Shared electric scooter (and bicycle) services have flooded west coast cities such as Los Angeles, Santa Monica and San Francisco in recent months. Despite some complaints and some acts of vandalism, it's only a matter of time before they reach the East, en masse, too. One of the first companies to launch today in Washington, DC. His name is Skip, and he was initiated by Sanjay Dastoor and Matt Tran, the same pair that created the Boosted board.
Skip's scooter battery lasts approximately 30 miles, and has a maximum speed of about 18 miles per hour. Skip works like most other sharing services without a scooter: find a free scooter with the Skip application, scan a code to unlock it, and take off. Skip charges one dollar per trip, and 15 cents per minute, according to a profile at TechCrunch today. You can leave the scooter anywhere (within certain limits, presumably, the company's terms of service and privacy agreements are not yet published on your website), and a team of volunteer "chargers" will be paid to collect the that are running out of juice
One way Skip will try to differentiate himself from competitors like Bird or Lime is by the quality of his scooters. Where those other companies use smaller and more agile scooters created by Xiaomi, Skip has apparently modified the bigger and tougher ones from a Singapore company called Minimotors. They have full suspension, a wider driving area and head and tail lights. Finally, Skip will manufacture its own scooters, according to TechCrunch.
But the real point here seems to be that Skip wants his service to be all about scooters that feel safer to drive, and at the same time use those that are more durable than the competition. These are things that Boosted has made famous with his electric skateboards, so it is not surprising to see Dastoor and Tran emphasizing the same qualities in Skip. (Dastoor left his position as CEO of Boosted last year, but remains on the board.) Tran left a few months before him.)
The other way Skip tries to distinguish himself is how he behaves. In other words, Skip will not attempt the same disruptive (and somewhat unpopular) strategy employed by his competitors. Instead of just tossing a few hundred scooters and seeing what happens, Skip says he got all the necessary permits before launching in DC. He also says he plans to work closely with city regulators to grow their scooter exchange service before expanding to San Francisco.
Shared services without berthing, whether on scooters or by bicycle, have attracted as much praise as cities have. It will be interesting to see if Skip's more measured approach can do anything to change that balance. Although the startup has around $ 6 million in financing thanks to an initial investment round led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, that is far from the hundreds of millions of dollars that Bird and Lime have to play. As if that was not enough, Uber is also in this space now.