by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 10, 2018
San Francisco-based ride-hail giant, Uber, has acquired Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Jump Bikes, which operates an on-demand pedal-assist bicycle-sharing service. The dockless bikes self-lock and can be parked anywhere, rather than in a docking station, as used by Manhattan's Citi Bikes.
Uber began partnering with Jump in January, when the Brooklyn-based company launched its bike service in San Francisco as part of a dockless pilot program. Rental of the battery-powered e-bikes is available through both Jump's and Uber's apps. While terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, TechCrunch and several other media outlets have estimated it at close to $200 million.
The aim of the deal, said Ryan Rzepecki, CEO and founder of Jump, is to provide Uber users with a choice of ways to get around crowded cities, especially as bike sharing catches on. Several of Uber's international competitors, including Chinese giant Didi, have invested in or partnered with bike-share startups. For Jump, the deal will allow the company to compete against massively well-funded operators such as Ofo and Mobike, Chinese dockless startups aiming to expand rapidly in the United States.
"Uber's goal is to become a multimodal platform and to reduce the need for personal vehicles," Rzepecki said. "We very much share that goal."
Rzepecki said the early Uber partnership in San Francisco, Uber's home base, has been a success, as Jump's 250 bikes racked up six to seven rides per day, with many of those booked through the Uber app. He added that Jump will keep its research and development offices in Brooklyn, where the company was founded in 2010 as Social Bicycles. The company was the originator of the self-locking dockless bike and operates more than 30 bicycle-sharing services around the world.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement that the acquisition furthers Uber's goal of offering "the fastest or most affordable way to get where you're going, whether that's in an Uber, on a bike, on the subway or more."
Jump bikes can be found in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., with plans to launch in other key cities before the end of 2018.