosely infer 1.6 million Lime scooter rides between December 2017 and May 2018. That’s more than the scooter-only Bird reported around the same ending period.1

Using the same 80 percent estimate, we can quickly calculate that Lime may have reached 4 million scooter rides by July—about half a year after it launched its scooting service.

In two months from May to July, Lime’s rides may have doubled from 3 million to 6 million. If the firm stopped growing and continued at an estimated pace of 1.5 million rides per month, it’s possible Lime reached 13.5 million rides in total. However, the company has likely continued to grow.

A bit more math can be done here to see how these rides are turned into revenue. In a Crunchbase News article in May, Alex Wilhelm estimated that a reasonable guess for the average revenue per scooter ride to be about $2.50. With that number, we can estimate that Lime so far had generated $15 million in revenue with its 6 million rides. By the end of the year, revenue could reach $33.75 million. This number pales compared to its roughly $1 billion valuation.

The firm will end 2018 on a far higher run rate, however, than it started on. As such, investors may wrap up the year on two small wheels with one big smile.

Article contributions made by Alex Wilhelm.

  1. We’re stuck with some pre- and post-scooter launch data points, and thus are working with little data and much intuition. This is how covering startups sometimes goes.

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