As shared-scooter companies Bird Rides Inc. and Lime, flush with investors’ cash, race into new cities around the U.S., they are finding city officials emboldened to enact regulations that limit the companies’ rapid growth. Urban authorities from Miami to Portland, Ore., are capping their numbers at a few hundred per company, or in some cases blocking the deployment altogether.
This could prove a big challenge for Bird and Lime, which have drawn nearly $900 million of investment between them with ambitions of launching thousands or tens of thousands of scooters on the streets of hundreds of U.S. cities. Sixteen-month-old Bird was recently valued by investors at $2 billion, and 20-month-old Lime at $1.1 billion—the two fastest U.S. startups to pass a $1 billion valuation, according to data tracker PitchBook. The closely held companies don’t disclose financial data.