The transportation industry has been promising high-tech innovations for years, and has attracted a lot of big time investment dollars along the way. But it looks like some of them are struggling during the pandemic anyway.
"Bird was among the names of companies that got small business loans over $150,000 released today by the Treasury Department after lawmakers pushed for greater transparency," reports Andrew J. Hawkins. "In addition to the scooter startup, there are a number of prominent autonomous vehicle firms, LIDAR makers, and other “mobility” companies on the list."
The inclusion of Bird is particularly noteworthy because despite receiving between $5 million and $10 million in April to retain 341 jobs, the company laid off 400 employees less than a month later.
The article also lists the other transportation companies that received the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in April, including Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, explained by Hawkins as a "a California-based company that sprang up to deliver on Elon Musk’s 2013 transportation vision." That company received a loan in the range of $150,000 to $350,000 to retain 15 jobs.
Hawkins updated the story on Twitter throughout the day yesterday, noting that a Bird spokesperson denied that the company had requested, or received, the federal aid. Hawkins's efforts to confirm that denial. All documented on Twitter, raise some troubling questions about the entire process.
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