Ourbike is a new lean and centralized opportunity to rent any unused bikes from private persons or bike shops to local persons or tourists who want to explore Luxembourg by bike for a flexible price the bike owner can define. Interview with co-founder Mathias Keune.
What is your startup about?
With Ourbike, we want to be the leading peer-to-peer online platform that connects bikes that are not currently used with local people and tourists who do not currently own a bike but still want to use one from time to time. Based on our “pre-launch” marketing we could already perceive a massive interest and more than 200 pre-registrations in Luxembourg. Also, more and more people participate in the test phase by adding their own bike.
Urbanisation and pollution are forcing us to rethink our means of transport, and an active and healthy lifestyle is gaining importance in society. With the abundance of goods and services combined with internet-based technologies, the sharing economy is rapidly gaining importance. Considering these important global trends, we believe that the bicycle market has a bright future and that Ourbike can make a significant contribution to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for its users.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, 60% of residents used bicycles last year and wish to use them more frequently. There are 465.029 bicycles in 87% of 208.565 private household in Luxembourg. This is comparable to the number of private cars registered with the SNCT.
In 2020, over 25 million bicycles were sold in Europe alone, but we believe that many of them remain unused and there is a large pool of unused bicycles. We solve these problems by bringing supply and demand together on a trusted online platform.
“The concept of Ourbike is based on the simple idea of making unused bicycles owned by private people available to people who do not own a bike.”
How did you come up with the idea?
First of all, I must mention that everyone in our team is a bike enthusiast. One day in spring we wanted to make a bike tour in Mullerthal with some friends, unfortunately most of them did not own a bike at that time. We ended up taking a walk in the city center while realizing how many bikes are parked unused on street lamps, in the front yard or backyard. We quickly started to think why it is not possible to make these unused bikes accessible in a simple way for people who don’t have a bike but spontaneously want to use one.
While the younger generation in particular has a collaborative lifestyle (using rather than owning), we launched a survey to find out if people would be willing to provide their own bike for a flexible price to people who don’t own their own bike. After an overwhelmingly positive feedback we started to take the idea seriously and to develop a prototype for the web platform.
For that reason, the concept of Ourbike is based on the simple idea of making unused bicycles owned by private people available to people who do not own a bike but would like to go on a spontaneous bike ride, go shopping or just want to try different types of bikes before deciding to buy their own.
What is your business model?
On the one hand, we take a 17% commission from each private bike rental made on the web platform. On the other hand, we collaborate with bike shops and rentals to help digitalise their business by using ourbike for a recurring monthly fee.
What are your products / services?
Besides our online platform that makes it easy for every individual bike owner to provide and rent their bike for people in the neighborhood, we have developed an easy-to-use, keyless smart bike lock with geo-fencing that transmits data directly to our web app (Currently still in beta phase). We will offer the lock in an ourbike “Rent now” package for a one-time payment to private persons and bicycle dealers.
Our smart bike lock technology also enables us to collect a unique set of data, which can be used to understand better the citizen’s and tourist’s behaviour about green commuting and the insights can used to improve the urban development process.
At the same time, our already developed online platform also offers multiple “premium” features for owners of a bike shop or local bike rental, which are not offered by our competition. These premium features include a CRM and POS system with built in reporting dashboard and automated marketing tools to help bike shops and rentals to do digitalise their business.
Compared to station-based bike sharing (Veloh) or traditional bike rental, people can rent a wide variety of categories in a flexible and efficient way. While bike owners make money by renting their equipment, potential renters get a bike for their different needs at a very affordable price. Our experience shows that traditional bike rental can be inconvenient and frustrating.
To our knowledge, many shops that offer rental bikes cannot be easily booked online, and renters have to deal with paperwork on a regular basis. The Ourbike system is simply the better option because it is efficient, self-sustaining and requires little investment. In collaboration with a local insurance provider we make sure every rental of the bike is fully covered.
“We will also actively focus on fund raising in the coming months to achieve our internal goals such as expanding the existing website.”
By building our peer-to-peer online platform our goal is not only to become the market leader in bike sharing from private person to private person but also to promote the image of Luxembourg as a bike friendly and future proof smart nation.
Collaboration and partnership with Luxembourg SMEs such as local bike stores and bike rental companies. Also, we want to support the country’s existing goal of becoming “Veloland Letzeburg” by working towards the vision of the Ministry of Mobility and the Ministry of Tourism. We are also building a community of people who regularly choose a greener way of mobility, sustainability, sharing economy and circular use of products. One of our motivations behind this project is to continue to build Luxembourg’s position as a leader in green development.
Another very important approach is the use of machine learning technology to analyze existing and by Ourbike generated data in view of where is the greatest need for which type of bike with the goal in mind to provide the individual bike owner but also existing bike rental companies with the analyzed data to predict the optimal price for a bike or the most used type in a given region.
We will also actively focus on fund raising in the coming months to achieve our internal goals such as expanding the existing website, finalizing the development of the smart lock technology and building a luxembourg based but internationally operating sales team.