Originally posted here.
Photo courtesy of South Bend Tribune.
South Bend’s fleet of LimeBikes is expected to more than double by the end of the year, thanks to a fresh injection of $50 million in investment Monday for the fledgling bike-share business.
California-based LimeBike began operating in the South Bend area in July, and now has more than 800 bikes in its only pilot market in the Midwest. The lime-green bikes can also be found in 10 other U.S. cities, including Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Dallas.
The new influx of funds is expected to help the company expand into additional markets and increase the number of bikes in cities that already have LimeBike, including South Bend.
LimeBike spokesperson Mary Caroline Pruitt said more bikes are on the way, and that the tally in the South Bend area will exceed 2,000 bikes by the end of the year. Pruitt said no bikes will be removed from South Bend’s streets during the winter months.
“Part of the funding will be used towards expanding our services locally,” Pruitt said. “We will begin adding more bikes to city streets over the next few weeks.”
In an online letter, LimeBike CEO Toby Sun said the groundswell of financial backing can also help the bike-share business break into new markets.
“This is an important milestone for all of us,” Sun wrote. “Not only does it allow LimeBike to advance our goal of operating in over 30 cities and colleges by 2018, but it solidifies our role as the leader in U.S. dockless bike sharing technology.”
Monday’s Series B round $50 million investment comes from Coatue Management, along with GGV Capital, Franklin Templeton Investments, Section 32, AME Cloud Ventures, Stanford-StartX Fund, Kevin Durant and previous investors Andreessen Horowitz and DCM Ventures. The funding announcement follows LimeBike’s founding in January, its original $12 million investment to kick-start the company in March and the start of bike operations in June.
Sun said the funds will allow the company to reach a national total of 100,000 bikes by the end of this year.
“With the additional funds, our fleet of 10,000 bikes will increase tenfold by year’s end, along with significant upgrades to our operations, bike design, and mobile apps,” Sun said.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said the city looks forward to a continued partnership with LimeBike.
“We’ve been impressed with LimeBike since they rolled out in July,” Buttigieg said. “The dockless system has lower access barriers than normal bike shares, so its use has been inclusive and spread throughout the city. We also see indications that individuals are using it as transportation to and from work.”
City planning director Tim Corcoran said there has been both positive and negative feedback on the bikes, but that increase in bikes should help improve their accessibility and reduce the need for LimeBike employees to move bikes.
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