E-scooter startup Tier buys Nextbike to double down on commitment to e-bikes

Berlin-based Tier Mobility, one of the largest e-scooter operators in Europe, has just acquired German bike-sharing platform Nextbike. The move signals Tier’s commitment to the same multi-modal approach that competitors like Lime and Voi have followed to take advantage of existing market share. It’s also the latest big acquisition in the micromobility industry that might herald further consolidation in the future.

Last year, Lime acquired Uber’s micromobility subsidiary Jump and all of its e-bikes and e-scooters as part of Uber’s $170 million investment in the company. Earlier this month, Lime raised $523 million, which it says might be its last raise as it prepares to go public.

Tier and Nextbike did not disclose the terms of the deal, but Tier would have funded the acquisition with the $200 million all-equity Series D led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 it raised last month to scale its multi-modal market presence globally and pursue strategic investments and acquisitions. The Series D followed $60 million debt raised this summer and a $250 million Series C last November, also led by Softbank.

Tier, which also has a fleet of e-mopeds, has been committing heavily to e-bikes in recent months with launches in London and Stockholm as part of a planned e-bike expansion across six countries. As part of the deal, Tier will acquire Nextbike’s fleet of around 115,000 analogue and electric bikes, as well as access to new territories per the 28 countries in which Nextbike currently operates. It will also acquire Nextbike’s headaches in certain cities.

Nextbike has just had to suspend operations in Cardiff and the Vale of Glanmorgan in Wales after more than half its bikes were stolen and destroyed. The company, which has been operating its public bikeshare scheme since 2004, now has to repair and replace vandalized bikes, and the scheme might be permanently shut down in the area if the situation does not improve, but that problem will ostensibly now fall to Tier to handle.

Tier, which operates in more than 160 cities across 16 countries in Europe and the Middle East, does not already have a presence in Wales. Combined with Nextbike, Tier will have more than 250,000 vehicles in over 400 cities. Its fleet will include bicycles, e-bikes, cargo bikes, e-scooters and e-mopeds in free-floating, station-based and hybrid sharing systems, according to the company.

“The acquisition of Nextbike – with its unrivalled experience and relationships across hundreds of cities – is a unique opportunity to take bikeshare to the next level, getting more people out of cars and offering the most sustainable mobility solution,” Lawrence Leuschner, CEO and co-founder of Tier, said in a statement. “Our shared values of sustainability and respect for cities across two strong leadership teams, underpinned by Tier’s financial backing and capital efficiency, present an unstoppable, joint mission to change mobility for good.”