Lime wants you to think of it as more than just bike and scooter startup. To help with that charge, the 15-month-old company has hired a former LVMH executive to help with that charge.
A former director of global corporate affairs at the luxury holding company — whose portfolio includes timeless names like Louis Vuitton, Moët Hennessy, and Christian Dior — Paloma Castro Martinez has managed image and crisis communications for one of the world’s most watched luxury brands in a time of extraordinary upheaval.
In an interview with Business Insider, Martinez said she was eager to join Lime at such a pivotal time in its growth. She points to an imminent technological revolution, one she thinks will empower citizens and fundamentally change the way we interact with cities and urban architecture, as her inspiration for the career shift.
“We are all humans — we need to move,” she said by phone from Cordoba, Spain. “There is a revolution coming up, and thankfully it is a revolution that will be powered by technology.”
And at Lime, she’ll bring much-needed “outside of Silicon Valley” expertise to her new role as head of communication for global expansion, the company said in a statement. “Lime is more than the products,” Martinez added. “It’s really about empowering people and giving them that access.”
Specifically, her experience as a woman has drawn her to scooters for a purely logistical reason — much like the British suffragettes and their iconic scooters in the early 20th century. “As a woman, biking is great,” she said, “but a scooter allows me to wear a skirt. It’s liberating.”
“It’s important to me to have one foot in the past and one point in the megafuture,” she continued. “I think that future is the electric scooter because it really links what we are doing. There is a huge tradition in bikes and scooters — and technology allows you to be in the past, but in a much more comfortable way.”
Lime operates in more than 100 cities across seven countries, and it has its eye on many more. Singapore, for example, is launching soon, Martinez said. There are 290 job postings on Lime’s website, many of which seek operations managers everywhere from Wroclaw, Poland, to Lubbock, Texas.
Read more: Lime recalls thousands of scooters after reports of some catching fire
Martinez is the latest in a string of high-profile hires for Lime. Earlier this week, the company announced it had hired two former Uber executives: David Richter, previously a vice president at Uber, will serve as Lime’s chief business officer and interim CFO, while Wayne Ting, Uber’s former chief of staff, will lead operations and strategy.
Lime isn’t the first transportation upstart to bring on outside experts to help shed its image as a rogue, scooter-dumping company. Lyft, which owns Motivate and its bike-share programs in cities including New York, Washington, and San Francisco, recently hired former US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx as its policy chief.
But for Martinez at Lime, the focus is all on branding as she begins her new role.
“We are not transport,” she said, “because mobility is much more than transport. And we are not disruptive — we are innovative, because we are creating new business opportunities that were not there before.”