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Uber is acquiring a bike-sharing company called Jump Bikes for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced Monday.
The deal marks Uber's first acquisition since it appointed Dara Khosrowshahi CEO and sold a stake to SoftBank with the aim of going public next year.
"Our ultimate goal is ... making it easier to live without owning a personal car," Khosrowshahi said in a blog post announcing the deal. "We're committed to bringing together multiple modes of transportation within the Uber app — so that you can choose the fastest or most affordable way to get where you're going, whether that's in an Uber, on a bike, on the subway, or more."
Jump's neon red bikes can be located by users, paid for and unlocked using a smartphone. When riders are done with one of the bikes, they can park them anywhere that's convenient, if it's legal to do so — no kiosks required.
Bike-sharing technology is far simpler to master than self-driving cars. Uber has recently had to suspend its autonomous vehicle testing after a deadly accident in Tempe, Arizona.
Uber has already partnered with Jump to offer its pedal-assist electric bikes in San Francisco.
Jump CEO and founder Ryan Rzepecki said his company will now operate as a wholly owned subsidiary with all 100 employees joining Uber. Rzepecki will report directly to Khosrowshahi.
The companies are also exploring ways to make e-bikes useful to Uber Eats couriers. "They have found increased efficiency from using the e-bike in tests," Rzepecki said. "We see this as a potentially big segment."
While bike-sharing has been wildly popular in China and parts of Europe, its fate in the U.S. is still to be determined. Venture capitalists have been pouring money into bike sharing companies here, in hopes the segment will grow like it has overseas.
Last week, one of the biggest bike-sharing platforms in China, Mobike, was acquired by Meituan Dianping, the nation's largest provider of on-demand online services, for $2.7 billion.
Prior to its acquisition by Uber, Jump Bikes had raised $24 million in venture funding from investors including Menlo Ventures, SineWave Ventures and SOSV.
Jump, founded in 2010, was the first company to offer dockless bike sharing in the U.S. One competitor that followed Jump into the market, LimeBike, has raised $132 million since it was founded in January 2017.
U.S. start-ups such as LimeBike, Spin and Zagster will now face competition not just from Uber-owned Jump, but Chinese players coming to the U.S. including Mobike and Ofo.