Bird to launch dockless e-scooter in Canada this summer

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Bird, an electric scooter sharing company based in Santa Monica, California, is bringing its dockless e-scooters to Canada this summer, and will form a subsidiary company, Bird Canada.

“Alberta is leading the way in Canada by offering residents and commuters an innovative, fun, and affordable way to travel.”

Bird Canada will have access to Bird’s tools, products, and technology to manage its fleet of shared e-scooters. The company will launch in Alberta in July and plans to expand its fleet of e-scooters and other commuter solutions to other communities across Canada soon after. The company said it chose Alberta for its launch location due to its work in addressing the effects of climate change and traffic congestion, by embracing e-scooters as a means to reduce the number of cars on the road.

“Bird Canada is committed to providing alternative transportation options that are desirable for consumers and that reduce traffic congestion,” Bird Canada CEO, Stewart Lyons. “Alberta is leading the way in Canada by offering residents and commuters an innovative, fun, and affordable way to travel between transit centers, their workplace, and other destinations within cities.”

The company said Bird Canada will be Canadian-owned and -operated, and has committed capital from Obelysk, Relay Ventures, and Alate Partners, a real estate tech initiative, which launched with $40 million in Seed funding in November. In addition to being a chairman of Bird Canada, Bitove is the founder of the Toronto Raptors, brought satellite radio provider SiriusXM to Canada, and founded national wireless provider Mobilicity. Stewart Lyons, a SiriusXM Canada and Mobilicity co-founder, has joined Bird Canada as CEO.

“As a platform partner to Bird, the global market leader and pioneering e-scooter sharing company, we are bringing the best micro-mobility solution possible to Canadian communities,” said John Bitove, chairman of Bird Canada. “Together with Relay Ventures and Alate Partners we have committed significant resources to ensuring a strong national launch for this important, transportation alternative for Canadians.”

Alberta has been making big moves in cleantech this year. In February, the Government of Canada announced an investment of close to $13 million in four Calgary-based cleantech companies. In March, Emissions Reduction Alberta announced 16 projects to receive $100 million specializing in biotechnology, electricity, and sustainable transportation. In May, the City of Edmonton introduced out new legislation to allow e-scooters and e-bikes on city streets.

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Bird was founded in September 2017 by Travis VanderZanden, a former executive at Lyft and Uber. The company operates electric scooters in over 100 cities throughout North America and Europe, with 10 million rides tracked in its first year of operation.

The company’s offering involves an app through which a user can search for available scooters nearby. Before starting a trip, the user inputs their payment information and scans a code on the scooter, which initiates the trip. To end the trip, the user parks the scooter in the middle of the sidewalk, then ends the ride through Bird’s app.

“Everyone should have access to micro-mobility options that help make cities more livable,” said VanderZanden. “Bird Canada makes this vision a reality for Canadians by delivering a sustainable and affordable transportation alternative and advances our shared climate and traffic reduction goals. The Bird Canada team’s deep local knowledge and operating experience coupled with Bird’s expertise in service, operations, safety, and technology are an ideal combination to address the transportation needs of all Canadians.”

Image courtesy Bird via Instagram

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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