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At Bird, the Word Is Not Bird: It's Layoffs

Illustration for article titled At Bird, the Word Is Not Bird: Its Layoffs
Photo: Jeff Chiu (AP)

Folks, it’s been a rough month for electric scooter startups.

Following news that Lyft laid off dozens of its employees earlier this month in its scooter and bike division, Bird is the latest scooter outfit to cut staff. The Information reported Friday that the company laid off roughly 5 percent of its employees, amounting to a little over three dozen employees in total.


A spokesperson for the e-scooter company told the Information the layoffs came as part of the company’s “shifting needs, geographical business demands and our annual talent review process.” As Bird focuses its energies on service centers in local markets, the spokesperson said that it has “shifting geographic workforce needs.”

Bird, a major player in the ongoing e-scooter takeover of city streets across the globe, saw its valuation double to $2 billion in just four months following two rounds of funding totaling $400 million last summer.


The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported in December that the company’s ambitious goals for additional funding in the hundreds of millions were stalled after interest cooled. Even still, Bird was reported in January to be raising another round of $300 million.

News of the layoffs comes as the company is tightening its belt and shifting its focus from scaling to the “unit economics of the business,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden told the Information. However, the site noted that the company currently has hundreds of listings for open positions, many of which are located in the home of its headquarters Santa Monica.

Earlier this month, Lyft’s scooter and bike division slashed roughly 50 employees, TechCrunch reported at the time. The layoffs, which amounted to a slim one percent of the company’s workforce, reportedly affected staff across departments and markets. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch that the layoffs came as “part of our performance management process.

[The Information]


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Mirror Universe Stig

How is Bird valued at $2 billion? Low barrier to entry, high risk of regulatory backlash, high potential for capital drain (scooters are trashed or dismantled).
I don’t know anything about company valuations, so can somebody explain to be how this one is so high?