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Loop: The Bike Sharing Start-Up

Loop: The Bike Sharing Start-Up

Team Members

  • Haoxuan Tan
  • Andrew Goodman

Website

Social Media

Making bike’s accessible and affordable for students in the ACT.

Venture Concept Overview

For Students in Canberra finding transportation that
is both convenient and affordable is difficult, even with a car you have to deal
with traffic, parking, fuel, etc. Everyone needs to go somewhere, we want to make that easier.
Loop is a bike rental service that allows people that have a bike they don’t want, to sell it to us and share in some of the profits of the bike rental. This will allow people the convenience of not having to walk everywhere, affordability, improved health and fitness and benefits to the environment. We know that people that live around the city are the most likely to ride a bike to get around, the ANU has one of the highest percent of people cycling in the ACT, hence why we think it’s the best place for us to start. We have talked to more than 150 people in our validation to ensure we create something that creates the most value. We are in our early stages and we’ve been trying to focus on what the user’s needs are and how we can create the best value. We’re looking for around $1,000 so that we have a tracking device on each bike, so that we can quickly expand and have more users. We are also interested in using e-bikes in the future, so that we can create a greater impact.

We currently have two student members on the team. Derek is studying at ANU and rides his bike everywhere. He’s been helpful in allowing us to get inside the mind of someone that is within our target market. Derek is also an engineering student and has graphic design experience. Andrew (me) has experience in marketing, management and has always had a fascination in innovation. Andrew was previously VP Public Relations at a Toastmasters club and got a taste of what it is like to run a startup.

We are looking to partner with the Recyclery so that we can get more bikes and it can be of immense value to them. We may also approach the Active Travel Office to see if they can help us to find a place to store the bikes, seeing as though we have the same purpose in mind of increasing bike usage in the ACT, we may be able to assist them with that goal. In the future, we would like to be able to assist cities in creating more sustainable and convenient transportation solutions. We have a great deal of interest in e-bikes and in our belief that a lot to do with bike transportation can be improved upon, such as bike helmet design.

The Idea

For students and low-income workers traveling by car is not always the best option. Cars can be pricey and inconvenient. Bikes tend to be a no-brain-er for this market. We are creating a peer to peer bike rental service so that people that have a bike they don’t use, can rent it to people that want it. This allows us to offer a cheap rental service. Ideally, we would like to pivot and create an electric bike (e-bike) rental service when we have the resources.

The Market

We’re targeting students that benefit from traveling by bike.

We will allow them to remove the pains of parking, petrol, maintenance among other things that cars can bring and it’s also more convenient than walking.

Some other benefits include: affordability, improved health and fitness and benefits to the environment.

 

We are in the best place to be starting out as according to a survey by Austroads, 26% of ACT residents ride a bike in a week on average, and we have the highest cycling rate in Australia. The Australian bike council has found that people that live close to where they want to go are the most likely to cycle to work or full time study. ANU students that live nearby or perhaps people that live near the city would therefore be the most logical target market.

 

We have also learned from talking to people that people are more likely to ride a bike if it’s an e-bike, that’s why we take a good deal of interest in it.

The Competition

Our main competitors are cars and public transportation.

Cars are a solution for people that require to travel long distance in a short amount of time. Public transportation allows similar convenience just not as much as a car offers.

 

Our venture is an improvement of these competitors for our target as our target are either one of two; They own a car but find it inconvenient. They complain about parking, petrol price, traffic and maintenance costs. These people may also live near their destination and would benefit from having a bike or e-bike.

 

The second target; tend to commute by bus and/or walk. These people find public transportation ineffective. They often complain that their bus route isn’t direct enough. They find having to walk and bus everywhere inconvenient.

 

As long as we simplify the process of accessing a bike, then we’ve created a proposition of value that improves upon our competitors’.

The Vision

We believe the scale-ability of the venture is potentially huge. The reason we believe this is because we are trying to solve transportation problems and these issues are not uncommon.

 

Within the first 24 months we’d like to reach 1,000 riders in the ACT.

We would consider expanding to other Australian cities, such as Melbourne but only once we have a better idea of our unique value proposition.

There are many things that we’d like to pursue down the track. One idea is to pursue a car option that is affordable and convenient, similar to our bike option. This would allow us to reach people that have no way of using a bike as transportation. In the short-term we would consider the use of e-bikes. It may even be of value to partner with Deliveroo or Uber eats to provide deliverers with an e-bike.

Mentor Pitch

Bike-sharing in the past have gotten one part right, the bikes. But they’ve forgotten about the sharing, which is just as important. We want to bring back the sharing of bike-sharing systems and make bikes lifestyle friendly. People can struggle with finding transportation that is both convenient and affordable, even with a car you have to deal with traffic, parking, fuel, etc. If we’re successful, we will be able to create a highly scale-able transportation option.

 

We are a team of two students that understand the struggles that ordinary students face when it comes to getting around Canberra. Derek is studying engineering and also has graphic design skills. Andrew (me) previously helped run a Toastmasters club as VP Public Relations and has experience with marketing and management. We are have been able to bring some great ideas together and start the ball rolling.

 

What we’re looking for in a mentor is somebody that will understand the challenges of scaling such a bike-sharing system and to help us understand the economic challenges we will face. We also want someone with platform building skills.

Look forward to meeting you.

Video pitch

The Customer Experience

We are currently using social media to connect with potential customers. We are doing that now by creating a group on Facebook built around buying and selling bikes, that way we can find our market with relative ease. We are putting up posters around UC and ANU to bring people to our Facebook community. We have been doing a Free bike promotion to draw in new customers in a viral way. We also have a website that details our company’s offering. At the moment the way the service is being provided to the customer is by delivering the bike to peoples place. In the future we’d like to try having specific locations we drop off the bikes. An email mailing list would also be ideal, so that we can keep in touch with our customers with promotions and updates. We’d like to create an online platform (app and website) that directly connects people with our service and make payments.

The Team

Both of us fit within the target market that we’re aiming for, which makes it easier to emphasis with our customer segment.

On the team we have an engineering student with the knowledge to build prototypes and designing expertise which has also been important in the early stages of developing our brand identity. We also have an IT student with experience in marketing, Public Relations and an enthusiasm for business and problem solving.

We have always been good at going back to the problem and taking a human centered design approach to the venture and scrapping things if necessary.

We have connections with the people at the Recyclery and we would like to partner with them so that we can offer their bikes in our service and allow them to keep most of the profits.

We have made progress in the customer validation stage and we are onto the prototyping and testing stage to make sure that we move along steadily.

Our Partners

We’re currently a peer to peer bike rental service and so we’re always on the lookout for more bikes for people to use.

We will need someone with the experience to help us build an online platform so that we can provide an experience that is easy for people to connect with.

We would like to develop more key contacts within the bike riding community, such as with Pedal Power ACT so that we can be more involved with the people the bike riding community.

For the bikes themselves, we will need some kind of tracking device to keep track of the bikes. Either a Bluetooth tracking device or a GPS tracking device is what we’re looking at at the moment.

If you would like to contribute and get involved in some way then email: andrewg_97@outlook.com.au

Funding Sought

We’re looking for about $1,500 in funding. We would need money for the tracking device that goes on every bike so we can keep our bikes safe. We will also be sharing in the profits from the bike rental with the people that previously owned the bike. That way people are encouraged to give us their bikes.

We are looking into what type of tracking device we could utilise, we could either go with a Bluetooth tracking device or a GPS device. We are preferring the use of a Bluetooth device such as Tile (Approximately $167 AUD for 8, https://www.thetileapp.com/en-us/store/tiles/mate), or a cheaper model from Alibaba (Approximately 2.50AUD each. www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Smart-Finder-Bluetooth-Key-GPS-Smart_60671080429.html?spm=a2700.7724838.2017115.59.1b121089tnEvr5). A GPS device would be more expensive and range from around $50+ per device.

We would look into potentially purchasing an e-bike, which ranges from around $400+ on Alibaba.

The Bluetooth device for 10 bikes would range from $25 – $200. We would look into getting one e-bike in our service as a trial and that would range from $400+. We may also need some peripheries for the bikes such as bike locks, bells and potentially space to put things on a bike. That may cost around $80 for a bell on 10 bikes, if required. Bike locks would cost around $50 from Pushys, $500 for 10.

Tha rough estimate is about $1004 at the cheapest, including an e-bike, which we may not pursue right now. In the event we do not get one than a smaller amount of funding would be fine too. We would also need to become a fully registered company which costs about $479 according to www.business.gov.au.

Our Partners

We are connecting with the Recyclery so that we can get more bikes in our service and so that they can get more of their bikes being used and give them a share of the profits. They can also potentially do the maintenance of our bikes and it could be the beginning of a long term partnership. We’d look into partnering with the ACT Government more specifically, the Active Travel Office. We share the same goal of wanting to make it easier to fit riding a bike into people’s lifestyle in the ACT and we may be able to assist in some capacity in that goal.

Capturing Value

We have two main users; the bike sharers (those who rent or give their bikes to us) and those that want to rent a bike. We get bikes from people and then we rent bikes out to people in a time period (7 days, 14 days, 28 days, etc.).
They pay using Paypal at the moment and it is a once-off transaction, we will look into a subscription model if that’s of benefit to the users.

We have done testing with a paying customer but at this point we haven’t figured out how much a customer is willing to pay, but we think we’ll charge roughly $35 a week. We are still trying to determine the right pricing so we don’t know at this stage.