Scooter unicorn Bird is now in Brussels as it speeds up its international expansion

Jonatan de Boer, general manager at Bird Benelux.

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Jonatan de Boer, general manager at Bird Benelux.
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Bird

  • US electric scooter startup Bird has just launched in Brussels.
  • The company is quickly expanding across Europe in a bid to outgun well-funded rivals such as Lime, Uber, and Taxify.
  • Passengers can hire Bird’s dockless electric scooters in cities by using an app, paying a small fee for hire and per minute of use.
  • There’s a big electric scooter war in Europe happening right now.

Electric scooter startup Bird is rapidly expanding in Europe, launching in Brussels on Tuesday.

Bird is one of a plethora of startups that make electric scooters available to hire in cities for a small fee per minute.

The US company rolled into Europe at the beginning of August, picking Paris as its launch city. It also expanded into Tel Aviv.

Bird is only making around 100 scooters available in Brussels to begin with, but will up the number of vehicles available to hire if there is sufficient demand.

Anyone who wants to hire a Bird will need to download the app, add their payment details, then use its map to find a nearby scooter to hire. They can “unlock” the scooter by scanning it with the app, then rent for €1 ($1.20), then pay €0.15 per minute of use. Passengers will need to be over 18 to use the scooters, which will only be available from approximately 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The scooters will be charged and maintained overnight.

Bird has raised $418 million to date and is reportedly worth $2 billion. It’s the best-funded scooter startup to date, competing with the likes of Lime and rival Brussels startup, Troty.

It’s also competing with ride-hailing firms such as Uber and Taxify, which are trying to expand simply from being cab hire apps into being general transportation services. Taxify launched its own scooter arm at the beginning of September, kicking off with Paris, and Uber has acquired bike-sharing Jump to offer rides through its own app.

Bird is currently racing to expand across Europe but it, and other startups, have run into difficulty in London, where electric scooters are illegal.

That’s thanks to an 183-year-old law, which dictates that there can’t be vehicles of any kind on British pavements. Business Insider revealed that both Bird and Lime are currently lobbying for a change in the law.