Fifth Wall Invests—Again—in Dockless Scooter Company Lime

LimeBike is appealing to real estate companies looking for ‘innovation amenities’ at their properties

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Fifth Wall Ventures continues to invest in micro-mobility company Lime, which just raised $335 million in Series C funding.

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For Fifth Wall, the investment in a dockless scooter company might seem outside its mission to invest in tech for “the built world.” However, Roelof Opperman, a principal of the VC firm, told Commercial Observer, the firm realized it was an “innovation amenity” many of their commercial real estate partners were interested in adding to their properties.

“We asked them what they thought about bike sharing and they told us they loved bike sharing, they loved the environmental aspect to it, the amenity aspect to it,” he said.

Opperman said Fifth Wall has already signed Lime contracts with two major real estate partners, one being a major retail outlet in a high-density market, to offer the scooters, smart bikes and electric-assist bikes at their properties, with another soon-to-be inked deal in the works. He would not disclose who the partners were at this time. The VC is backed by major property owners such as Hines, mall-operator MacerichPrologis and Rudin Management Company

While declining to disclose how much Fifth Wall invested in Lime this round, he said they chose the scooter provider because of their dockless model and market dominance. Fifth Wall led Lime’s Series B round extension in February. The bikesharing turned multi-modal company raised an initial $50 million in Series B round, with an additional $70 million coming in during the round extension. Since Lime was founded 18 months ago, the San Mateo, California-based company has raised $467 million and is currently in 60 markets.

“It’s been exciting to see a new infrastructure element join a city that real estate owners have been able to be a part of,” Opperman said. “With ride-sharing it impacted their properties and they had to adjust to it versus getting to take part in it. There’s a few moments in time where you have a real sea change in infrastructure and, generally, real estate owners have to adjust to it as opposed to being a part of it. That’s what’s so exciting for our real estate partners because they feel like they are part of a change. That’s not only better from an efficiently standpoint for people, it’s also better from an environmental standpoint, it’s better for a community standpoint.”

Lime’s recent round was led by Alphabet Inc.’s venture arm GV and included Uber Technologies, the firms announced today. (New investors in the electric-scooter rental company are IVP, Atomico and Fidelity Management and Research Company. Existing investors, meanwhile, include Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue and GIC, Singapore Sovereign Wealth Fund.)

Uber’s partnership with Lime follows recent news from its competitor Lyft, which purchased Motivate, the largest bikeshare operator in North America earlier this month.

The deal with Uber, values the scooter business at $1.1 billion, according to Bloomberg. While details of the partnership are still being finalized, Uber plans to promote Lime in its mobile application and slap its logo on the scooters, executives from the two companies said.