Bird E-Scooter Founder is Already Selling Shares Worth ‘Tens of Millions’ of Dollars | Tech News

In an odd move for a one-year-old unicorn company, Travis VanderZanden reportedly sold some of his founder’s preferred stock to make room for more investors.

BY Will Yakowicz – 20 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Bird, the e-scooter rental startup earned a $2 billion valuation within a year of launching, has become one of the fastest startups in history to achieve unicorn status. After raising a total of $450 million in venture capital in three rounds, Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden has already sold off some of his shares.

According to The Information, which broke the story, Bird’s number of founder preferred stock decreased by a third, from 7 percent of the company’s total stock down to about 4 percent. The sale could’ve been worth as much as $44 million if the shares were sold at the same price as the company’s most recent fundraising round. The details of the sale was confirmed by a company filing provided by a private company data firm Lagniappe Labs.

A source familiar with the deal confirmed the sale with Inc., explaining that VanderZanden sold some of his shares during the latest Series C round. The source said he sold some of his shares because the round was “oversubscribed” and he “wanted to make room for additional, strategic investors.” The sale was approved, and supported by, the board.

A company spokesperson would not comment on the sale. VanderZanden, who launched Bird after working as an executive for both Lyft and Uber, contributed his own capital to the $3 million seed round before the company launched in September 2017.

The selling of shares this early in a company’s life is odd. Founders usually hold on to their equity to signal confidence in the company’s future.

While Bird, along with e-scooter competitors Lime and Spin, initially caused havoc in cities across the U.S., the fast emerging category is thought to be the next battleground for VC-backed alternative transportation startups. Lyft and Uber, multiple outlets report, are also planning to launch their own programs.

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