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E-scooter startup Lime retreats in Latam, a warning sign for Grow?

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – After six months in the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the world’s largest electric scooter startup, Lime, says “obrigado, tchau.” It’s ceasing operations in these cities as well as five other markets in Latin America.

Its bright green scooters will no longer be seen in Bogotá (Colombia), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Lima (Peru), and Puerto Vallarta (Mexico).

The San Francisco-based startup will also pull out of four parts in the United States: Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Antonio. In Europe, they’ve left Linz, Austria. 

According to a statement made by CEO and Lime Co-Founder, Brad Bao, the cause behind this 12-market retreat is because these are communities “where micromobility has evolved more slowly.”

Lime also declared they would be shifting its focus towards reaching profitability. As a result, around 100 jobs would be cut.

Thank u next, says Lime to Latam

What’s got me thinking is the region where Lime made most cuts was in Latin America. Albeit, Lime’s journey through many of these cities was short-lived. 

It’d been in Buenos Aires and the Peruvian capital of Lima for three months. In São Paulo and Rio for six. In Bogotá and Montevideo for around eight.

Only in the coastal city of Puerto Vallarta had Lime’s scooters zoomed about for little over a year.

This leaves a less-contested playing field for Latam’s micromobility giant, Grow

Or does it?

Related article: Colombia’s Rappi to lay off ~300 employees, in rude awakening to new 2020 reality

The writing on the wall

Lime isn’t alone in its battle for profitability. Other electric scooter leasers like Bird and Lyft, have also been struggling and then laying off personnel or making retreating from markets. 

This begs the question if Latam’s Grow will suffer a similar scenario.

The startup, born from the merging of Mexico’s e-scooter startup, Grin, and Brazil’s Yellow perhaps is more familiar with the lay of the land in terms of micromobility in Latin America. However, that doesn’t exempt it from pitfalls and regulatory stumbles as Lime has experienced. Heck, Grin already had some hiccups last year in Mexico City.

Related article: Grin says “hasta luego” to Mexico City

We’ve reached out to Grow for commentary on how they plan to avoid a sour situation like Lime’s.

To this effect, Grin, on behalf of Grow responded.

Grin loves its cities and we want to reiterate to our users and cities where we operate that we maintain our commitment to sustainable mobility and the construction of more efficient cities for everyone,” said Beriana Mendoza, Grow‘s Head of Communication in recent email correspondence.

Grin reiterates itself as Latin America’s market leader and it will continue to provide its services as usual. But now,” she added, “with greater determination to give all our users the mobility alternatives they deserve.”

Wanna hear more?

I recommend you listen to the following podcast episode: Uber contra el gobierno colombiano (Continuación) y la aparente “tendencia” de la rentabilidad. Time stamp available in the description 😉

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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