UltraSoc (complex circuits for automotive parts, which sells to the likes of Tesla).n

But it’s just not been sold on scooter startups. Bradley describes it as an “open question” whether scooters end up being “an important part of how people move around the cities of the future”. He also points to theft problems with dockless bike share schemes that have not played out well in the UK.n

“We’re not convinced that this is a fundamental part of the picture,” he says of scooter sharing. “It may be a part of the picture but I personally am not yet convinced that it’s as big a part of the picture that people seem to be prepared to pay for.”n

“I keep thinking of the Segway example,” he adds. “It’s an absolutely delightful product. It’s brilliant. It’s absolutely brilliant. In a way that these electric scooters are not. But obviously it was much more expensive. And it made people feel a bit weird. But it was supposed to be the answer — and it’s not the answer. Before its time, perhaps.”n

Of course he also accepts that capital is “being used as a weapon”, as he puts it, to scoot full-pelt towards a future where shared electric scooters are the norm on city streets by waging a “marketing war” to get there.n

“Venture capital valuations are what someone is prepared to pay. And in this case people are valuing potential rather than valuing the business… so the valuations [of Bird and Lime] are being driven more than anything by the amount of money being raised,” he says. “So you decide a rule of thumb about what is acceptable dilution, and if you’re going to raise $400M or whatever then the valuation’s got to be somewhere between $1.6BN and $2BN to make that sort of raise make sense — and leave enough equity for the previous investors and founders. So there’s an element of this where the valuations are being driven by the amount of capital being raised.”n

Oxford Capital’s bearish view on scooter sharing is also bounded by the fund only investing in UK-based startups. And while Bradley says it sees lots of local mobility strengths — especially in the automotive market — he admits it’s more of a mental leap to imagine a world leading scooter startup sprouting from the country’s green and pleasant lands. Not least because it’s not legal to use them on UK public roads or pavements.n

“If you look at places like Amsterdam, Berlin, they’re sort of built for bikes. London’s getting towards being built for bikes… Cycling’s been one of the big success stories in London. Is [scooter sharing] going to replace cycling? I don’t know. Not so convinced… It’s obviously easy for anyone to get on and off these things, young and old. So that’s good, it’s inclusive. But it feels a little bit like a solution looking for a problem, the sorts of journeys people talk about for these things — on campus, short urban journeys. A lot of these are walkable or cycle journeys in a lot of cities. So is there a mass need?n

“Is this Segway 2 or is this bike hire 2… it’s hard to tell. And we’re coming down on the former. We’re not convinced this is going to be a fundamental part of the transport space. It will be a feature but not a huge part.”n

But for Mignot the early days of the urban mobility attention wars mean there’s much to play for — and much that can be favorably reshaped to fit scooters into the mix.n

“The whole thing, even on-demand bikes, it’s a two year old phenomenon really,” he says. “So I think everyone is just trying to learn and figure out and adapt to this new reality, whether it’s users or companies or cities. I think it’s very similar to when cars were first introduced. There were no parking spaces at the time and there were no rules on the road. And fast forward 100 years and it looks very different.n

“If you look at the amount of infrastructure and effort and spend that has been put into making — and I would argue way more than should have — into making a city car-friendly, if you only do a 100th of the same amount of effort and spend into making some space for bicycles and light two-wheel vehicles I think we’ll be fine.n

“That’s the beauty of this model. If you compare the space of the tech and if you look at the efficiency of moving people around vs the space, the scooters are simply the most efficient because their footprint on the ground is just so small.”n

He even makes the case for scooters working well in London — arguing the sprawl of the city amps up the utility because there are so many tedious last mile trips that people have to make.n

Even more so than in denser European cities like Paris, where he admits that hopping on a scooter might just be more of a “nice to have”, given shorter distances and all the other available options. So, really, where urban mobility is concerned, it can actually be courses for horses.n

Yet, the reality is London is off-limits to the likes of Bird and Lime for now — thanks to UK laws barring this type of unlicensed personal electric vehicle from public roads and spaces.n

You can buy e-scooters for use on private land in the UK but any scooter startups that tried their usual playbook in London would be scooting straight for legal hot water.n

It’s not just the British weather that’s inclement.n

“I’m really hoping that TfL [Transport for London] and the Department for Transport are going to make it possible,” says Mignot on that. “I think any city should welcome this with open arms. Some cities are, by the way. And I think over time once they see the success stories in other parts of the world I think they all will. But I wish London was one of those cutting edge cities that would welcome new innovation with open arms. I think right now, unfortunately, it’s not there.n

“There’s a lot of talk about air quality, and so on, but actually, when push comes to shove… you have a lot of resistance and a lot of pushback… So it’s a little bit disappointing. But, you know, we’ll get there eventually.”n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

It’s been hard to miss the scooter startup wars opening fresh, techno-fueled rifts in Valley society in recent months. Another flavor of ride-sharing steed which sprouted seemingly overnight to clutter up sidewalks — drawing rapid-fire ire from city regulators apparently far more forgiving of traffic congestion if it’s delivered in the traditional, car-shaped capsule. Even […]n”,”protected”:false},”author”:39990176,”featured_media”:1630791,”comment_status”:”open”,”ping_status”:”closed”,”sticky”:false,”template”:””,”format”:”standard”,”meta”:{“outcome”:””,”status”:””,”crunchbase_tag”:0,”amp_status”:””,”relegenceEntities”:[],”relegenceSubjects”:[]},”categories”:[449557102,449557100,576602978,1102388,20429,17396,2401],”tags”:[48300,60506495,369506,576604436,449557110,576606348,576606349,8610,66411,576606350],”crunchbase_tag”:[],”tc_stories_tax”:[],”tc_event”:[],”shortlink”:”https://tcrn.ch/2K4F5Mf”,”rapidData”:{“pt”:””,”pct”:””},”featured”:false,”subtitle”:””,”fundingRound”:false,”seoTitle”:””,”seoDescription”:””,”tc_unified_tagging”:[{“tag”:{“term_id”:66411,”name”:”Scooters”,”slug”:”scooters”,”term_group”:0,”term_taxonomy_id”:20062,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”description”:””,”parent”:0,”count”:8,”filter”:”raw”},”cb_tags”:[{“scooters-organization”:”Scooters”}]},{“tag”:{“term_id”:369506,”name”:”Index Ventures”,”slug”:”index-ventures”,”term_group”:0,”term_taxonomy_id”:7022,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”description”:””,”parent”:0,”count”:81,”filter”:”raw”},”cb_tags”:[{“index-ventures-organization”:”Index Ventures”}]},{“tag”:{“term_id”:60506495,”name”:”e-scooters”,”slug”:”e-scooters”,”term_group”:0,”term_taxonomy_id”:36960,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”description”:””,”parent”:0,”count”:2,”filter”:”raw”},”cb_tags”:[]},{“tag”:{“term_id”:576604436,”name”:”lime”,”slug”:”lime”,”term_group”:0,”term_taxonomy_id”:160570,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”description”:””,”parent”:0,”count”:10,”filter”:”raw”},”cb_tags”:[{“limebike-organization”:”Lime”}]},{“tag”:{“term_id”:48300,”name”:”bird”,”slug”:”bird”,”term_group”:0,”term_taxonomy_id”:18278,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”description”:””,”parent”:0,”count”:21,”filter”:”raw”},”cb_tags”:[{“bird-organization”:”Bird”}]},{“tag”:{“term_id”:8610,”name”:”paris”,”slug”:”paris”,”term_group”:0,”term_taxonomy_id”:28264,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”description”:””,”parent”:0,”count”:34,”filter”:”raw”},”cb_tags”:[]},{“tag”:{“term_id”:449557110,”name”:”London”,”slug”:”london”,”term_group”:0,”term_taxonomy_id”:8383,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”description”:””,”parent”:0,”count”:193,”filter”:”raw”},”cb_tags”:[]}],”associatedEvent”:null,”event”:null,”authors”:[39990176],”hideFeaturedImage”:false,”relatedArticles”:[],”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1661395″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts”}],”about”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/types/post”}],”version-history”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1661395/revisions”}],”authors”:[{“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/39990176″}],”replies”:[{“embeddable”:true,”count”:0,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments?post=1661395&order=asc&tc_hierarchical=flat”}],”author”:[{“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/39990176″}],”wp:featuredmedia”:[{“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media/1630791″}],”wp:attachment”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=1661395″}],”wp:term”:[{“taxonomy”:”category”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/categories?post=1661395″},{“taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tags?post=1661395″},{“taxonomy”:”_tc_cb_tag_taxonomy”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/crunchbase_tag?post=1661395″},{“taxonomy”:”tc_stories_tax”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_stories_tax?post=1661395″},{“taxonomy”:”tc_event”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event?post=1661395″}],”curies”:[{“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/{rel}”,”templated”:true}]},”_embedded”:{“authors”:[{“id”:39990176,”name”:”Natasha Lomas”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/natasha-lomas/”,”slug”:”natasha-lomas”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/68a02f90ad0a6349a7b852ddce6f93e4?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/68a02f90ad0a6349a7b852ddce6f93e4?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/68a02f90ad0a6349a7b852ddce6f93e4?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“twitter”:”https://twitter.com/riptari”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/nlomas”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/natasha-lomas”},”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

Natasha is a senior reporter for TechCrunch, joining September 2012, based in Europe. She joined TC after a stint reviewing smartphones for CNET UK and, prior to that, more than five years covering business technology for silicon.com (now folded into TechRepublic), where she focused on mobile and wireless, telecoms & networking, and IT skills issues. She has also freelanced for organisations including The Guardian and the BBC. Natasha holds a First Class degree in English from Cambridge University, and an MA in journalism from Goldsmiths College, University of London.”,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/h_216,w_216,c_fit/v1397184383/575a81841b1b431463585c830bffd373.jpg”,”twitter”:”riptari”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/39990176″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}}],”author”:[{“id”:39990176,”name”:”Natasha Lomas”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/natasha-lomas/”,”slug”:”natasha-lomas”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/68a02f90ad0a6349a7b852ddce6f93e4?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/68a02f90ad0a6349a7b852ddce6f93e4?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/68a02f90ad0a6349a7b852ddce6f93e4?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“twitter”:”https://twitter.com/riptari”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/nlomas”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/natasha-lomas”},”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

Natasha is a senior reporter for TechCrunch, joining September 2012, based in Europe. She joined TC after a stint reviewing smartphones for CNET UK and, prior to that, more than five years covering business technology for silicon.com (now folded into TechRepublic), where she focused on mobile and wireless, telecoms & networking, and IT skills issues. She has also freelanced for organisations including The Guardian and the BBC. 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