Bird is launching its new program, Bird Platform, in New Zealand, Canada and Latin America in the coming weeks. First up is New Zealand, where Bird has partnered with a local entrepreneur to manage a fleet of Bird electric scooters. Residents of New Zealand will start to see Bird scooters on the streets next week.
The platform is part of Bird’s mission to bring its scooters across the world “and empower local entrepreneurs in regions where we weren’t planning to launch, to run their own electric scooter-sharing program with Bird’s tech and vehicles,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden told TechCrunch.
Bird Platform works by selling the vehicles to these entrepreneurs at cost, then taking a 20 percent cut from the ride revenue.
“That way our interests are super aligned,” VanderZanden said.
As the manager of their own fleets, Platform entrepreneurs will be responsible for recharging the scooters, maintenance and working with cities to obtain permits. Bird first announced Platform in November and intended to roll it out in December. But it took a bit longer than expected to work out the kinks, VanderZanden said. In New Zealand, there is just one entrepreneur on board, but that’s by design.
“We’re trying to keep it one per region so there are not any conflicts,” VanderZanden said.
Bird expects each region to initially operate hundreds and ultimately thousands of scooters. So far, Bird has signed deals with more than five entrepreneurs to operate Bird Platform.
As noted earlier, Bird is only bringing Platform to places where the company wasn’t planning on launching — either at all, or anytime soon.
“Bird Platform is complementary,” VanderZanden said. “We think they’ll be happy staying on Bird Platform. We want to provide the best vehicles and best technology as long as they continue to invest and scale in the region.”
Bird has raised more than $400 million in funding to date and is reportedly in the midst of raising an additional $300 million.