The business here is red-hot right now and it seems to be a good time for investors to jump in and enjoy their share of the pie

The electric two-wheeler industry is suddenly on the rise with a lot of automakers partaking and investing in it; some by manufacturing, some by investing in various mobility services. Recently we heard Musk subtly indicating that Tesla may soon get into electric cycles. General Motors has similar plans as well. The latest addition to this list is the Blue Oval, which announced its arrival in style purchasing Spin - an electric scooter rental firm.

There Seems To Be a Lot Of Scope Here

Ford Doubles Down On Electric Scooters With New Investment
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Spin is a leading company in micro-mobility services and has its presence in 13 cities across the U.S. If sources are to be believed, Ford will be investing around $200 million in Spin, thus, bidding itself in the race to gain market share in an industry that is still in its infant stage.

Spin will go against the likes of Lime and Bird, the other two prominent players.

Lime, founded in 2017, has already reached a valuation of $4 billion, thanks to investments from Godfathers like Google and Uber. Bird, too, has drawn major investments lately and is valued at $2 billion.

The Spin-Off

Ford Doubles Down On Electric Scooters With New Investment
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Spin was founded by Derrick Ko, Euwyn Poon and Zaizhuang Cheng in 2017 and initially began as a dockless bicycle sharing company, but after the sudden explosion in Chinese bike sharing start-ups began to fade, Spin changed direction towards electric scooters.

Now that Ford has acquired Spin, we can see it penetrate cities and geographical locations that it couldn’t before.

Spin said it plans to expand its scooter service "aggressively" into "hundreds of US markets." The company will operate within Ford’s Smart Mobility Group, which also owns Ford’s Chariot ride-hailing service that operates in London and New York.

The Business Model

Ford Doubles Down On Electric Scooters With New Investment
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Spin, Lime, and Bird follow a simple b-plan.

They buy e-scooters from companies like China’s Ninebot for $100-$300 and equip them with a wireless internet connection.

These scooters are then rented out for short distances and short periods of time via mobile phone apps, typically at a flat rate of $1 plus 15 cents per minute.

Our Take

Ford Doubles Down On Electric Scooters With New Investment
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Although a clever move by Ford, it seems a little unclear as to why Ford would acquire a slow-moving company with a meager history. Given the Blue Oval’s sheer size, it could have partnered with the manufacturer Ninebot – from which Spin purchases e-scooters - directly instead of becoming its vendor.

According to Axios, Ford paid a $100 million to acquire Spin when it reportedly carried a price tag of $40 million.

Nevertheless, the spell has been cast, and it’s time for Ford to earn its money back. The company aims to roll out scooters in more than 100 cities from 2020. Can Spin take on the likes of Lime and Bird? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Note: all images courtesy of Ford.

The number of mobility options available to people has risen dramatically in recent years. In some situations, people use multiple forms of transportation during a single trip. The fast-paced, often experimental mobility sector requires businesses to keep up with agile and adaptable customers. At Ford, the products and services we offer need to reflect these changes.

Today, we are excited to be accelerating our efforts to provide micro-mobility solutions with the acquisition of Spin, a dockless electric scooter sharing company based in San Francisco. Spin is a leading micro-mobility service provider, with operations in 13 cities and campuses across the US.

Spin is committed to working hand-in-hand with cities and universities to implement micro-mobility solutions responsibly, safely and sustainably as they expand their operations. They do not launch without permission; they share usage data with cities; and they work with local officials and university campuses to design educational tools around parking and riding rules. This approach aligns well with our values at Ford and with our aspiration to be the world’s most trusted company.

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