Lyft Acquires Motivate, The Nation’s Largest Bike-Sharing Company

Isaac Brekken

In a multi-million dollar deal brokered in June, Lyft bought the bike-sharing company Motivate, which is valued over $250 million. According to the Verge, Motivate operates in larger metropolitan areas like Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Portland. Though the buzz about bike-sharing has just started to grow in America, Motivate has cornered the market. They are responsible for over 80 percent of all bike-share rides across the nation, with their staff numbering close to a thousand.

Of the acquisition, Lyft wrote that “Bikeshare is a natural extension of Lyft’s core approach to improving transportation access and building community through offerings such as shared rides and the integration of public transit in our app.”

The acquisition comes as little surprise. For months Motivate has lobbied to attract a buyer such as Uber or Lyft, selling its ability to dominate popular markets like San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The company has stated that the acquisition will not affect their ability to sell to exclusive metropolitan areas or affect its daily operations. Lyft has stated that Motivate “will remain a standalone business, retaining the Motivate name, and will continue to support bike-share systems across North America.”

Though Lyft will continue to foster growth for bike-sharing in Motivate’s current markets, they plan to expand operations to offer the service in each of their major service areas. There has been no indication from either company as to when the bike-sharing service will be available on the Lyft app.

The acquisition comes just months after Uber announced its purchase of another bike-share company, Jump, in April, according to The Information. The decision to buy bike-sharing companies comes just as the demand for another method of transportation grows. Bike-sharing first became popular in China. According to Forbes, it “[attracts] tens of millions of daily rides with their dockless, easy-to-use bicycles.”

Though China has mastered the process of easy bike-sharing, Motivate may have a ways to go until it reaches the same level of ease. Currently, those seeking to take advantage of bike-sharing must find a bike that is docked in a specific area. Prior to the acquisition, Motivate was moving towards electric bikes with GPS controls, and allowing for more flexibility in where the bikes are picked up.

There are plans to expand bike-sharing to other metros like San Jose, where a large number of people commute to jobs at major tech and media companies.