San Antonio-founded Blue Duck Scooters has shut down, according to investor letter

click to enlarge Ah, happier times. Attendees at 2018's SXSW festival try out Blue Duck scooters at the startup's launch. - COURTESY OF BLUE DUCK SCOOTERS
Courtesy of Blue Duck Scooters
Ah, happier times. Attendees at 2018's SXSW festival try out Blue Duck scooters at the startup's launch.
San Antonio-founded Blue Duck Scooters is the latest e-scooter business to fall by the wayside, Texas Public Radio reports.

The company, launched amid the pre-pandemic scooter boom, has stopped operating in all 10 cities it served, the station reported, citing a Tuesday email to investors. Workers are now collecting its rentable rides from the streets of El Paso, Greensboro, N.C. and other markets to "preserve creditors’ collateral.”

“We have notified our senior lenders and have sought counsel for foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings,” Blue Duck Director of Finance Sean Brantman said in the investor correspondence, according to TPR.  

Blue Duck was among the startups that flooded major metros with rental scooters in hopes of building a lucrative "micro-mobility" market that would woo urbanites eager to ditch their cars. However, the pandemic and cities' efforts to limit the number of scooters on streets dealt the industry a one-two punch.

In investor correspondence, Blue Duck interim CEO Johnny Vassallo said the company took on too much debt to fuel its expansion, which largely targeted secondary markets and college campuses, according to TPR. The firm hasn't had any operations in the Alamo City since the spring, according to the report.

“Who knows what it would have looked like without the pandemic,” Vassalllo added.

Blue Duck initially had a high profile, launching during the 2018 SXSW festival in Austin and operating from downtown San Antonio's high-end Pearl development. However, it racked up major setbacks including the removal of its scooters from local streets after it failed to get a contract application in on time. 

The scooter company may drop the Blue Duck name as it reorganizes, according to TPR. However, Vassallo said he wants to make sure his 60 employees continue to collect paychecks.

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