Things have soured at Lime ($PRIVATE:LIMEBIKE).
The app-based scooter rental company is ceasing operations in a handful of sites, including Atlanta, Phoenix, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and one European location and laying off 100 staffers in the process.
Job postings at Lime, and its unicorn-sized competitor Bird ($PRIVATE:BIRD), have both been scaling jack on job postings after the scooter startups took off on a wave of hype thanks to early adopters on the West Coast. In our next chart, we can see precisely when Lime hiring began to outpace that of Bird's, in early 2019.
The difficulties experienced by 'big scooter' mirror those being played out in other mostly unregulated, highly-competitive, app-enabled businesses in food delivery or temporary space rental. And, sometimes, when a scooter company packs up its gear and heads out of town, it's not necessarily a result of corporate downsizing - much like home rental startups and automobile ridesharing companies faced as they developed a user base, big scooter is coming under lawmakers' and regulators' scrutiny, or being legislated out of town entirely.
Lime and Bird have both been chasing scale in physical markets but where Lime's advantage becomes clearer is in its Google ($GOOG) Play Store Ratings Count, which reflects how often users submit ratings when asked for input on the quality of an app. Here, Lime's Google Store Rating Count has risen to nearly 100,000 - roughly three times greater than that of Bird. Plus, it's Google Store Average Rating of nearly 4.5 signals consumers are happier with Lime's app and bikes, although both startups have seen consumer sentiment in this metric (not shown) begin to decline in recent months).
So, user sentiment may be souring, as well.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.