Six months after laying off nearly a third of its workforce, Bird is betting on big-box retail to return to its high-flying ways.
The California-based electric scooter company announced this week it's doubling down on direct-to-consumer sales with a trimmed down version of the Bird One model it released last year. The new model, Bird Air, is available exclusively at Target.
With a top speed of 16 mph and a range of 16 miles, the Bird Air won't win speed or distance competitions with any of the major scooter lines buzzing about San Francisco (or anyone on a bike, for that matter). But at $599, it's half the price of its predecessor — which debuted last year to a chorus of yawns from consumers — and one of more affordable options on the market.
Scott Rushforth, the company's Chief Vehicle Officer (real title), unleashed an impressive array of buzzwords in a company news release:
"Bird Air was born out of the groundswell of support we've seen this year for modeshift and micromobility as individuals increasingly demand sustainable, socially-distant transportation alternatives for their active lifestyles."
Not to be outdone this week, rival scooter maker Unagi responded with news — and buzzwords! — of its own. Announcing the opening of a store in Bird's backyard, CEO David Hyman called Los Angeles "ground zero epicenter for electric scooter culture" and predicted the global scooter market would reach $35B by 2025.
Miami-based startup Papa raised $18 million to pair older adults and families with companionship and assistance. Gig workers, known as "Papa Pals," help the elderly with everyday tasks such as retrieving prescriptions, connecting to technology, and navigating their health care benefits. Papa is already operating in 17 states and will use the new funding to expand to all 50 by January.
Forage (formerly InsideSherpa), a startup that hosts virtual work experience programs for college students all around the world, raised a $9.3 million Series A. When the pandemic caused many tech internship programs to be cancelled, Forage stepped in to match college students with online courses and programs from a variety of companies. The programs are designed by companies like Citi, BCG, and GE, and give students exposure to the work that happens inside the company. Enrollments in InsideSherpa grew more than 86% since the onset of COVID-19, up to 1 million students.
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