E-scooter provider Bird Canada unaffected as U.S. operations file for bankruptcy: COO

Electric scooter rental company Bird Global has filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. but its operations in Canada will be unaffected, according to the chief operating officer of the Canadian operation. 

In an email, Bird Canada COO Alex Petre said Bird Canada, as well as Bird Europe, are not part of the filing and will continue to operate as normal. 

“Canada remains a key priority market for the business,” said Petre. “As such, I want to underline that there is no impact on Canadian operations today, or in the future.”

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Bird Canada currently operates in Ottawa, as well as in more than 20 other Canadian cities, including Brampton, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon. Scooters will be available next summer as usual, Petre said.

In January 2022, Bird Canada said usage of its vehicles in Ottawa increased by 52 per cent compared with 2020 to a total of 244,467 rides.

In April 2023, OBJ reported that the City of Ottawa had approved a fourth summer for e-scooters and renewed contracts with e-scooter rental companies Bird Canada and Neuron Mobility for a combined fleet of 900 scooters. 

On Wednesday, Bird Global announced that it had filed for bankruptcy protection in an attempt to stabilize its wobbly finances.

The move marks a sobering comedown for a formerly high-flying startup that was trying to make it easier for people to get around big cities in an environmentally friendly way with its fleet of electric scooters. The concept attracted about US$500 million in investments from prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners before becoming a publicly traded company in 2021.

Now, the Miami-based company finds itself struggling to survive after losing more than $430 million since the end of 2021.

Bird Global has lined up US$25 million in financing from MidCap Financial, a division of Apollo Global Management, as it tries to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Florida.

Michael Washinushi, Bird Global’s interim CEO, predicted the company will be able to bounce back and continue its “mission to make cities more livable” by providing vehicles that don’t clog the roads or burn fuel. But investors seemed doubtful as Bird Global’s stock lost nearly 80 per cent of its remaining value Wednesday to close at 8 cents per share, a far cry from its price of about US$154 at the end of 2021.

With files from The Associated Press

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