The startup world was buzzing today with the news that Lime, one of the leading companies behind the dockless electric scooter craze sweeping across several American cities, had raised $335 million in a new funding round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) and partnered with Uber to unveil co-branded scooters (Uber also joined the investment round).
But the real estate industry should take notice of one of Lime’s other returning financial backers: Fifth Wall Ventures, the same venture capital firm that has invested in a plethora of real estate tech startups, including iBuyer startup Opendoor, digital notarization company Notarize and mortgage data company States Title.
“Fifth Wall is uniquely positioned to help Lime with real estate partnerships that work in concert with cities and regulators to revolutionize mobility in cities and improve urban sustainability, while helping Lime dramatically scale its service by setting up dockless drop sites at hundreds of locations across the country in existing spaces — not by taking up parking lots/spots or sidewalks,” a Fifth Wall spokesperson told Inman in an email.
Some see electric scooters as a potential boon for the real estate industry — rental programs could help improve mobility and allow people to buy farther away from popular transportation routes.
“Scooters provide the ability to buy in different neighborhoods because it makes these areas more accessible. If there are easy ways to obtain them in neighborhood, I believe they would help increase home values and up the walkability factor,” Robert Parker, senior sales associate at Climb Real Estate, told Inman in an article about the rise of scooter startups.
Bloomberg estimated that Lime, which was launched in 2017 and offers bicycles-on-demand as well as scooters, is worth $1.1 billion after the latest round of funds. The new series round was announced at a time when other electric bike and scooter competitors are raising their own substantive funding for their vision of a future in which more people rent rather than own various modes of transportation.
“As we continue to push the boundaries of urban transportation, we’re thrilled to work with our new partners, along with our riders and cities, to bring the next chapter in this emerging narrative to life,” Lime co-founders Toby Sun and Brad Bao wrote in a blog post about the new funding.