[SAN FRANCISCO] Bird, an electric scooter rental company, said on Thursday it had raised US$275 million in a funding round led by Canadian pension fund CDPQ and Sequoia Capital, as it looks to take a bigger share of a rapidly growing transportation sector.
The deal values the firm at US$2.5 billion before the investment, chief executive officer Travis VanderZanden told a tech conference in San Francisco.
Mr VanderZanden said Bird has been working hard to improve its financials, deflecting criticism that the company has been chasing growth at all costs.
The company has designed its own rugged scooters, which last about 15 months on average, compared with the three-month life span it got from retail scooters, he said.
Bird, known for its dockless scooters that riders can locate and unlock through a smartphone app, has enjoyed a stratospheric rise, while also causing mayhem in cities such as San Diego and San Francisco.
It has raised the ire of regulators and residents because the scooters, which can be left anywhere, have littered sidewalks and parks and blocked driveways and doorways. Scooter riders on crowded sidewalks have also caused problems.
A dozen electric scooter companies have received more than US$1.5 billion in investments in total, according to a report issued earlier this year by Boston Consulting Group.