There is a dispute over which companies received the federal bailout money.
Bird, the scooter-sharing company, received a loan worth $ 5-10 million from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (P3P) in late April, according to a list of thousands of companies released. Monday. The company said in its application to the Treasury Department and the Small Business Association that the loan would help it keep 341 jobs. But less than a month before, Bird laid off more than 400 employees, or about 30 percent of its staff.
But Bird argues that he should not be included in the government’s list. “Bird was wrongly listed as a company that applied for a PPP loan,” a company spokesperson said. “We did not request and we did not receive a PPP loan. As a company, we decided not to apply because we did not want to divert essential funds from local small businesses. “
Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said in a tweet that the company discussed the PPP loan request with its bank, Citi, but ultimately never followed through.
Bird spoke with Citi early on, but decided not to apply for a P3 because the money was more deserved by local small businesses. Citi will confirm that to you. I don’t know how we made the PPP list, but we are investigating. https://t.co/81HUJLKy4o
– Travis VanderZanden (@travisv) July 6, 2020
VanderZanden later wrote that Citi initiated an application pending Bird making the decision whether or not to apply for a loan. “We talked internally and told Citi that we didn’t want to apply by email on April 23,” he said. “They confirmed that the [temporary application] was canceled that night and was never submitted.
On Monday evening, a spokesperson for Citi Bank confirmed that it had never facilitated a loan application for Bird. “Citi has not funded a PPP loan for Bird,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Citi will seek the assistance of the SBA to ensure that the agency’s data accurately reflects actual PPP loans.”
Bird is not alone. A handful of venture capitalists have also denied receiving PPP loans while they were on government records. Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Foundation Capital and Advent Capital Management all say they never looked for rescue money.
An SBA spokesperson declined to comment on the differences. In the background, a senior administration official said that only companies that submitted claims through the SBA’s electronic transmission system (ETran) by an approved lender were on the disclosure list. “If a lender hasn’t canceled the loan in the ETran system, the loan is listed as part of today’s data disclosure,” the official said.
The Citi spokesperson declined to say whether the bank failed to cancel Bird’s request.
The bird was among the names of the companies which secured small business loans of over $ 150,000 released today by the Treasury Department after lawmakers pushed for more transparency. In addition to the scooter startup, there are a number of leading autonomous vehicle companies, LIDAR makers, and other “mobility” companies on the list.
- TuSimple, a self-sustaining trucking company with offices in the United States and China, received a loan of between $ 2-5 million. The startup said in its application to the Treasury Department and the Small Business Association that the loan would help it keep 324 jobs.
- Luminar, an Orlando-based company that makes LIDAR laser sensors for Volvo, Toyota and other automakers working on autonomous vehicles, has secured a loan of between $ 5 million and $ 10 million to keep 341 jobs.
- Kodiak Robotics, an autonomous truck company that currently delivers freight to Texas, has secured a loan of $ 1 million to $ 2 million to save 87 jobs.
- Udelv, an independent delivery company in partnership with Walmart and Baidu, received a loan in the range of $ 350,000 to $ 1 million. (The company did not disclose how many jobs it would keep.)
- Optimus Ride, a Boston-based audiovisual company with operations in Brooklyn and Northern Virginia, received a loan in the range of $ 2 million to $ 5 million to keep 159 jobs.
- Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a California-based company that was formed to realize Elon Musk’s 2013 transportation vision, received a loan in the range of $ 150,000 to $ 350,000 to retain 15 jobs.
- RideCell, an operating platform for ridesharing companies, has received a loan in the range of $ 2-5 million to keep 246 jobs.
- Bolt Mobility, a micromobility company that offers a range of electric vehicles for hire, has secured a loan in the range of $ 350,000 to $ 1 million to save 18 jobs.
- Turo, a San Francisco-based carsharing company, received a loan in the range of $ 5-10 million. (The company did not disclose how many jobs it would keep.)
- May Mobility, a Michigan-based autonomous shuttle company, has secured a loan in the range of $ 1 million to $ 2 million to save 58 jobs.
- Velodyne, the largest LIDAR maker in the United States, received a loan in the range of $ 5-10 million to keep 450 jobs.
- LIDAR maker Aeye has secured a $ 2-5 million loan to save 85 jobs.
Update July 6 at 2:53 p.m. ET: Updated to include Bird’s statement.
Update July 7 at 10:18 a.m. ET: Updated to include additional statements from Bird and statements from Citi Bank and SBA.