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ECC Company Review - Lime

Lime is founded in January 2017 by Brad Bao and Toby Sun in the United States. Sun’s initial motivation was simple, he wanted to “let his kid to grow up in a smarter, greener and healthier world”. Both the founder agree that the purpose of Lime is to reimagine urban life through the wonder of mobility, by transforming human’s mobility from car-centric to people centric. The company’s first operations was at University of North Carolina at Greensboro with 125 bicycles. Lime is currently operating in 120 cities, 30 countries and 5 continents, completing more than 100 million rides.


The success of Lime can tribute to the increased popularity of sharing economy. According to a report in Statista, 44.8 million U.S. adult used sharing economy in 2016 and the report predicts the figure will skyrocket nearly double to 86.5 million. Indeed, “access over ownership” is now a big growing trend in the world while people stressing more importance in using the product but not owning the product. The rise of other applications like Blablacar, WeWork and Airbnb has also perfectly reflected this phenomenon. The growing environmental concern among people may also explain the fame of Lime. According to Lime’s figure, Lime rides replaces one car trip in every four trips. The company calculated that they have cut 25 million miles of car travel, saving 1.2 million gallons of gas and keeping 9 thousand metric tons of carbon emissions out of the atmosphere. Lime is therefore particularly attractive to people who would like to have a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.


The biggest challenge, probably to all the new mobility companies, is the compliance issue. One of the problems of Lime is that their scooter does not fall into any category of vehicle. They can run as fast as 20 km/h so they might be too fast for the normal “bicycle” category. At the same time, they are not fast enough to be treated as normal vehicle. As a result, regulators are required to set a new rule for Lime and other similar companies. Some complicated topics for regulators and Lime include: what is the liability when an accident occur? How can Lime protect its riders? Where should Lime park their vehicle without blocking the roads and affecting the aesthetic of a city?


Could you think of some solutions to these problems?


Article by Man To Ip - manto.ip@edhec.com

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