Skip Scooters: Lock-to mechanism announced
Skip, the San Francisco-based company that started as Waybots recently raised $25m Series A funding from Menlo Ventures, Accel Partners and Y Combinator. Classic scooter story, you may think. But Skip begs to differ. The e-scooter company recently announced that they are incorporating a retractable lock-to technology in their scooters. The lock-to technology is touted as "the world's first retractable smart cable for scooters". The company stresses how this will become an important option for cities enabling dockless shared mobility.
A Youtube video created by Skip focuses on the darker side of shared mobility - the cartoon adventure depicts various characters riding e-scooters. Some park their scooters irreverently, blocking access to a fire hydrant and depriving a wheelchair user of their right of way. The video is a clear jab at other scooter companies that use a lock-in mechanism. A lock-in mechanism locks the e-scooter to itself, which means that the scooter can be dropped virtually anywhere. Contrary to a lock-in mechanism, the lock-to cable will require Skip riders to secure the scooter onto a stationary object - such as a stop sign pole. This requirement generally guarantees a tidier experience for all the stakeholders, whether these are scooter riders or not.
This development matches Skip's profile well. Recently, the CEO of Skip, Sanjay Dastoor, rightfully boasted about Skip's clean record: they are the only scooter company never to have received a cease and desist order. Furthermore, the company's scooters, currently available in Washington, DC (plans to expand to San Francisco are underway) are marketed as a more durable alternative to the likes of Lime, Spin, and Bird. Although the e-scooter market is booming, the costs of replacing lost and damaged scooters are significant. Additionally, the disruptive techniques used by other, major e-scooter players have made many US cities suspicious of accepting these last-mile solutions onto their home terrain. Will Skip scooters' careful deployment, lock-to system, and increased durability be enough to convince the naysayers?