June 28, 2018 / 5:28 PM / 5 months ago

Scooter startup Bird raises $300 million in latest funding round

FILE PHOTO: A smart phone app time-of-use electric scooter from Bird Rides Inc. is shown parked next to a sidewalk in San Diego, California, U.S., May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Scooter company Bird, which has enjoyed a stratospheric rise while also causing mayhem in cities such as San Francisco, said on Thursday it raised $300 million as it looks to dominate a burgeoning transportation sector.

The most recent financing values Bird at $2 billion, according to a source close to the matter.

The funding round is Bird’s third this year, after making its debut in Southern California last autumn, and puts its total financing at $418 million, a spokeswoman said, an unusually quick accumulation of cash for an early-stage startup.

Santa Monica, California-based Bird is an electric scooter service, providing dockless scooters that users can locate and unlock through a smartphone app.

It has enjoyed fanfare in several cities, but has also in places raised the ire of regulators and residents because the scooters, which can be left anywhere, have littered sidewalks and parks and blocked driveways and doorways. Scooter riders on crowded sidewalks have also caused problems.

San Francisco city officials issued a ban on scooters this month, requiring the companies first obtain permits and mandating a cap on the number of scooters allowed. Other electric scooter providers include Lime and Ofo. Ride-hailing companies Lyft Inc and Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] are also getting into the scooter business.

The $300 million round was led by Sequoia Capital, and joined by investors Accel, B Capital, CRV, Sound Ventures, Greycroft and e.ventures, the company said. Sequoia’s investing partner Roelof Botha will join Bird’s board of directors.

The company proposes to be a last-mile transportation solution, offering commuters an alternative to cars for travel between a public transit station and the final destination, for instance.

Bird raised $15 million from investors in February and another $100 million round in March.

Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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