The bike sharing frenzy that started in China has spread to the other side of the Pacific. Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has led a US$12 million series A round in San Francisco-based bike sharing start-up LimeBike, which was founded by two Chinese entrepreneurs.
IDG Capital, DCM Ventures, U.S. and China-based Seven Seas Partners, as well as a number of unnamed investors also participated in the round.
As part of the investment, Andreessen Horowitz’s General Partner Jeff Jordan will join LimeBike’s board of directors.
Founded two months ago, the company will roll out GPS-enabled bikes in April this year. It aims to make American cities as green and healthy as the Netherlands, where bikes are a major means of transportation.
But due to the lack of a bike culture and unfriendly road infrastructure in most US cities, it remains to be seen if the hot bike sharing trend can really pick up in a country that traditionally runs on four-wheels.
In China, the war between two major biking sharing companies has intensified in recent months. Beijing-based ofo reportedly raised US$450 in a fundraising round earlier this month; though some media have suggested the figure was exaggerated. Shanghai-based Mobike claimed that it had completed a total of over US$300 million in financing since the start of 2017.
Yesterday, the Shanghai government asked six bike sharing companies including Mobike and ofo to temporarily suspend bike placement in the city's central districts, saying bikes have reached saturation in those areas.
Chinese state media has reported that as of February this year, Shanghai has over 30 bike sharing companies deploying over 450,000 bikes with over 4.5 million registered users. Its number of bikes and registered users recorded the highest in China.