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Bird Rides takes its electric scooters to Paris, Tel Aviv

San Francisco

ELECTRIC scooter-rental startup Lime has sold investors on its global vision, and archrival Bird Rides Inc doesn't want to get left behind.

On Tuesday, Bird said that it would, for the first time, tiptoe outside the US, launching pilot programmes in Paris and Tel Aviv.

Both Lime and Bird built war chests worth several hundred million apiece this summer, valuing the scooter-rental companies at US$1 billion and US$2 billion, respectively.

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Uber Technologies Inc recently announced an investment in Lime, which has scooters in more than 70 cities in the US and Europe, including Paris.

Both startups are less than two years old.

Bird, based in Los Angeles, had stuck to US cities since its founding in April 2017.

The company announced on Tuesday evening that it had hired an executive to lead operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, signalling that it has broad global ambitions.

The company said in a statement that scooters would be available in Paris immediately and in Tel Aviv "in the coming weeks" as part of a pilot programme with Tel Aviv University.

"We are honoured to be able to offer our solution to Paris, Tel Aviv, and - down the road - to more cities as we work toward our goal of getting cars off of the road and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions," Bird chief executive officer Travis VanderZanden said in a statement. BLOOMBERG