Bird Canada, the Toronto-based electric scooter and bike-sharing company, has saved its financially struggling Miami-based international counterpart, Bird Global, in a merger that will provide Bird Global with $32 million in capital.
The deal, first announced in late December and closed in early January, will also see the installation of new Canadian management at Bird Global in the roles of president, chief financial officer and vice-president, corporate development and strategy. It will also give Bird Canada’s funders five of nine seats on Bird Global’s board of directors.
Bird Canada, originally launched in 2019, operates on Bird Global’s platform — which includes branding, vehicles and technology — but is independently owned. “We are excited to join the Bird leadership team as they continue their global leading platform in micromobility,” said John Bitove, chair of Bird Canada, in a press release. “We have operated profitably in Canada since we launched the business and we believe our management team’s maniacal operating focus on profitability and customer service will help drive Bird’s global business to new heights.”
Bird Canada currently operates in 10 cities across the country including Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton. Over the last four years, Bird Canada says its e-scooters and e-bikes have been used by Canadians for more than three million trips traveling eight million kilometers.
“This year, more than ever, Canadians have demonstrated that they are embracing the transportation modal shift — increased e-scooters and e-bikes trips show that micromobility vehicles are a reliable, safe and sustainable way to travel, and we cannot wait to bring our technology to more Canadian cities in 2023,” said Bird Canada COO Alexandra Petre in a November statement marking the close of its 2022 season.
Unlike its Canadian merger partner, over the last year, Bird Global has been struggling financially. The company laid off 23% of its workforce in June and pulled out operations in some European markets, including Germany, Sweden and Norway. According to Bird Global’s Q3 2022 financial reports, the company lost $322 million in the first nine months of last year. Its financial statement added a “going concern” warning that if it couldn’t raise enough money, Bird Global would need to cut back operations or seek bankruptcy protection.
The merger with Bird Canada is meant to add “additional profitable operations to Bird’s global platform while consolidating North American operations,” says Bird Global. Stewart Lyons, Bird Canada’s CEO, is expected to now join Bird Global as president. Bitove, meanwhile, becomes vice-president, corporate development and strategy, while Michael Washinushi, most recently CFO for FreshBooks, becomes CFO.
“After four years of building the most successful operator in the Bird Global network, we are very excited to bring our lean operating philosophy and proven experience in shared micromobility to Bird Global,” says Lyons.
SOURCE | IMAGES: ELECTRICAUTONOMY
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