Lime, a dockless electric bicycle and scooter startup, is set to fire up its first expansion into the UK market through a soft launch that is planned in Milton Keynes.
The company is based in San Francisco and is valued at $3 billion (£2.3 billion). According to the Sunday Telegraph, it is exploring an office in the United Kingdom with plans to hire a country manager and up to 20 employees that will be based in the Midlands town.
The launch will primarily see the company concentrate on its so-called e-bike services, instead of its scooters.
It considered Uber among its competitors, as well as its investors, as the ride-hailing firm floated plans to change its focus from cars to electric bikes and scooters last August. Currently, the company operates under the moniker of Jump, an e-bike startup that it acquired last April for a reported $200 million.
Other rivals of the company include Taxify and Bird, which have both launched its e-bike and scooter services in various cities in Europe. Currently, Lime operates all over North America, as well as in several European countries.
Last month, Taxify disclosed that it has no immediate plans to expand back into the United Kingdom, having been forced out of the country three days into operations in 2017. Meanwhile, Bird has enlisted a small team of UK marketers and managers in the country.
Currently, electric scooters face a difficult regulatory environment in the United Kingdom, as they fall under the laws which ban mechanically-propelled vehicles. The laws are currently under consultation by the Department for Transport.
Similarly, dockless transportation has determined that the UK market is challenging. Recently, Ofo, a Chinese startup, decreased its operational map in London to exclude the majority of south London, after its bikes were subject to widespread misuse and vandalism.
Reportedly, Lime is raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the next funding round of the company, which could see the startup valued at $3.3 billion. In addition to Uber, its existing backers include Google’s venture capital arm and Andreessen Horowitz.