Dockless electric bicycle and scooter startup Lime is set to fire up its first expansion into the UK market with a soft launch in Milton Keynes.
The San Francisco firm, which is valued at $3bn (£2.3bn), is exploring an office in the UK with plans to hire a country manager and up to 20 staff based in the Midlands town, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
The launch will primarily see the firm concentrate on its so-called e-bike services, rather than its scooters.
It counts Uber among its competitors, as well as its investors, as the ride-hailing giant floated plans to shift its focus from cars to electric bikes and scooters in August. The firm currently operates under the moniker of Jump, an e-bike startup it acquired in April for a reported $200m.
Other rivals include Bird and Taxify, which have both launched e-bike and scooter services in several European cities. Lime currently operates all over North America, as well as in several European countries.
Taxify told City A.M. last month it has no immediate plans to expand back into the UK, having been forced out of the country just three days into operations last year. Bird, meanwhile, has enlisted a small team of UK managers and marketers in the country.
Electric scooters currently face a difficult regulatory environment in Britain, as they fall under laws which ban mechanically-propelled vehicles. These laws are currently under consultation by the Department for Transport.
Similarly, dockless transportation has found the UK market challenging. Chinese startup Ofo recently decreased its operational map in London to exclude much of south London, after its bikes were subject to rampant vandalism and misuse.
Lime is reportedly raising hundreds of millions of dollars for its next funding round, which could see the startup valued at $3.3bn. In addition to Uber, its existing backers include Andreessen Horowitz and Google's venture capital arm.
A spokesperson for Lime said: "We can neither confirm nor deny whether Lime will soon be launching e-bikes in the innovative city of Milton Keynes."