Ford

DETROIT (UPI) — Ford Motor Company announced Thursday it will buy scooter ride-share startup Spin, in an effort to build its mobility business beyond full-size vehicles.

Ford said Spin will become part of its Smart Mobility division, the automaker’s division that explores future transportation ventures.

Financial terms of the deal were not specified.

California-based Spin operates in 13 cities and college campuses and plans to expand to several new markets in the coming months. Ford said it wants to grow the company to 100 cities within 18 months.

“We are really going to give them significant resources to help them scale,” said Sunny Madra, vice president of Ford’s Smart Mobility division that grows new businesses. “We think autonomous vehicles are going to undergo the same sort of scrutiny that scooters are in that sense.”

Madra pointed out that scooter and bike ride-share firms are quickly gaining riders.

Scooters were banned in San Francisco after complaints from pedestrians, but the city decided last month to allow for a 12-month pilot program by competitor Skip and Scoot. Spin was left out.

The electric scooters are dockless, meaning they don’t have to be returned to a designated docking station.

“We will continue to operate as a standalone business within Ford Smart Mobility, poised to expand aggressively,” Spin founders Euwyn Poon, Derrick Ko and Zaizhuang Cheng said Thursday. “Adding to that, we are immediately scaling up Spin’s team of engineers, designers, urban planners, policy makers, lawyers and operators to create an affordable, convenient and sustainable form of last-mile transportation.”

The trio started the business less than two years ago, launched their first mobility system last year and launched the company’s scooter this year. Spin received seed investments from Y Combinator and Grishin Robotics.

Last month, Smart Mobility partnered with Purdue University to launch Jelly Scooters.

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