Bird, a leading micro-mobility company founded in 2017, has just completed a $275 million Series D round of venture capital funding with CDPQ and Sequoia Capital leading the round.
This announcement by Bird CEO and founder Travis VanderZanden occurred on October 3 at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. Bird's pre-money valuation now sits at $2.5 billion.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a major investment firm in Quebec that manages public pensions amounting to C$300 billion. CDPQ invested US$50 million in Bird, since its investment strategy wants to connect with innovative tech companies in sustainable mobility, said Jeffrey R. Smith, Senior Managing Director of Digital Investment Strategy at CDPQ.
"This new partnership also supports our commitment to take part in the transition toward a less carbon-intensive global economy," Smith said.
VanderZanden stated in an interview with TechCrunch's Megan Rose Dickey that for the past year, positive unit economics has been Bird's top priority for a sustainable long-term business. This ideology departs from that of many startups and emerging companies, whose focus seems to be on top line growth and revenue building. By only focusing on top line growth, companies can easily compare themselves to one another, without taking their profitability fully into account.
"Instead of spending to grow the company at any cost, our focus is to improve the revenue generated by each single Bird electric scooter," said VanderZanden. "We tend to take a very punitive view on unit economics and for us, that's fully loaded costs per ride, including depreciation of the vehicle, which of course, is one of the bigger costs for us."
Sequoia Capital, an American venture capital firm, led Bird's $300 million Series C round back in June when partner Roelef Botha joined Bird's board. Sequoia also admires Bird's focus on unit economics.
"The degree to which they were devoted to and accomplished strong contribution margins in a compressed timeline is rare for a company so early on in its development," Botha said. "We are thrilled to strengthen our commitment to Bird and look forward to seeing continued progress on their path to profitability."
Since June, Bird has been diversifying past its trademark electric scooter. Bird acquired Scoot for less than $25 million, which added bicycles and mopeds to Bird's offerings. Also, the company has begun selling e-scooters to its customers and unveiled the Bird Cruiser, its first two-seater electric bicycle.
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