Uber is buying bicycle-sharing startup Jump Bikes, with the goal of making Jump another offering in the Uber app.
The two companies have already been working together. In January, Uber began piloting the service in San Francisco, offering $2 rides for 30 minutes.
Incredibly excited to work with Ryan and the @jumpbikes team to make Jump a part of our Urban mobility future. Lots of team members @Uber were super passionate about the product. Ryan and their passion is why we just had to do this! https://t.co/kmApdqk4Vm
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) April 9, 2018
Founded in 2010, Jump has specialized in “dockless” bicycles, which can be rented out without the need to park them at fixed docking stations. They can instead be locked to existing bike racks or parking structures.
Starting in 2017, the company took the concept and applied it to electric bicycles. Prior to Monday’s acquisition, Jump was offering its own electric bike-sharing service in Washington, DC, and then San Francisco, when it began partnering with Uber to help rent the bicycles out.
Jump only has 250 electric bikes in San Francisco, but so far customer response to the program has been “incredible,” said Jump CEO Ryan Rzepecki in a blog post.
Rzepecki says he was initially wary of partnering with Uber. “We expected to find a toxic work environment and a broken culture,” he wrote, noting Uber’s bad headlines at the time.
“Instead, everyone we met was smart, passionate, and genuinely wanted to help our team succeed,” Rzepecki said. Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has also helped change the company’s culture, he added.
Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, Uber is retaining the Jump brand.
No timetable has been given on when the company will expand the bike sharing to other cities. But a lot of it may depend on city regulators. In San Francisco, for instance, Jump only has a permit to operate 250 dockless electric bikes. The city will consider letting Jump add more, but only after nine months of evaluation.