Uber bought the electric bike startup Jump in 2018 for $200 million.
The company’s red, shiny e-bike technology had an edge over its competitors, promising ease of use and convenience.
A recent Vice report details how just two years at Uber sent the company and its electric bike on a downward spiral.
Former employees told Business Insider that Uber’s New Mobility unit and its leaders lacked bike-share experience, including then-head Rachel Holt.
“They put Rachel Holt in and she had no idea how to run a hardware company,” one former employee told Business Insider. “Most say that she ran it into the ground.”
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The Jump bike was bred out of a vision to make bicycles more accessible to everyone as an alternative to the car.
The company’s electric bike design was an impressive piece of tech — it ran smoothly, and the bikes were convenient and more user-friendly since they didn’t have to be docked in designated stations.
Jump only spent two years of its 10-year lifespan at Uber. But according to a report from Vice’s Aaron Gordon on Tuesday, that was enough to spell its downfall.
The Jump bike’s creator and other founding team members left Uber in January, while most of Jump’s employees were laid off when Uber sold Jump to rival Lime. Shortly after, footage surfaced of tens of thousands of the red-colored machines being disposed of.
Here’s how the Jump bike went from being the brainchild of a reportedly scrappy, spirited, and mission-driven company to ending up being scrapped for parts two years after Uber bought it for $200 million in 2018.
SEE ALSO: The rise and fall of the Segway, the oft-mocked 2-wheeler that was supposed to revolutionize the way we get around cities
Before the firm was dubbed Jump, it was a scrappy contractor called Social Bicycles.
Founder Ryan Rzepecki was inspired by the Parisian bike-share service Velib, according to a June report from Vice’s Aaron Gordon.
He founded Social Bicycles (SoBi) in 2010.
Instead of the bikes being directly available to consumers, the company set out to offer cities the chance to purchase the company’s bikes and docking stations.
The bikes had a GPS system and a built-in lock, and riders could leave the bikes either on the company’s docking stations or on existing bike racks when they were done.
The goal was to make bicycles an accessible mode of transportation for everyone.
Employees were passionate about their mission, and the company had spirit, but the tech was flimsy at the time. One of SoBi’s first customers was the San Francisco International Airport in 2012, and the bikes hardly ever worked.
SoBi finally saw its shining moment in 2016: the company became profitable and rolled out 1,000 bikes in a mega-launch with the Nike-sponsored Biketown program in Portland, Oregon.
But the bike-share arena went from small and cashless to lucrative and booming around this time as Chinese competitors like Mobike picked up steam and soon-to-be rivals like Lime entered the …read more
Source:: Business Insider