How Uber Won the Bike Battle for Lime

July 10, 2018

By Michael Teich

Uber is driving itself to the center of the scooter scuffle with its strategic partnership with Lime, a deal that will allow users to eventually request an electric scooter through its app.

Axios reporter Dan Primack, who broke the story, says there's a key advantage to the bike-sharing company choosing Uber as a partner over rival Lyft.

"One of the big reasons Lime wanted to partner with Uber is because Uber has much deeper geographic penetration, especially internationally," Primack said in an interview on Cheddar Tuesday. On top of that, "Uber has the deepest pockets right now. "

A fragile relationship with city officials, though, could hold back Uber and Lime from a complete transportation takeover. San Francisco is only granting five permits for companies to operate a dock-less, rentable electric scooter programs on city streets. While Primack said it's still unclear whether either company will be one of the chosen, he noted that Lime's survival does not depend on the SF market because it is already in 80 other regions.

"It wouldn't be end of world if they didn't get into San Francisco."

Despite sky-high valuations for scooter companies such as Lime and Bird, Primack told Cheddar it is unlikely that the industry is in a bubble. He also does not expect the deals in the scooter business to lose momentum, predicting that we could soon see Uber fully acquire Lime.

"My guess is that it would happen quick," he said.

For the full segment, click here.