Electric scooters need to toughen up — and stay out of lakes — if they are going to survive 2019

In September 2017, a company called “Bird Rides” dumped several hundred electric scooters on the streets of Santa Monica, California, kicking off the scooter-sharing trend in the US. Fourteen months later, people are vandalizing those scooters and dumping them into lakes, and investors are losing interest.

The explosive growth of dockless scooters and their contentious reputation was the surprise transportation story of the year. Bird and its main rival Lime are each worth an estimated $2 billion, and their popularity has given rise to over 30 scooter startups operating in an estimated 150 markets around the world. But as they head into year two, investors are losing interest while the business is growing increasingly expensive to…

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