How Lime's Bikes Will Survive New York's Urban Jungle

July 6, 2018

By Jacqueline Corba

Lime is bringing its dockless bike-share fleet to New York City, but it'll have to prove itself far-off Broadway before it gets a chance to bask in the spotlight of Manhattan.

Since its launch barely a year ago, Lime's dockless bikes and scooters have been an enormous success on the West Coast, starting with its first metropolitan market in Seattle. The company is now serving 70 markets across the United States and Europe.

But until now, New York City riders had to content themselves with the ubiquitous Citi Bike program.

Lime will initially roll out in the outer boroughs. But Lime's Vice President of Marketing, Business Development, and International Expansion Caen Contee said the company's expansion deeper into the city isn't so far off.

"We're not talking about months, we're not talking about a massive amount of time to really see the impact in these areas," Contee told Cheddar Friday. "We think that will show what we need as we continue to prove the ability to move into other parts of New York."

Lime will roll-out 200 bikes in the Rockaways and the North Shore. It is one of five start-ups selected for the pilot program in partnership with the Department of Transportation.

But New York isn't Seattle, and a natural question for Lime is how it'll overcome the rampant theft of bikes that has plagued the concrete jungle of Manhattan for decades.

Contee says Lime has only see less than 1% of theft or vandalism across its entire fleet. Technology such as accelerometer sensors, and GPS enables the team to act fast to prevent theft.

The San Mateo based start-up has raised $132 Million in funding to date, with more capital on the way. Alphabet is joining a $300 million financing round in Lime, according to the Financial Times. Contee said Lime remains in a capital intensive mode, but did not confirm the reports of Alphabet funding.

"It's a lot about building for the long term, which is part of what we've done from day one," said Contee.

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