LimeBike expands to Europe as "dockless" bike-sharing rivalry mounts

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - U.S. bicycle-sharing start-up LimeBike said on Monday it has begun operating in two European cities, marking the first overseas expansion move by U.S. firms seeking to keep pace with vastly better-funded Chinese rivals’ own international moves.

Silicon Valley-based LimeBike, a company which only launched early in 2017, starts offering free bikes in Frankfurt and Zurich after expanding rapidly into 30 U.S. markets this year. It plans more European expansion moves in the spring, it said.

It has raised $62 million in funds from investors including Andreesen Horowitz, a major Silicon Valley internet-focused venture firm, and New York-based hedge fund Coatue Management, backer of Uber, Lyft and Snap Inc.

LimeBike is breaking in on an increasingly global craze dominated by Chinese players Ofo and Mobike, Singapore’s OBike and smaller U.S. rivals such as Spin. The three Asian firms have each made initial European forays of their own in recent months.

Reporting by Eric Auchard; Editing by Christoph Steitz