Venture Capital Deals Of The Week: Electric Scooter Race Heats Up

by: VCDeals

Electric scooter wars: Uber (UBER) and Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) GV participated in the $335M round for electric scooter and bike rental service Lime. The round also included IVP, Atomico, and Fidelity. The round brought total funding up to $467M with valuation topping $1B.

Uber will start renting Lime’s scooters through its app in addition to the funding. Uber and Lyft (LYFT) have expressed interest in applying for electric scooter permits in San Francisco. Lime will use the funds to expand its global expansion beyond its current 46 cities.

Competition: Bird, which has $400M in venture capital from the likes of Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures. Lyft recently acquired bike-sharing company Motivate for a rumored $250M.

Starbucks competition: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) competitor Luckin Coffee raised $200M to take on the java giant in the Chinese market. The round included Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and brought Luckin’s valuation up to $1B.

Luckin offers on-demand coffee delivery and in less than a year since formation has opened 525 stores in 13 cities across China. Starbucks has 3K stores in the region and said same-store sales would be flat to slightly negative in the April to June period. Luckin plans to use its new funding on product research, tech innovation, and business development.

WeWork competition: WeWork (VWORK) competitor Convene raised $152M in a Series D round led by ArrowMark Partners with participation from Revolution Growth. The round brought total funding up to $260M.

Convene says it has 23 locations and 700K square feet of office space. Locations include New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Convene wants to expand globally and add around 1M additional square feet in 10 locations by the end of 2019.

Electronics recycling: (NASDAQ:JD) participated in a $150M round in smartphone and consumer electronics recycling company Aihuishou. Tiger Global Management led the round, which gave the startup a unicorn valuation of over $1.5B.

Aihuishou uses a C2B model, collecting electronics from consumers to sell to businesses. The company has 260 physical stores and around 2K recycling machines. Transaction volume reached $598M last year, up 135%. The funding will go towards expanding the C2B business overseas to Hong Kong, Dubai, and Miami.

Competition: Huishoubao, which has $60M in total funding with SMC Capital China among its backers.

Autonomous vehicle mapping: Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Didi Chuxing (DIDI) and BAIC Group participated in a $60M round in mapping startup DeepMap, according to The Information. The round brought DeepMap’s valuation up as high as $430M.

DeepMap produces detailed maps for self-driving vehicles and the funding deepens its ties to China, where autonomous vehicles could first launch to consumers.

Competition: Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is the big competitor in the Chinese market. The company’s open source Project Apollo platform has essentially become the Android of self-driving vehicles with partnerships with major automakers and tech players like Ford, Nvidia, and Microsoft.

Japanese fintech: Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) participated in a $55M Series C round in Japanese fintech startup Paidy. Local trade conglomerate Itochu Corporation led the round, which brought total funding up to $80M.

Paidy lets customers shop online without a credit card. Japan has a high credit card penetration rate but a low usage rate even for e-commerce. Shoppers tend to pay cash on delivery or at convenience stores. Paidy lets users check out with a mobile phone number and email address, which Paidy authenticates with an SMS or voice code. Customers settle their bills once a month at a convenience store or through a bank transfer.

Paidy says there are 1.4M active accounts with a goal of reaching 11M by 2020 and expanding to offline transactions and bigger merchants.