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Bird Gets Grounded

Electric scooter company files for Chapter 11, says city operations will continue

Electric scooter company Bird, founded in 2017 by a former Lyft and Uber executive and initially valued at around $2 billion at its NYSE debut, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, according to a December 20 press release. The company ,which also makes electric bikes and has a bikesharing branch, has current operations in 16 countries, but only two in the U.S. (Miami and Lincoln, Nebraska), according to its interactive map.

Electric scooter company Bird may have had one of the best slogans in recent memory ("Give gas the Bird"), shown here on a virtual NYSE billboard in Times Square, New York City, but it is struggling of late and just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.—Bird/NYSE photo

The scooters are considered part of the "micromobility" sphere, which would be a subset of the "e-mobility" industry. TechCrunch's Paul Sawers noted that Bird's filing marks the latest in a series of "micromobility" stumbles over the past year:

"This latest news comes just a day after competitor was delisted from the Nasdaq over its failing stock price, three years after it too went public via a SPAC merger. And in Europe, dockless scooter startup Tier recently laid off 22% of its workforce, which followed Dutch e-bike startup VanMoof’s bankruptcy proceedings.

So all in all, it hasn’t been a great year for the micromobility realm."

Miami-based Bird Global, Inc., once considered a leader in the environmentally friendly electric form of transportation, said in the press release that its entry into the financial restructuring process is "aimed at strengthening its balance sheet and better positioning the company for long-term, sustainable growth."

Importantly, the company added that "Bird will operate as usual during this process, maintaining the same service for its riders and upholding its commitments to partner cities, fleet managers, and employees."

The company's brass also conveyed it as a positive decision: "This announcement represents a significant milestone in Bird's transformation, which began with the appointment of new leadership early this year," said Bird Interim CEO Michael Washinushi. "We are making progress toward profitability and aim to accelerate that progress by right-sizing our capital structure through this restructuring. We remain focused on our mission to make cities more livable by using micromobility to reduce car usage, traffic, and carbon emissions."

During and after the restructuring process, Mr. Washinushi will continue as Interim CEO, supported by Board Chair John Bitove, President Stewart Lyons, and CFO Joseph Prodan. Last week, Harvey L. Tepner joined the Board of Directors as an Independent Director, and Philip Evershed resigned from the Board of Directors.


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