Ford said to acquire electric scooter-sharing startup Spin

The logo of Ford Motor Company is on display at a dealership of Genser company in Moscow, Russia, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

Ford Motor Co. has reached an agreement to acquire Spin, a San Francisco-based scooter-sharing company, according to a person familiar with the matter.

For Ford, the deal adds scooters to a sprawling array of future transportation services, which already include autonomous vehicles and on-demand shuttles. As for Spin, it has found a deep-pocketed acquirer after having been locked out of several key markets.

The San Francisco-based startup was one of the companies that put scooters on the city’s streets this spring, sparking occasional conflicts with pedestrians and drivers. In March, Spin said it planned to launch services in 60 markets.

San Francisco eventually gave two companies permits to operate scooter-sharing services, shutting Spin and other early market entrants out. Spin also applied to operate in Santa Monica but was snubbed by city officials there, too. The company currently operates in nine cities and five college campuses, and says it has facilitated more than 1 million rides. This makes it much smaller than Bird and Lime, the startups that have emerged as market leaders.

Spin has raised just $8 million—compared with the hundreds of millions brought in by Bird and Lime—and it’s looked to raise money through cryptocurrency token sales. Investors in the scooter industry have questioned whether companies with less capital would be able to keep pace.

Axios first reported the deal earlier Wednesday. Ford declined to comment, and a Spin representative didn’t respond to an interview request.