Bird, an electric scooter company once celebrated as a fast-growing unicorn, has filed for bankruptcy protection. This development reflects the challenges faced by the personal transportation sector. Despite securing $25 million in financing from Apollo Global Management’s MidCap Financial and second-lien lenders, Bird's future remains uncertain.
Michael Washinushi, Bird's interim CEO, continues to lead the company as it explores options, including potentially selling assets. Bird's financial troubles became evident a year ago when it warned investors of its dire need for funding to remain operational.
Bird's struggles are not isolated. The sector has seen other companies like Micromobility.com (formerly Helbiz) being delisted from Nasdaq, and Tier Mobility undergoing multiple rounds of layoffs.
Launched in 2017, Bird rapidly expanded with substantial backing from major Silicon Valley investors such as Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners. It raised over half a billion in venture capital and went public in 2021 through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
However, Bird's rapid growth led to mounting losses. The company faced delisting from the New York Stock Exchange in September after admitting to overstating its revenue for more than two years, leading to the departure of its founder, Travis VanderZanden, in June.
Bird scooters are present in over 350 cities globally, but the bankruptcy filing does not affect its Canadian and European operations, which will continue as usual. The company's presence has not been without controversy, as cities like Paris have banned e-scooter rentals due to issues like sidewalk clutter, although private e-scooters are still permitted.