Uber agrees to buy electric cycle-sharing startup JUMP Bikes

Ridesharing giant Uber is set to take over Jump Bikes, a bike-sharing startup offering dockless electric bicycles. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2018
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Uber agrees to buy electric cycle-sharing startup JUMP Bikes

SAN FRANCISCO, : Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc. said on Monday it has agreed to buy electric bicycle service JUMP Bikes, allowing Uber to offer US passengers an alternative to cars and further consolidating the crowded bike-sharing industry.
JUMP is a dockless electric bike service that has rolled out in San Francisco, where it has 250 bikes, and Washington. About 100 JUMP employees will join Uber, an Uber spokeswoman said. Terms of the deal, which the spokeswoman said is expected to close in the coming weeks, were not disclosed.
The deal furthers Uber’s goal of offering “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,” said Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi.
JUMP bikes in January integrated its service with Uber’s smartphone app in San Francisco, so that users could find one of JUMP’s bright red bicycles by opening the Uber app. The Uber spokeswoman said the company had no plans to withdraw the standalone JUMP app.
The deal signals a shift for Uber toward a wider set of transportation options in urban centers.
“We’re excited to begin our next chapter and to play a significant part in the transition of Uber to a multi-modal platform” and help “shift millions of trips from cars to bikes,” said JUMP CEO Ryan Rzepecki.
With the addition of bicycles, Uber is taking a page from the playbook of competitors such as China’s Didi Chuxing. Uber has at times lagged rivals in certain markets because it has been limited to private car-hailing.
Based in New York, JUMP started in 2010 as Social Bicycles, evolving over the past eight years from selling bikes to operating its own fleets. JUMP bikes are unlocked and locked using a smartphone app. Because they are dockless, they can be left at any public bike rack, eliminating a lot of the infrastructure cost other bike-share companies incur, and their location is tracked via GPS. The company has raised about $11 million from investors.
JUMP is part of the bike-sharing craze that made its way to the United States after sweeping through China. Chinese startups Mobike and Ofo have recently entered the United States, competing with bike-share services sponsored by Citigroup Inc. and Ford Motor Co. and California-based startups such as LimeBike.
But the crowd of startups has begun to thin through acquisitions, including Didi’s deal with Bluegogo and China Internet company Meituan Dianping’s purchase of Mobike.
Industry experts say more consolidation will follow in the United States, particularly as bike-sharing companies face regulatory limits on the number of bikes allowed in cities and difficulties getting Americans accustomed to pedaling instead of driving.


SpaceX’s first private passenger is Japanese fashion magnate Maezawa

This artist's illustration courtesy of SpaceX obtained September 17, 2018, shows the SpaceX BFR(Big Falcon Rocket)rocket passenger spacecraft. SpaceX is to reveal on September 17, 2018 the identity of the first person it plans to transport around the Moon in an ambitious project financed entirely by its eccentric CEO Elon Musk. (AFP)
Updated 18 September 2018
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SpaceX’s first private passenger is Japanese fashion magnate Maezawa

  • SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world
  • SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-cost reusable Falcon 9 rockets

HAWTHORNE, California: SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space transportation company, on Monday named its first private passenger as Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo.
A former drummer in a punk band, billionaire Maezawa will will take a trip around the moon aboard its forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights.
The first passenger to travel to the moon since the United States’ Apollo missions ended in 1972, Maezawa’s identity was revealed at an event Monday evening at the company’s headquarters and rocket factory in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne.
In moves typical of his publicity-seeking style, Musk, who is also the billionaire chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc, had previously teased a few tantalizing details about the trip and the passenger’s identity, but left major questions unanswered.
On Thursday, Musk tweeted a picture of a Japanese flag. He followed that up on Sunday with tweets showing new artist renderings of the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, the super heavy-lift launch vehicle that Musk promises will shuttle the passenger to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars, using the hashtag #OccupyMars.
While the BFR has not been built yet, Musk has said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.
SpaceX plans a lunar orbit mission. It was not clear how much Maezawa paid for the trip.
Maezawa made his fortune by founding the wildly popular shopping site Zozotown. His company Zozo, officially called Start Today Co. Ltd, also offers a made-to-measure service using a polka dot bodysuit, the Zozosuit..
With SpaceX, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, the SpaceX passenger will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels.
Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber. A 90-minute flight costs $250,000.
Short sightseeing trips to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket are likely to cost around $200,000 to $300,000, at least to start, Reuters reported in July.
SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-cost reusable Falcon 9 rockets. The company has completed more than 50 successful Falcon launches and snagged billions of dollars’ worth of contracts, including deals with NASA and the US Department of Defense.
SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world.
SpaceX previously announced plans to eventually use Falcon Heavy to launch paying space tourists on a trip around the moon, but Musk said in February he was inclined to reserve that mission for the BFR.