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Jump is also looking to raise a new round of funding.
Bike-sharing and ride-hailing have obvious parallels: Fighting local regulatory battles and coming up against an entrenched incumbent while trying to transform the way people travel.
That has led to a sharing of top talent between the two industries. The top ranks at most of the bike-sharing companies are littered with Uber and Lyft alumni, and now Jump, which has a partnership with Uber, is bringing on Aaron Schildkrout, Uber’s former head of driver product, to help advise the company as an independent board director.
Jump already has at least three former Uber employees in its management ranks, including COO Kenny Tsai, who was previously the general manager of Uber Freight.
Former Uber execs have gone on to found bike- or scooter-sharing startups, such as Travis VanderZanden, who started scooter sharing company Bird. There is also Davis Wang, the CEO of dockless bike-sharing company Mobike, and Chris Taylor, an executive at Chinese bike share company Ofo.
Schildkrout, who first came into contact with the Jump team at Uber while members of his team negotiated the partnership, is joining its five-member board, which includes Jump CEO Ryan Rzepecki and Menlo Ventures partner Shawn Carolan, who led his firm’s investment in Uber.
For Jump, Schildkrout brings a number of things to the table: In addition to his network and connections with Uber, Schildkrout has critical experience to lend from heading up the data science team and then the growth team, followed by leading the teams that managed the rider and then driver apps and services at Uber.
“While I was at Uber, I observed — up close — the incredible power of the product-market fit achieved by ride-sharing,” Schildkrout told Recode. “Jump’s dockless e-bike feels very reminiscent of that, only we’re still in inning one or two.”
Dockless bike- and scooter-sharing companies have seen intense momentum in the last 18 months, with investors pouring funds into the space. Ofo closed an $ 866 million funding round earlier this week; it has now raised a total of $ 2.2 billion. Bird closed a $ 100 million round weeks after the company closed its initial $ 15 million series A round.
Dockless bike and scooter sharing is a highly capital-intensive industry — given the costs of operating a fleet of bikes. That is compounded by the addition of e-bikes and scooters. That’s why Jump is in the middle of raising a growth round.
In January, the company was the only dockless bike service to receive a permit to operate in San Francisco. In February, the first full month of operation, Jump says the company saw around four trips for each of its 250 bikes a day at an average distance of 2.6 miles per trip.
Jump, previously called Social Bikes, only recently began operating its own fleet of dockless bikes. Prior to that it sold dockless bikes to a variety of clients like small fleet operators in more than 40 markets.
While Rzepecki said it was harder to raise funds as the company was repositioning from an equipment seller to a fleet operator, Jump’s years of experience working with local governments has been a clear advantage as the company scales.
Some of its competitors have rolled out its services in major markets as well as smaller towns and college campuses. Rzepecki said he doesn’t believe the latter two will be sustainable because the utlization rates won’t be high enough. That’s why Jump has its eye primarily on major markets both here and in Europe.
The company’s ambitions will certainly require a great deal of capital. But as investors place their bets on bike- or scooter-sharing companies, there will likely be consolidation among those that are struggling to attract funding.
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