Ninebot is backed by Xiaomi and Sequoia
Gao Lufeng, CEO of Ninebot, said during a press conference in Beijing that Ninebot bought its US rival Segway for an undisclosed sum. Gao also said that Ninebot has scored $80 million in funding from Xiaomi, Sequoia Capital, Shunwei Capital and Huashan Capital.
On September 2014, Rod Kelle and Dean Kamen, respectively president and founder of Segway, claimed in a legal complaint that Ninebot and other Chinese companies WindeRunner and FreeGo infringed on Segway’s patent rights. This time, however, Mr. Kelle welcomed the deal. In a press statement he commented, “The strategic alliance with Ninebot will enable us to provide more intelligent and valuable products for our customers. We are fully confident about our future.”
When Segway launched its two-wheel personal transportation vehicle in 2002 it grabbed headlines and was expected to hit $1 billion sales faster than any company in history. However, its price was too high to draw a mass consumer base. Required licensing in some countries in which the Segway was classified as road vehicle was also prohibitive to its success, as was its being deemed illegal in other nations. Such a combination of limited consumer accessibility and lack of unified international acceptance may have certainly contributed to Segway’s ranking as one of the ten biggest tech failures between 2000-2010, according to Time magazine.