Travis VanderZanden is the Founder and CEO of Bird. He earned his MBA from USC in 2007 and later became an executive at both Uber and Lyft. In September 2017, Travis founded Bird and deployed its first scooters. By just May 2018, Bird had already reached a $2 billion valuation at the same time they reached 10 million total rides across all their scooters.
Bird has been transitioning from purchasing scooters from companies like Segway to making their own scooters that are more specialized to the rental industry. The Segway-made scooters are not as rugged and do not have as long of battery life. This is one of the main reasons that investors are liking Bird even more than they have before. Bird’s control over their scooters and ability to make them more efficient than competition make them stand out among other scooter-sharing companies.
Bird has recently announced that it had raised $275 million in a new Series D round that was led by Sequoia Capital and CDPQ. As a result of this successful round of fundraising, Bird now has a valuation of $2.5 billion.
As of now, Bird is losing money as a company, but Bird and it’s lead investor Sequoia Capital both believe that this focus on unit economics is key and will lead Bird towards profitability. The funding is going to lead to even more advanced research for scooters and give them enough cash to operate efficiently.
Although an ongoing question for many in the venture capital space is that there is more capital than there are places to put it. Many feel that Bird has risen too fast, but these upcoming months will be a test to see if they can prove that they are worth the $2.5 billion dollar valuation.