- – Superpedestrian CEO Assaf Biderman announced a merger and fresh funding at an all-hands meeting before Thanksgiving.
- – The merger and funding fell through, leading to Superpedestrian’s downfall and closure by December 31.
- – Similar factors such as unfavorable city regulations, high operational costs, and hiring bloat contributed to the demise of Superpedestrian and other shared scooter businesses.
- – All 170 Superpedestrian employees were let go, except for a skeleton crew of operations staff to remove scooters from the streets.
- – Employees felt blindsided by the shutdown and a lack of transparency from leadership.
At an all-hands meeting just before Thanksgiving, Superpedestrian’s CEO Assaf Biderman told staff the electric scooter company was gearing up for fresh funding and a merger. Management would announce the news on January 1, but until then, Superpedestrian needed to go lean. A handful of people lost their jobs, including some executives in Europe. The rest were told to hold fast. Less than a month later, . and .
The Emblement of Superpedestrian
“And then, of course, we got the bad news [on December 15],” one former employee at Superpedestrian told TechCrunch in a phone interview. “Merger and funding didn’t go through. We have to close it all down. See you later.”
Superpedestrian isn’t the only shared scooter business to falter or shut down this year. Bird, Micromobility.com, Tier and Spin are all an existential question at this point. While each of these companies had their own specific problems, a combination of similar factors led to their demise, including unfavorable city regulations, high operational costs and hiring bloat as a consequence of VC funding.
TechCrunch spoke to several former Superpedestrian employees on the condition of anonymity. Through those interviews, and talks with industry experts, we have viewed a pattern emerging — one that suggests the shared electric scooter business as we know it is dead.
Superpedestrian’s downfall is emblematic of problems within the shared micromobility industry.
The company told staff that it needed to wrap operations by December 31 and that it was exploring the sale of its European business. All of Superpedestrian’s 170 employees were let go, with the exception of a skeleton crew of operations staff to pull scooters off the streets. One such employee told TechCrunch they didn’t know whether Superpedestrian had a plan for its assets — neither the robust Link scooters, nor the diagnostic or geographic that set Superpedestrian apart from its competitors.
“We were told that if anybody had a Superpedestrian scooter and wasn’t within 50 miles of a Superpedestrian market, we were supposed to keep it or dispose of it ourselves,” another former employee told TechCrunch, noting that the scooters would no longer operate once the company shut down.
Blindsided by the Shutdown
Employees at Superpedestrian say they felt blindsided by the shutdown and a lack of transparency from leadership. Alexander Berg, Superpedestrian’s director of U.S. operations, told staff during a Zoom call that the reason for the shutdown was financial, but he didn’t go into detail.
Neither Berg nor Biderman responded to TechCrunch’s request for more information.