Startup that (hopefully) helps charging Birds easier


#1

I’m part of a startup aimed at making scooter infrastructure more solid by introducing a network of charging docks for scooters. We’re launching beta soon in New York, and I’d like to get as much feedback as possible from the charger community to make sure we get it right.

Here’s how it works for chargers:

  1. You still work as Bird charger (or Lime juicer), use their apps to locate scooters and get paid by them;
  2. Instead of taking Birds to your home, you’ll take them to the dock stations. You use our app to find available slots nearby;
  3. Dock stations are located on parking spaces and city garages and are publicly accessible, and will be marked as Bird Nests or Lime Hubs (we’re working on that);
  4. You leave them charging at dock stations and release in the morning before 7am. At first you’ll need to visit the dock station but later on, we plan to enable remote release in partnership with Lime and Bird.

Overall the startup is aimed at facilitating the scooter revolution, keeping them organized, especially in densely populated areas where there’s no space on streets to leave them. I’d appreciate any sorts of feedback: why this works or doesn’t work for you, what can be improved etc. If you have time I’d love to ask more specific questions either on phone or online - just message me or comment below.

p.s. Briefly about us: founders have worked with Lime, operated $100m+ companies, invested in 30+ startups.


#2

sounds like a good way for the scooters I want to get paid for taken by other people. I don’t see the benefit for either you or me.


#3

Thanks for the feedback! What about the time and money you save with remote release? You won’t miss the 7am deadline for release, no need for commute and they’ll always be 100% charged right at the Nest, i.e. so no underpaid vehicles. Do any of these sound like a benefit to you?
Also, while vehicle is charging at the dock station it’s mechanically locked to the dock so only you can unlock it.


#4

And how would one get signed up to do this


#5

For now sharing your email and city is enough. We’ll get back with details once we prepare to launch in your city.

and optionally, you could help us by answering some of these questions:

  • How many times have you faced charging issues? (scooter stopped charging, charger got broken, an error is shown)
  • Have you ever noticed the charger or the scooter battery heat up? If so, how bad was it?
  • Do some scooter charge faster than others? (AFAIK average is ~5 hours)
  • Does Lime has an official instruction manual for charging? If so, could you share it?

Thanks!


#6

If you’re saying the charging stations would also become hubs / nests, then yes that makes much more sense to me. I guess the big thing to worry from a charger stand point is making sure the charging station doesn’t fail to charge the scooter fully to guarantee you get full payout. It might make sense to offer guaranteed payment or maybe even going so far as to pay up-front to guarantee the charging station does it’s job but if you pay out up front maybe you only are only paying out like 80% or something. That creates the problem of getting payment info though so I guess that’s probably a tough one to do, but it could be worth it

anyway good luck to you guys hope it works out for you!

just say your questions, too… here are some quick answers for you

  • Birds have many more issues then Limes do, in my experience. It might depend on the city, but Los Angeles has a million damaged Birds that chargers have to contact support about in order to get paid while Limes rarely have any issues like that.

  • The scooter batteries don’t get hot, but the charging bricks can get very very hot depending on what surface they’re on.

  • Both Bird and Lime have scooters that charge faster then other ones.
    – Lime has Segways but they don’t allow Juicers to charge those at home anymore, so as of right now there’s only these BigAss Limes and a new Big Lime with a much bigger display that is coming out very soon.
    – Bird has more models… in my experience the order they charge from fastest to slowest is:
    Xiaomi --> Segways --> Bird Zeros

  • I’m sure you can find the Lime charger stuff online somewhere, otherwise it’s in the App if you’re a charger


#7

I would do it, I’m in South San Diego.

But honestly Mark, you all gotta fix the ScooterMap app before you launch into this other stuff. Honestly, the app isn’t great. It’s full of glitchy problems, and I’m afraid your startup (if you’re using the same app coders) is going to be frustratingly difficult, if it utilizes an app similar to ScooterMap.

Don’t get me wrong, both are good ideas, but there’s a lot more work to be done fixing Scootermap.


#8

HEY MARK FOUND SOMTHING SIMLILIAR TO WHAT U ARE DISCRIBING, LET ME KNOW IF THIS IS YOU ARE NOT…


#9

Thanks so much, that’s very helpful! A guaranteed payout is an option for us at start, and we’re working on a solution to guarantee as much as we can that the charging won’t be interrupted. As for payments, in the long we’ll let juicers fill in the payment info in our app, and to kick off we plan just manual paypal payments after you send us a screenshot with promised bounty from Bird/Lime. Makes sense?
Also, please check private message, I’d love to get on a phone call to talk more about this.


#10

Thanks much for sharing this! Would love to hear more about it. Please check private messages, I’d love to hear more about it.


#11

thanks for sharing! that’s not us but worth taking a look, thanks! Would you be willing to get on a call to talk more about your charging routine?


#12

Sounds sharp Brother! i like it, like it a lot right out of the box, I’ll chew on it some and have more to offer/say about it after doing so but at first blush I think you got a winner there and maybe when you get ready for your San Diego start-up instead of sending a yankee out here you’ll consider giving a local first shot at getting things rolling on the left coast? If I agreed to jump on board with you you can expect full loyalty first of all (no shenanigans) and a full-on commitment to the cause to make it work. Read some of my posts and check me out, I’ll grind on your idea and get back to you if I don’t hear from you. I know that I wouldn’t have heard about this if you’d done so but it seems like you should have kept this under your hat? Well just move quick! Shawn


#13

It sounds like once I put it into the dock, it’s as good as charged at that point. If the dock is a Nest as well, then at that point I’m done and the Bird could be automatically unlocked once it either reaches 100% or 7am (whichever comes first). Although as the Charger, I probably would still need to release/unlock considering that your part in this doesn’t seem to interface with Bird/Lime directly. This would actually make it so that the Bird could potentially become available before 4am to be ridden again (bonus for Bird) although I can see Bird not wanting to do that at first. The use of a docking station also makes it so that Bird/Lime wouldn’t need to send out power packs for charging scooters before a Charger can start earning (although I guess the charging station would be hotly contested/utilized).

What would your business model be in this setup? A flat monthly fee to chargers for the service? Pay for the electricity used and a convenience fee of some sort? Get the dock station property to subsidize? Advertising on the dock station? Bird or Lime coughing up some amount for the use of stations as nests?

-the purring dork


#14

Hey, you guessed most of that correct :slight_smile:
Except for the part of releasing: we’ll actually be able to release it for you. Assuming you provide your Bird/Lime credentials (securely), and send us the picture of parked/plugged in scooter, we can interface with them to release the scooter once it’s charged, without involving you. You’re welcome to sign up for beta in LA (Westwood) ! Or get in a waitlist for other locations


#15
  1. This locked to the dock thing I would need to hear more. The app does that? Taper-resistant ports/plug-ins? Going to be difficult to develope plug and power supplies that are publicly accessed. Parking spaces aren’t generally powered.

  2. capturing scooters, loading them, transporting, charging, transporting, and realeasing. You are only eliminating the final step of releasing them and at first not even that. So I have to load and unload them 2x with your service -that’s more work for me and I would want more money not less.

  3. your venture seems risky what if scooter chargers don’t use it? Then your sunk with the high initial investment.

  4. parking spaces aren’t cheap. The low end ones in SLC are $100 a month and I moved here from nyc where it can be 10x that easy.


#16

Mikie from San Antonio, have you considered charging trailers? Lots of ideas can flow from that…
Can reach me here or [email protected]


#17

Mark,
Your post is intriguing. The bounty for scooters is about $5 (and declining in some markets). If your cut is anywhere near a dollar, that would be about a 20% reduction for Chargers. Don’t get me wrong, this sounds like it has potential in cities like New York and San Francisco, maybe not in some other areas.

As I think through the Charger’s process, I might see a snag in the drop off logistics if these nests are not situated near fee free parking spots.

My last thought surrounds the locks that you mentioned somewhere in this post. If they work 100% of the time, the release process will run smoothly. If your locks malfunction, will you have an operational assistant on call (and immediately available)? If not, it’ll be a gate to our process - and potentially affect many Chargers’ releases.