After dropping into pothole, Segway gets sold

Contact: Brenon Daly

As a rule, we love novelty. And we love it even more when there’s a ridiculous amount of hype – and money – directed toward that novelty, which somehow gets portrayed as something other than a novelty. So imagine our delight when we saw recently that Segway had been sold in what smacks of a scrap sale. The scooter maker, which raked in some $176m in venture backing, announced in mid-January that a UK-based holding company had picked up the firm. No terms were revealed.

Schadenfreude aside, we have to marvel at the craziness that consumed millions of dollars and probably even more engineering hours to solve a problem that never existed. A two-wheeled mode of transportation? Well, it’s pretty hard to top the bicycle, which is arguably the most efficient transportation machine ever created in terms of energy required for motion. That’s certainly not lost on the market. Each year, some 18 million bikes are sold in the US alone, while the Segway counts the total units shipped since its rollout in 2002 at less than 50,000.