There has never been a time more appropriate than today to think about the impact our actions have on the environment. We might make small amends here and there to reduce our personal carbon footprint (and maybe a little bit of our guilt too), but daily commuting throws up a challenge we still haven’t found ourselves ready to take on.
While your commute preferences are strictly personal, Bike To Work Day presents a refreshing excuse to flex those glutes. To commemorate this day, we bring to you a list of 15 startups that caught our eye and have found innovative ways to wheel away your commuting woes. Hope this inspires you to ditch the gas and step on that pedal the next time you go to work.
Here’s a detailed look at the startups driving innovation in this space-
i) Mobike [2015, Shanghai, $325M]: MoBike is a bicycle rental platform which enables users to rent bicycles and return anywhere.The bicycles can be tracked via GPS and the users are charged on the basis of distance driven. Bicycles are equipped with self-developed smart lock & durable designs, and cost of renting is RMB1 per half an hour. Some of its key investors are Sequoia and Ctrip.
ii) Bluegogo [2015, Hong Kong, $58M]: Bluegogo is an app-based bicycle sharing platform. Using the app, users can see nearby available bike station to rent bicycles. Virtual keys are available within the app by which the cycle can be unlocked. Offers a real-time vehicle map to track the location of the cycles. In-app payment option is available. After rides, bikes can be locked at the nearby bike racks. Black Hole Capital is one of the key investors.
iii) Limebike [2017, San Mateo, $12M]: LimeBike has designed bicycles with GPS and 3G-connectivity, foam core tires, metal basket for carrying cargo, onboard solar panel, and smart lock. Customers can locate a nearby bike, use a QR code to unlock the bike, and can lock it up, freestanding, at their destination, via the mobile app. Users don’t have to chain the bikes owing to a center kickstand. The company works with outside manufacturers and vendors for components but designs and assembles the bikes on their own. Charges $1 for every 30 minutes of use. Some of its key investors are Andreessen Horowitz and IDG Capital Partners.
iv) Zagster [2007, Boston, $18.03M]: Zagster is a bike sharing service. It designs, builds, and operates private bike sharing programs for universities, corporate campuses, hotels, and residential communities. Zagster provides customers a complete bike sharing solution – including system design, installation, sharing technology, maintenance, rider support, and marketing services. It also provides a mobile app for users to book, return and check pricing of bikes. Some of its key investors are Ben Franklin Technology Partners and LaunchCapital.
v) Spin [2016, San Francisco]: Spin is a bicycle rental wherein the user can pick up and drop off bikes around the city anytime, anywhere i.e. service without the parking stations. The company claims to deploy over 100,000 bicycles in the U.S. in 2017. Spin’s bikes will be parked all across the city and can be unlocked with a scan from the phone. The user can ride them anywhere within the designated service area, and leave them anywhere responsible and legal to park a bike.
vi) Donkey Republic [2015, Copenhagen, $1.65M]: Donkey Republic is a bicycle rental platform. Users can book a bike online and unlock it from his phone. Bike rental operators can list and join donkey republic as partners. The rented bike is fitted with a digital lock that can be unlocked with an offline phone. The bike has to be returned to the same rental hub it was picked up from. Its key investors are Howzat Partners and Vaekstfonden.
vii) Ofo [2015, Beijing, $585.2M]: Ofo.so is a bicycle rental platform. Users can register their cycles on the platform and rent them to their peers. Users who require the bicycle need to send a request through the app and the Lock code comes over the app with which users can unlock and use the cycle. Charges users on an hourly basis. Incurs revenue through advertising and bicycle rental fee. Ofo also collaborates with outstanding brands and manufacturers to introduce product lines via its platform. Some of its key investors are Atomico and DST Global.
viii) Spinlister [2011, Santa Monica, $2M]: Spinlister is a marketplace that lets you find bikes on rent online, whether from individuals or existing bike rental shops. Early founders closed the company and moved on another idea, but the company was restarted by one of its early investors in 2013.
ix) Zehus [2013, Milano, $3.3] Zehus focuses on the development of propulsion systems for electric bicycles. The company is a spinoff from Politecnico di Milano. The company’s product “Bike+” is a rear wheel solution which contains the battery, motor, and the electronics. It acts as the electric drive for bicycles. It has bluetooth compatibility which allows to connect to a smartphone and thus helps to monitor the health of the battery, log trip data and lock the bike. The company sells its product to bicycle manufacturers. Some of its key investors include Vittoria and Invitalia Ventures.
x) Fazua [2011, Munich, $3.2M]: Fazua develops an e-bike drive system consisting of the engine, gearbox, battery, and power electronics. Their drive system is fully integrated into the down tube and can be taken out with a handle. The battery sits in the drive package and can be replaced as well. Some of its key investors include High-Tech Grunderfonds and Bayern Capital.
xi) Bosch eBike Systems [2012, Stuttgart]: Bosch eBike Systems, a division of Robert Bosch, focuses on the development of electric drive systems for bicycles. The company develops multiple drive systems for OEM applications. These systems may be used for urban city bikes or high-performance off-road bikes. The company also develops integrated systems with batteries and smart control units.
xii) Superpedestrian [2012, Cambridge, $6.10M]: Superpedestrian is a venture-backed company operating out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Copenhagen Wheel transforms your bicycle into a smart electric hybrid, quickly and easily. The Wheel contains a motor, batteries, multiple sensors, wireless connectivity, and an embedded control system. The Wheel learns how you pedal and integrates seamlessly with your motion, multiplying your pedal power 3x—10x. Some of its key investors include Spark Capital and General Catalyst Partners.
xiii) Urbee [2015, Amsterdam, $2.36M]: Dutch startup Urbee focuses on providing electric bicycle sharing solution. The users can book the bicycles using a smartphone app. The bike can be accessed using an unlock code shared with the user. Post use, the user has to return the bike at its original location. The company offers pay-as-you-go and subscription services.
xiv) Tsinova [2014, Beijing, $44M]: TSINOVA is a smart technology focused on intelligent travel equipment and one of their product is light passenger smart bicycle.The bicycle can achieve a maximum speed of 20km/h with a mileage of 50km-70km and has a lithium battery with a capacity of 5.8Ah. Some of its key investors include IDG Capital Partners and Tsinghua Holdings Capital.
xv) Pedalr [2010, San Francisco]: Pedalr is an online curated marketplace for used and new bicycles and cycling gears. The platform hosts products manufactured by artisans and small business owners. It is also a community platform for bike enthusiasts to buy, sell, and connect with each other. As of April 2017, its platform is yet to launch.
Hope you enjoyed the read. Share in your circles and spread the cheer!