Scoot Networks - A New Way To Get Around SF

When I come to SF, I generally don't rent a car. I've used cabs and more recently Uber to get around. But many times I just walk from meeting to meeting around SOMA where most of the tech companies are.

This week I tried something different. The Gotham Gal is a seed investor in a company called Scoot Networks who has launched a service that is best described as "zipcar for scooters." My colleague Nick and I rented scooters yesterday and used them to get back and forth to our meetings. I have my scooter until tonight when I am going to return it.

Here's a photo of me on a Scoot:

Fred on a scoot

The scooter is electric and very light. It is only 50 cc. It has enough speed and acceleration to get around SOMA easily. It is not as powerful as the 150 cc Vespa I ride around NYC, but I was totally comfortable on it and it worked great for me yesterday.

Your phone is your "key". You join Scoot Networks and use their web app (native apps are coming). You place your phone in a bracket on the handlebar and connect an iPhone or USB connector and that turns the bike on and off.

Android on scooter

Then you can drive around from meeting to meeting, parking the bike on the street.

Scooter in street

Scoot Networks is currently only operating in San Francisco, but they are planning a larger rollout in the future once they get San Francisco working well. If you like to ride a scooter and travel to SF frequently, I suggest you give it a try. I am really enjoying it.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    A #punk on his hog straight #pimpin. Love it.

  2. Gary Chou

    You left out the best part!

    1. fredwilson

      I didn’t want to get into that πŸ˜‰



        1. Techman

          You never get “free” beer. You end up paying back one way or the other.

    2. ShanaC

      tease – what happened?

  3. kenberger

    here’s my scoot pic!I rode around with the founders when they launched the service earlier this year.An offering couldn’t possibly be more custom-made for kenberger than this one.

    1. fredwilson

      They were silver back then?

      1. kenberger

        it was in march, they told me these were total prototypes and talked about some of the features on the new ones. I helped them jockey some of the originals back to their garage. I was also in SF 2 weeks ago for the official launch. the new ones seem a bit slicker and the phone part is better-defined.these things are amazing to zip all over town to meetings; there’s really no better alternative. If they then had some in palo alto and you took the train between, this would be perfect.

        1. Matt Ewing

          Thanks Ken! Been great to have your support over the last few months.

  4. Emily Merkle

    Fred, what does Scoot do for insurance? Do you need a special license to drive a scooter?

    1. Gotham Gal

      They have insurance to cover the riders. Also, this is a small bike so you actually do not need a license to drive it.

      1. jason wright

        is there a minimum age limit?

    2. fredwilson

      They told me that insurance costs them more than the scooters!

      1. panterosa,

        I wonder how many riders have their own auto insurance?I don’t have a car anymore, but have non-owned auto coverage. It’s cheap.

      2. LE

        “that insurance costs them more than the scooters!”I hate to get government involved but I can see some kind of government insurance help, exceptions, modifications being legislated to encourage the use of these efficient transportation methods for the greater good of both environmental lessening fuel consumption and easing congestion.Similar to the way that if a health care professional helps a stranger they have liability protection for their actions. The idea would be the insurance companies would provide coverage but their top end would be limited by some legislation or ability to pool coverage with mass transit authorities.Separate from that of course the cost of insurance will drop as insurers have more experience in this area and are more accurately able to assess the risks involved.

  5. Dave Kim

    Oh that looks like so much fun! I’m loving this trend of shared services. I loved the Barclays bikes when I was in London, and I’m looking forward to the bike share program that is coming to NYC.It seems to me that a lot of the shared services are in transportation: cars, bikes, now scooters. I wonder what else people are sharing / would be delighted to share.

  6. LIAD

    Very endearing Fred.The antithesis of wasteful entrepreneurs using their seed money to zip around town in an Uber Limo.

  7. Ricardo Diz

    Sounds cool for to quickly go from one side of a big city to the other, to have a meeting. Still, I would be more concerned about accidents and stolen scooters than in the case of Zipcar. I wonder how these things are handled by the company…

  8. John Best

    Efficient, quick, enterprising and environmentally conscious. Love it.

  9. kenberger

    I already know some of the questions that people will ask, so here’s some answers:SPEED: the bikes top out at something like 25 or 30 mph. that allows them to keep within a certain legal threshold so you don’t need a MOTORCYCLE LICENCE to drive them in Calif (other states have other laws or no laws). It also means that it’s NOT FREEWAY LEGAL (or comfortable) to drive on most freeways, including bridges, although people sometimes do the bridge thing anyway.TORQUE: the bikes are electric, 1 of the properties of being electric is super strong torque– when you get on these things and first twist the throttle, the thing shocks you by really taking off compared to a gas scooter. That torque helps getting up hills.Despite the torque, steep hills can still be a bit of an issue in a city like SF. Sticking to (flat) SoMA-only works fabulously well, but you might find it tough or tedious if you actually ran all over the city of SF. And the slow speed gets tedious on faster-moving streets such as Geary or Van Ness.REGULATION: this is sure to be a challenge for the company. Different municipalities and states have bewildering laws that are quite different from each other. Dealing with all the regulators will be a headache. Uber is a company dealing with issues somewhat related, being blocked occasionally, etc.FUN: omg that should speak for itself, especially in a climate like SF!

    1. ShanaC

      SOMA is walkable though (from what I remember) So then why bother with a scooter?

      1. kenberger

        Ha– in theory, but if you’ve done business there you’ll realize the reality. SoMA is actually a huge piece of real estate when attacked on foot (I do it constantly), especially if you have to wear more than sneakers, shorts and a t-shirt. Startups are located very spread out. you might have meetings starting every hour and it’s a half hour walk (or more) each time if they aren’t next to each other.Scoot is sort of the only reasonable option to do this, other than having a private driver/limo. Having your own car sucks due to parking and traffic. Cabs are tough to hail. Bikes have you show up sweating.Scoot is really onto something!

    2. daryn

      Ken: this is awesome, is this your company? Would love to see it in Seattle, though there are a lot of hills around the city, I think it could do well.

      1. kenberger

        def not my company!But totally my kind of thing, merging scooters and mobile phones! I met the founders and promised i’d do what i could to help, as I’d love to see this succeed.

    3. fredwilson

      Dropping knowledge. Thanks Ken

    4. Leonid S. Knyshov

      California limits:<20MPH max speed no driver’s license neededAnything above 20mph but slower than 30mph is a moped that requires M2 endorsement on driver’s license, except for this interesting section:(h) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), a person holding a valid California driver’s license of any class may operate a short-term rental motorized bicycle without taking any special examination for the operation of a motorized bicycle, and without having a class M2 endorsement on that license. As used in this subdivision, “short-term” means 48 hours or less.source:…I know this because I looked into electric bike sales in the past and was one of the first people to own an ebike in SF area.

  10. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    How much do they charge per day? Charging anything more than $4/day is a great business to be in.Here in India we get electric scooters for $700 (60cc one’s) and people buy for the economy and running cost (not for any other reason) … the running cost/km is around 0.2 cents …

    1. jason wright

      When I was in Munich last year the typical bicycle hire charge was between 12 and 15 euros per day.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        15 Euros/day for a bicycle … that is crazy… in the name of protecting environment.

    2. Matt Ewing

      @kagilandam:disqus You can check out our pricing here:…A big part of the inspiration for Scoot came from China and India where, as you say, folks are buying electric scooters for the value, not for the environment. They’re a bit more expensive in the states though…. πŸ˜‰

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        That is a round-about explanation for ‘We are charging more” :-).

  11. Dan

    Awesome. I’ve been in San Francisco this week too, and was looking to rent a scooter over the weekend. Decided that ferreting out a good option (I’m not overly familiar with the city) was more effort than taking a cab. I would absolutely have used scoot if I had known it was an option. Now I’m set for next time – thanks!

    1. Dan

      Just reread my comment. I sound like one of those fake quote/comments that services write themselves…I am actually pretty jazzed about giving this a try though.

      1. ShanaC

        such is life

  12. @FakeBradFeld

    You should run/walk to your meetings. I don’t understand this riding nonsense.

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I remember reading this post from Brad Feld. To be fair, I don’t think the scooter will be going through the same type of trip as he described on his bike. Still, one needs to be careful and each city has different respect level for bikes and/or scooter

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          I do hope you are not accusing @bfeld of having disrespect – Rumour has it that the open-chin from boulder has been forked

          1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            of course not πŸ™‚ I did comment on his original post and shared some of my own experiences. Generally, I find that my worst accidents on bikes were when I got too comfortable and thus my alert level dropped.

    1. fredwilson


    2. JamesHRH

      You mean instead of flying, you long distance freak ball !!!

  13. William Mougayar

    I wished I thought about that last week when I was in SF! That’s cool. Come to Toronto soon please !

    1. Techman

      Since you mentioned that you were in SF, did you swing by to say hey to Disqus? I’d totally do that (of course I’ll give them a warning). I’d like to meet the Disqus team personally.

      1. William Mougayar

        Of course πŸ™‚ I always do. We are close partners.

        1. Techman

          I consider you lucky. I live all the way on the east coast of the US. They are on the west :). I’ll meet them one of these days…

    1. fredwilson

      Nope. But I like what they are up to

  14. Rich Ullman

    This is totally insane… in a good way. I hope they and it succeeds.

  15. Wavelengths

    Love the grin!

  16. kenberger

    correction, Fred, re “50 cc”. Actually it has NO cc’s πŸ˜‰ It’s an electric bike, 1200W, more specs are here:…btw, re licensing and rules re freeway use, some states go by engine size (cc’s), and some by potential top speed. It’s interesting to see that the lawmakers going by cc’s didn’t anticipate newer technologies when they wrote those laws !

    1. Guest

      That was my thought too — “what does cc mean on an electric scooter”?

      1. Honest Abe

        “Guest”— just a question—- within your Disqus profile, within the past few hours, comments have been made in several different languages.If those comments were not written by you— how did you submit THIS comment— anonymously by writing as a “Guest”?

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Hi Abe – I think you will find that “Guest” is all those people who have not signed up for disqus – They need our sympathy – and they come in all languages, cultures and hair colours !

          1. Honest Abe

            It’s actually of some importance—- I’ve been in discussions with the people at Disqus in how they actually MANAGE their “Guest profiles”— because looking at one “Guest” Activity Wall shows multiple languages & seeming user demographics in just a short amount of time.…See— “Guest”s comment gets thrown into the Disqus profile currently titled “Iceman”— located here. You can see from its Activity Wall that it’s all over the place— leading me to believe that Disqus just uses THAT profile as some floating ID in which to throw comments for individuals who don’t log in, just use “Guest” to comment.I want to know how that assignment takes place; in order to track the IP address of particular submissions.The question arises because a particularly malignant troll is potentially using “Guest” profiles in order to write comments in the usernames of existing commenters—- impersonating them— in order to write disgusting libelous filth.Understanding exactly how those “Guest” profiles’ comments are gathered— IF they are gathered & attributed to single “Guest” profiles— like “Guest”‘s, above— has actually become a legal matter.

          2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            My mistake – I thought Guest didn’t have a profile – certainly there is no link on the face of the comment platform that I can see (or am I just naive ? )In any case – my take is that those that wish to leave “Guest” posts should be aware that they are inherently anonymous and while I assume welcome to post (it is moderation setting for the admin).They cannot be hurt if a moderator just wipes any offensive comment and they cannot expect their views to be weighed in a context.Trolls like spammers inherently suffer a tragedy of the commons – the more resources they consume – the higher the barriers will become.Sadly the “legitimate” Guest users of any service share the loss.

          3. Honest Abe

            That’s just it: the moderator on The Hill takes an exceptionally laissez faire role. The commenter in question (not the one above)— he’s been identified & is being sued in court—-he threatened my life via one of these “guest” profiles, which also happened to feature a great deal of comments written in Thai— a Disqus profile whose name was “Unknowable” in Thai.My question for Disqus is whether those individual comments, submitted within Guest profiles— which just get somehow wrapped into “various Disqus profiles used for Guest submissions”—- if those comments’ IP addresses can be farmed.

          4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            OK – highly focussed question. While open moderation is laudable abuse is intolerable – a double edged sword.The balance here seems good to me, but in so far as threats have been made here or elsewhere – I trust the wrongdoers will suffer the penalty – I wish you well !

          5. Honest Abe

            Thank you— but the wrongdoer is not suffering anything but the rankling shackles of his sociopathy. He has thieved the usernames of 49 documented individuals, upwards of 4,000 documented times, threatened my life and the safety of my family.And refuses, adamantly, to stop. Saying— even when confronted with the site’s Terms and Conditions that he is breaching— that he’s doing nothing wrong— that there “are no reservesies” with usernames.Which is why he’s been sued in court.Thanks for your help James— in discerning how the Guest comment wound up attributed to the “Iceman” profile.

    2. fredwilson

      I stand corrected. Thanks

  17. markslater

    ok – so they are not out on the street – you go somewhere to pick them up?if these guys are the zipcar, who is going to be the relay rides of scooters?

    1. fredwilson

      They are out on the street. The app has a map to geolocate the nearest available bike

      1. markslater

        so i am confused – do you return to where you picked up? is it literally a parking spot or an actual scoot location where they can do things like charging etc? i assume the latter.

      2. markslater

        this was predictable – cycle sharing…

  18. johndefi

    So this is great for an intracity solution whereas Zipcar is likely used primarily for leaving the city. So much easier to park a scooter than a car. How is the pricing?

    1. fredwilson

      Its an order of magnitude easier to park a scooter in the city

      1. kenberger

        more like “doable”, vs not even doable, if there’s a big convention going on πŸ˜‰

      2. LE

        I would imagine also counter intuitively that a scooter is less likely to be stolen than a bicycle even if in many cases more valuable.

  19. kidmercury

    very cool. would prefer to not activate with your own phone but to have android built into the vehicle and authenticate that way. would also open up better data gathering capabilities.resource sharing and transportation are two hot trends. electric vehicles are also very disruptive, but not if they try to take on automobiles just yet; they need to find a new, unserved customer segment first, and iterate from there.this is very disruptive and is well-positioned to solve many real problems. outstanding.

    1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      I think the phone is a cool feature. It is probably more cost effective for the company to have people use their own phones. Also, I am assuming your phone charges as you drive so that will be another good advantage. I like the phone as a ‘key’ concept

    2. Matt Ewing

      @kidmercury:disqus Great point about disruption. We definitely believe that the personal automobile is so poorly suited for dense urban environments (cost, parking, congestion, general inconvenience) that it’s ripe for disruption.We chose to use the riders phone vs our own hardware for two reason: 1) It means that we don’t need to try to keep up with Apple (and to a lesser extend Google) in terms of the user experience people expect from their hardware 2) Phones have become very personal for many folks. So, having that at the center of your driving experience makes the whole experience more personal. Your smartphone becomes your key to the city.@abdallahalhakim:disqus You’re right. We do charge your phone while you’re scooting around.

  20. panterosa,

    PLEASE BRING THIS TO NYC!! Union Square would be ideal. I know many people who would sign up right away. We have been pondering a Vespa, but I would rather do a Scoot model since I’m also a Zipper. I also want the bike sharing thing.

    1. ShanaC

      the bike sharing thing has been problematic in NY. Sadly, one of the most innovative options in the field actually premiered at NYTM (and the city didn’t choose them)

      1. panterosa,

        Bike sharing must be problematic or else they’d be more in use.Why didn’t the coolest one get chosen?

        1. ShanaC

          late entrant I think. Either way, it was very cool, and didn’t require a special bike rack and had a special social network with it that involved common bike routes.

          1. panterosa,

            Such a bummer then that they are not in this discussion.

      2. Drew Meyers

        I’m biased on this since I worked on it at startup weekend in SF a few weeks ago – but take a look at Go Velo ( It’s a peer to peer bicycle sharing platform (and electronic lock that can be unlocked from your smart phone). I’m not still working on the project, but there are a few team members that are – the focus now is building a working prototype of the actual lock.

    2. Matt Ewing

      We’re really focused on SF right now, but we plan to expand to other cities for sure. Glad to hear you like the idea.(We’re also big fans of bike sharing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that get up and running NYC).

      1. panterosa,

        Union Square would be great place for trial. Many of us in the area gave up cars but still need to buzz around, especially in non mass transit friendly routes, even if the train is right there in Union Square.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      +1 !

  21. heuristocrat

    I like it! Makes total sense of course given what we’ve seen with bicycles. I could imagine the bicycle programs adding electric bikes or scooters. One problem I have right away is putting my phone on top of the bars (rain, dirt, spilling my iced coffee since i drive with one hand… πŸ˜‰ I love these more asset-lite consumer services.

    1. Matt Ewing

      No driving a scoot with 1 hand! ;)We’ll be coming out with our customized smartphone dock in a few months that will deal with a lot of your concerns about the phone sitting on the bars (though that works much better than you might give it credit for…)

  22. jason wright

    love the corporate color coordination, although a brighter color choice might be a little safer on the streets of SF.I wonder if yellow is already claimed livery?P.S. very hipster.- where’s the iphone?

  23. RichardF

    Looks like great fun. I’m not sure about the phone on the handlebars.Last time I had anything on the handlebars of a bike, I was 10 years old and fitted a speedometer onto my push bike, I spent more time looking to see how fast I was going than looking at the road. Inevitably before too long I crashed into the neighbours parked car, which cost my Dad a couple of hundred bucks!

    1. LE

      “phone on the handlebars”Immediately struck me as a safety issue as well.

  24. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Brilliant – This would work well in Zurich, Munich and many European cities where warmth and concerns on sustainability are real. In Switzerland it is not uncommon all over the country to see someone in their forties turn up on a skateboard or in-line skates.Naturally good weather is a bonus !

  25. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I really like the concept of the phone as ‘key’ idea. Do they charge your phone while it is plugged in. This would be really useful as you drive around the city! I would love to see this in Toronto!

    1. fredwilson

      i think it does charge but i can’t recall for sure

  26. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Hmm – Guess it doesn’t work very well with a desktop USB though ! πŸ™‚

  27. ShanaC

    A) The phone as key to many services (not just scootersw) is going to really shake up aspects of the next wave of tech. People want smart objects, and they don’t want to maintain them. Hence, phone as key becomes critical.B) Nice glasses, though I didn’t recognize your face there for a moment. *smiles*

    1. John Clyman

      Couldn’t agree more with A. Even for relatively “dumb” devices and applications. Why do I need to carry a ring full of keys and car remotes, a wallet full of credit and building key cards, and an RSA SecurID token, when I have my phone?

      1. panterosa,

        No kidding. All this plastic when it should be phone. They haven’t even implemented the coolest thing they have on signatures, of the tap and swipe pad at checkout – the really awesome read how you use signature software which analyses how you write the line of your John Hancock. It is a unique motion fingerprint of how you sign, not just what the resulting signature is. I wait in vain many year for this tech feature to appear, to no avail. #missedchanceWhere are the CC co’s??

  28. awaldstein

    I like this idea in general. And you make a great poster for the service ;)I worry about the power of the bikes. Beside the obvious of getting up hills in SF as a one time motorcycle rider, having power is a defense mechanism to let you get out of the way of cars. Little power can equal sitting target.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Good points.

    2. LE

      “having power is a defense mechanism to let you get out of the way of cars.”Good point. Same as with the 911. (By the way saw a whale tale last week exactly like your old one. Local guy owns it and takes it out occasionally.)

      1. awaldstein

        ahh…my Porsche.I’m good with my subway pass now actually ;))I love these car, bike, scooter rental things and use them myself.For bikes in NYC (I’m a frequent rider) and scooters, it’s going to take a cultural change to make them really safe and work. I”m all for it but casualties there will be I bet.

        1. LE

          “take a cultural change”When you are younger you are fearless and if you develop certain habits when younger you carry them with you when you get older. So over time if younger people get into the habit of using scooters or alternate forms of transportation they will do that when they get up there in age (as opposed to the same people at that age now using scooters).The problem with riding a scooter in an urban area (especially NYC) or even a bicycle is that you have a small chance of something major happening to you. Especially if you do it everyday.Additionally as the confidence you get using something inherently dangerous increases people will get lax and take more chances bringing the potential for greater danger.(If you’ve ever owned a boat or an airplane you are probably aware of this behavioral effect on judgement when deciding under what conditions it is safe to boat or fly.)

          1. awaldstein

            True….But you know, I ride my bike from downtown to Union Square Green Market to buy food. To the Eastside cause it rocks. Over the Brooklyn Bridge to Dumbo cause it makes me think of Hart Crane!New York get a bit better all the time. Being bike friendly is evolving and I take my risks to live life like I want to.I wil most certainly rent scooters if they get here πŸ˜‰

          2. panterosa,

            My BF works in the emergency room and so has seen everything that gets dragged in on these accidents – bike, scooter, motorcycle. And yes, it can be a huge mess/disaster. And yes, it comes from laxity of ease with the medium for some, and dumb ass stupidity from others.And we are well aware of the Kennedy effects of what conditions are deemed cool. Or not by us, especially watching them be dredged out from the water dead.My mother had only one rule for me in my whole life – You may not marry a Kennedy.

          3. LE

            Funny I was thinking of the Kennedy’s when I made my comment.A few things that I’ve identified as being relevant to accidents are deviation from one’s normal behavior and distraction when combined with things that are “autopilot” behaviors.For example if I am in the habit of locking the door at my office (auto pilot activity) and someone comes up and interrupts me there is a great chance that I won’t finish the activity if the interruption happens at a particular moment. I even had a situation once where I walked out of a store with something that I hadn’t paid for when, on the way to the cash register, I saw an old acquaintance from high school.Deviation example has happened when running. I run the same exact course. When I’ve deviated at full running speed I don’t take into account a curb or jump that I hadn’t done before. And bam. Sprain. So if I ever do it now, that is I ever deviate, I say to myself you are deviating be in full awareness mode.A laxity example is when I slit, with an xacto knife, the tip of my finger when cutting photography mats. I had gotten so used to cutting mats that I just kept going faster and faster. Then the knife slipped off the ruler and bam. Stitches.So the bottom line I’ve found is this. First, when at all possible, don’t deviate. Second, when working with anything dangerous you have to stop and think before each activity and make sure you are well aware of what is happening and not be on autopilot. Examples might be using power tools but particularly for someone who is comfortable and used to using power tools as opposed to someone who is using them for the first time (who will be careful by default).

          4. Donna Brewington White

            Your mother is becoming more and more interesting to me.

          5. PhilipSugar

            You are so right. I would marvel at the people that learned how to fly at 16, they had no fear.Its also amazing how long a trauma stays with you. To this day I still cannot tolerate cars coming up behind me while walking.

          6. pointsnfigures

            $5 gallon gas could bring some cultural change

    3. PhilipSugar

      I was going to bring this up, but didn’t want to seem like a nervous nellie. Having been hit by a car on a walking path, and having a fraternity brother spend 3 months in a comma after being hit on a Vespa in SF, I drive a A8L, my wife thinks that is too small. She drives a monster truck.

      1. awaldstein

        Smart family ;)I stopped riding motorcycles years ago. But since moving back to NYC, i just love the bike thing. I dress for it. Focus like Terminator on the streets. Know the routes around but know fully well that some wacked out cabbie, tourist from wherever, or someone opening a car door could end this.We choose our risks I guess.

        1. panterosa,

          I used to ride my 10 speed around NYC in the 80’s, I was fast, and there were way less bikes then. This annoyed some cabbies, and I was forced off road by them several times, out of spite. Not Cool. I was young, and my mother barely slept a wink the nights I was out, because I was on a bike. Those days were way different than now.My rules for my daughter at 11, and ongoing, are far stricter, and I’m sad about this. I wish I could allow her more freedom. But I’m just not down with the NYC streets now at her age under certain circumstances.But she talks about getting a scooter or Vespa all the time. And my BF talks about getting one for going to the hospital for his rotations. So now we think as a unit about having a scooter between us. Scoot would solve all our problems, and we’d sign up in a hot second.And we’d bring our own helmets if needed. Though we jones for those Swedish inflatable collar helmet things. So damn cool.

    4. fredwilson

      that’s a valid concern. i didn’t feel unsafe using it over the past two days but it certainly doesn’t have the zip of my vespa

      1. awaldstein

        Not a nay sayer. I will certainly rent next time in SF.Just that when you ride your Vespa you are a car. I’ll see what I ‘am’ and the rules I adhere to when I do one of these scooters.

  29. Cam MacRae

    BYO helmet or is there a communal helmet in the top box?

    1. Eric C Markowitz

      I signed up and went for a test run the other day. There are two communal helmets in the “trunk,” which can only be opened after you’ve unlocked the scooter with your phone. It’s actually pretty clever. In my scooter, there was a medium and a X-large.

      1. Cam MacRae

        Good info. Cheers.

    2. fredwilson

      two communal helmets in the back box

  30. JamesHRH

    I am a member of, operational in CGY since the summer.SMART cars. Super simple. Not like owning a car, but a super handy service. The service is O&O’d by Mercedes Benz.The are old school – the send you out a mag stripe card. I am sure they will get it to phones, at some point. I would guess that the mag stripe makes it more accessible to more users.I am sure the scooters will work in major urban cores. And MB doesn’t make scooters, so that’s a plus!

  31. jason wright

    A similar principle to hiring red Deutsche Bahn bicycles in Berlin, although this goes one step further with the full integration of the smartphone. In Berlin one calls a telephone number to pay and release the locking mechanism on the bicycle. They’re everywhere on the streets.

  32. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Very cool.You should do a eco-friendly VC/Startup themed remake of Bullitt πŸ˜‰

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen


  33. $27180517

    What’s the range on these scooters? And how accessible and quick is charging? Seems like a great idea for college campuses…

    1. Matt Ewing

      We get 20-25 miles per charge and you can charge them in any standard wall outlet.

  34. Emil Sotirov

    Now that’s one happy Fred (in red) there on the first photo… πŸ™‚

  35. jason wright

    what happens what it’s raining?

    1. fredwilson

      i got wet yesterday

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Maybe they should put rain ponchos in the saddlebag πŸ™‚

          1. Kirsten Lambertsen

            LOL! Use case #1 πŸ™‚

  36. matthughes

    Your phone as the key is very cool.Side note: is the Related articles box a new Disqus feature? Or some other hack-on?

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a zemanta feature. another usv portfolio company.

      1. matthughes

        Thanks.Funny video on the Zemanta home page.”Link Love”

  37. Sean Saulsbury

    I assume that, technically, these are electric bicycles and not scooters (which would require a motorcycle license)? Seems like a great idea, except when it’s raining.

    1. fredwilson

      you are 100% correct. it rained on me yesterday. but it was just a drizzle. it wasn’t bad.

  38. Bruno_dR

    Problem of 50cc is to ride with a passenger – not much power. Actually, probably the insurance with the service would not allow it.Btw Fred, back on using the Galaxy Nexus?No more Galaxy S3 for you?The LG Nexus is around the corner btw!

    1. fredwilson

      yup, these are one person bikes

  39. mattweeks

    Good ‘on the Gotham Gal! I am a beta user for Scoot here in SF. –Fred, I never figured you for a motorcycle guy. Around here we have 2 types of “bikers” – the big harley or decked-out BMW guys or the Ducati loud noise guys.Scooters like this (like we see in Rome, for example) are kind of an edge case. Hope this changes with Scoot.This town is ideal; we have commuters (like me) coming up from Silicon Valley (under protest due to the poor commute options).The train leaves us stranded at 4th & Townsend (new Trans Bay Terminal will solve some of that — i.e. the huge hole in the ground in SOMA); muni (our so-called mass transit) does not work; this is a horrible cab town; parking is ridiculously expensive when you can find it; the hills here make walking only partially viable, and so-on.The guys at Scoot are fun, and fun matters for this.Pricing and drop-off points are all little stuff and will be worked-out. Their app works on iPhone but not yet dependably on Android, but this is again, little stuff.It does however open an interesting two-beer debate on HTML5 and hybrid apps we keep having at GeoLoco and SocialLoco and soon in December at Mobile-Loco (shameless plugs).Geeky stuff and beta aside, this is long overdue.Kinda brings a new meaning to “mobile app” :)They trained me after work and were *very* patient with a first-time electric cycle rider.This looks to be a huge win for SF companies with Peninsula workers, as well as everyone who needs a quick “ride” from place A to place B. Plenty of opportunity for this company, from moving into hourly rentals to leasing a scooter, to parking arrangements as plug-in “green” vehicles with key buildings and so-on.Keep up the great work!Look for me on my Scoot from the train to SOMA near 1st Street! Matt Weeks @mattweeks

    1. fredwilson

      they should make a deal with the rapid transit system to create a rental station at their terminal

  40. David Petersen

    I’m waiting for self-driving robot scooters.


    Neato! Dude!I picture you to be more of a GSXR1000 kinda’ guy.

  42. William Wagner

    I was going to make a joke about Apple Maps but then I guess they would have to add Thunderbolt cables to their scooters for any iphone 5 users

  43. David Semeria

    Where did the helmet come from? Was it in the bike box? If so, how did you open the box?

    1. fredwilson

      yup. in the back box. the phone opens that too.

      1. David Semeria


  44. jason wright

    With unemployment at present levels I see the sedan chair making a comeback.

    1. panterosa,

      You crack me up. Rickshaw on Fifth Avenue.Sadly, you are not far off from the need for earning. But as an optimist, as ever I am, I say, well, cheaper than joining the gym, And you get paid!

    2. panterosa,

      I drank the optimism Kool-Aid hard and fast.

    3. Wavelengths

      I’ve been watching Boardwalk Empire. Can you still find those cool two-person wicker buggies?

  45. ErikSchwartz

    I am going to sign up. I am in the city all the time. I take the train up from PA and that’s fine, but public transit inside the city is pretty weak and I am way too cheap (and not nearly self important enough) to use Uber.



    1. fredwilson

      there’s a funny story about that. i almost got that scooter towed. i ran out of the building and said to the tow truck guy, “that’s a rental it’s not mine please don’t tow it. he said “show me the key and i’ll let you have it back” i pulled out the phone and said this is my key. he looked at me like i was drunk and said “prove it” i so connected the phone to the bike and turned it on. he said “wow. and gave me back the bike



  47. Timothy Meade

    @mattewing:disqus I saw this at work today, but I can’t figure one thing out. You say there’s no native apps yet but the scooters are activated through USB? So there’s an identifier accessible from a web app that’s also available through USB on both iPhone and Android? Very impressive technology.

    1. Richard


  48. Techman

    Wow…that looks cool Fred. If that ever gets around to SC, then I’ll have to try out one of these scooters. Hope you guys have this turn out a success, and it appears that it will from what you are saying πŸ™‚

  49. Mark Gavagan

    Neat idea – I’ll definitely give them a try when I’m in SF.It seems they’ve missed a branding opportunity in just putting “Scoot” on the scooters. They should consider something like “Rent me!” plus the website address.

  50. pointsnfigures

    Will work great in Chicago for five months out of the year!

  51. Wes Smith

    Nice, I’ve enjoyed Zipcar for a long time on the east coast. Now that I’m west side, and in SF a good bit this is interesting. Btw, that bracket is from RAM Mounts. They’ve been making brackets for police and military for years. I used that mount on a BikePacking trip from San Diego to SF last year. Solid gear and maybe the best part of this post.

    1. fredwilson

      that mount was excellent. i also used google calendar to find my meetings and then clicked the link to get directions in google maps (all at stop lights). it worked great

  52. george

    Glad it wasn’t a foggy day…

  53. JSC

    When I lived in London I had a Vespa which I loved. The UK govt (at the time) required that in order to even test drive a scooter, you had to go through a full day course on using a motorcycle/scooter. In addition, until you got a full motorcycle license, you had to post a large “L” (for Learner, although many thought it stood for something else) under your license plate. I think these were good provisions. Despite the training, once or twice I nearly got killed by trucks when I found myself in their blind spot. Many will think it is just like a push bike…and that is going to get someone badly injured. My wife, who is in medicine, calls motocycles “donor mobiles”. I went so far as to get a motorcycle license when I moved back to NY in anticipation of getting a Vespa or proper motorcycle — but the roads are far worse here than in London and the drivers are crazy…and I prefer not to be a donor before I’m ready.With good training and regulation, scooters are great. I don’t think the slower speeds make the bikes safer — perhaps, as one poster noted, just the opposite. Exempting them from regulation based on size/speed is foolish.I do like that there are two helmets of different sizes included. Helmets are sized to minimize head injuries. It is not one size fits all. Having said that, I am reluctant to wear a helmet that is not my own. Do the helmets get sanitized?

  54. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Like your glasses, too.

    1. fredwilson


  55. adamhanft

    I’ve been working with Wheelz, who are disrupting urban travel and the fundamental lineaments of car ownership in another way.

  56. jimmystone

    I’m good friends with the founder’s younger sister. Very cool that you wrote about the company. And also very cool that Gotham Gal is an investor.

  57. dainik bhasker

    wow great work ….. looking fantastic with great technology

  58. christopolis

    Let’s hope the PUC isnt threatend by this like the were with Uber. Once one of these makes a difference prepare to LOBBY…