Spin, the e-scooter-sharing startup Ford acquired back in 2018, is shifting its focus in its quest to profitability and is exiting nearly all open permit markets globally as a result. In a post by company CEO Ben Bear, he said Spin has started winding down its operations in a few markets in the US, as well as in the entirety of Germany and Portugal. The company will also shut down its operations in Spain, which could happen sometime in February 22nd.
Open permit markets are places where multiple scooter companies can run businesses, with no caps on fleet sizes. Bear said they "create an uncertain operating environment" with "race to the bottom pricing." It doesn't sound like Spin has been doing well in those markets — Bear wrote that Spin hasn't been able to offer "the type of reliable high quality service [it] prides [itself] on to its riders and city partners" in those locations — so it has decided to take another path instead.
Spin expanded its operations after it was acquired by Ford to a bunch of cities in the US and around the world. In 2021, it deployed a new scooter model that's more durable than its previous ones and teamed up with Google to show users the nearest e-bike or e-scooter on Maps. Unfortunately, those weren't enough to prevent this restructuring.
Going forward, Spin will focus on limited vendor markets in the US, Canada and the UK. Specifically, in places where cities and campuses "select partners through a competitive procurement process." Apparently, Spin gets double the revenue in those types of places compared to locations with a free-for-all market. Shifting its focus to those places makes sense in that case, but shutting down locations unfortunately also means that the company is letting personnel go: Its move will affect a quarter of its staff, who'll get severance packages and a stipend.