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Uber Buys Dockless E-Bike Sharing Startup JUMP for Nearly $200 Million

Author: Eric Walz   

SAN FRANCISCO — Renting a bike using a smartphone app is a growing mobility trend in cities worldwide and Uber wants a piece of the action. The ride-hailing company has purchased JUMP, a dockless e-bike service that allows users to unlock and rent the electric bikes using Uber's smartphone app.

The price was not disclosed. However, TechCrunch reported that an unnamed source valued the deal at "closer to $200 million."

In a blog post this morning, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote: the company confirmed that it had "entered into an agreement to acquire Jump Bikes, an electric, dockless bike-sharing service." He added, "Our hometown pilot is off to a very strong start, with riders enjoying a convenient and environmentally friendly way to cruise up and down our trademark hills."

Jump was the first company to provide stationless bike sharing in San Francisco. Uber first announced in January it was working with jump in a pilot program with 250 of JUMP's e-bikes in San Francisco. Riders in the pilot were able to book one of JUMP's e-bike directly from the Uber app by selecting the "bike" option in the app menu.

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Jump's CEO Ryan Rzepecki wrote in a blog post that his company will "play a significant part in the transition of Uber" to reach many forms of transportation, including biking.

"It soon became clear that with such strong synergies and alignment on mission, Jump could better accomplish its goals if it were part of Uber," Rzepecki wrote in his blog post.

Uber is hoping its acquisition of JUMP will help to stave off competition from rival bike sharing and electric scooter sharing startups, such Ford's GoBike and San Francisco-based Scoot.

Uber's move to bike-rentals makes sense. It can be frustrating for Uber passengers being stuck in traffic several block from their destination, or having to walk to a designated pickup location due to one-way streets or gridlock. Now, riders will be able to locate a nearby JUMP bike, walk to its location and unlock the Uber-bike directly from the app.

In San Francisco, Uber itself is contributing to traffic woes.

According to a recent study by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, on a typical weekday, over 5,700 transportation network company (TNC) vehicles, a majority of them Uber and Lyft cars, operate on San Francisco streets at peak times, with the peak period occurring between 6:30pm and 7:00pm. On Fridays, over 6,500 TNC vehicles are on the street during the peak times.

Click here to read the full report.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshani said on Twitter that many employees at Uber were "super passionate about the (Jump) product."

"Ryan and their passion is why we just had to do this!" Khosrowshani tweeted.

Jump, which is based in Brooklyn, New York, has raised $11.6 million and has 51 to 100 employees, according to Crunchbase.

Having a greater variety of transportation options helps make it increasingly easy to live life without a car, especially in crowded cities.

In a blog post earlier this year, Uber wrote: "We're particularly excited about bikes because they can provide a convenient, environmentally friendly ride even in dense cities where space is limited and roads can be congested."

Currently, Uber and JUMP are limited to having 250 bikes in San Francisco.The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority is expected to evaluate platform's performance to determine if it should be allowed to increase its number of bikes to 500 by September.

Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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