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Antwerp's smart bike share
Cloudbike is Antwerp's first smart bike sharing platform, launched in January of this year with 300 stylish, high quality bikes.
Customers can download our user friendly app, register in less than a minute and use the map to find the nearest bike. Our bright blue bikes are easily spotted because they really stand out. Each bike has a unique QR code on the frame as well as on the instruction panel in the basket. Scanning the code will cause the lock to open automatically using your phone's Bluetooth connection. Our platform works with geo-fenced "drop zones" strategically spread throughout the city where bikes can be found. Users are obliged to park their bike in a drop zone once they have arrived at their destination. The main advantage is that we are able to maintain a well organised system that allows for efficient rebalancing. A bike can also be paused anywhere if you need to make a quick stop, just lock the bike and it will be reserved until you return!
We currently offer 3 pricing schemes.
- Pay-per-use: This option allows you to pay as you go, you pay a 0,50€ minimum that covers the first 10 minutes of cycling, afterwards you pay 0,05€ per minute. This option is ideal for the occasional rider.
- Day pass: For 6 euro's you get an unlimited amount of rides up to 40 minutes per ride at a time during 24 hours, if you keep the bike longer you will pay a supplement. Perfect for tourists that are visiting our beautiful city.
- 3 month subscription: This subscription costs 20 euro's and also allows you unlimited 40 minute rides at a time. It is mainly used by locals that use Cloudbike on a regular basis.
We have established a well known, strongly branded and fully operational bike sharing business. With over 35.000 rides, 6.000 app registrations and more than 3.000 unique paying customers, we believe we haven't done too bad so far!
Antwerp, along with many cosmopolitan cities, is in need of sustainable mobilty solutions and here at Cloudbike we recognise a huge untapped potential. Now is the time to act and we hope you share our vision!
The idea for Cloudbike started in June of 2016. Founder Jim's girlfriend had applied for a Velo Antwerpen card and was put on a waiting list, along with 12.000 other bike sharing enthousiasts. The increasing popularity of the city's bike share, Velo Antwerpen, had lead to a cap on the number of available subscriptions. This is where Jim saw an opportunity: "If there is such a demand for it, why don't I create more supply?". This idea further developed into a bike share without physical docking stations and a smartphone application that acts as a key to unlock bicycles. Jim approached his co-founder Max and after a year and a half of preparation the innovative project was launched in January of this year. This all coincided with the "knip" of the Antwerp Leien and all other mobility problems in and around the city, affecting residents as well as businesses. Since then sharing mobility solutions have boomed and similar platforms have popped up everywhere. We believe these are the future of mobility and it's only just beginning!
Cloudbike will focus on 3 core services.
Firstly we want to improve and expand our current B2C public bike sharing platform even further by investing in app development (new features, additional payment methods,...), marketing and potentially ordering 60 extra bicycles in order to increase supply and add more drop zones.
Secondly we want to trial a pilot for an additional B2C service, Belgium's first electric cargo bike sharing platform named "Cloudbak". E-cargo bikes are expensive and take up a lot of space, which is often lacking when you live in a city. These cargo bikes are growing in popularity and are a great alternative for a car, especially in Antwerp with all the congestion and road works. They can be used for groceries, parcel deliveries, a day out with the kids,.. and so much more!
Finally we will put a great amount of effort in B2B private bike sharing by offering a customised solution for businesses. Companies can have their own private fleet of smart bicycles for their employees and/or customers to share via an app or a personal card. We provide an all inclusive service (bicycles, platform, maintenance, insurance, branding,..) for a fixed monthly amount per bike based on a 4 year contract. This unique value proposition is new in the market, easily scalable and can be offered as a solution for a variety of mobility problems businesses are encountering. We see a huge potential in this market and are already speaking to multiple businesses.
- 1 of 10 selected projects (22 submissions) for the Slim Naar Antwerpen "Marktplaats voor mobiliteit" 2017 project call.
- Launched on the 10th of January 2018!
- 1 of 49 selected projects (180 submissions) for Startit @KBC incubator in February 2018.
- A total of 5068 rides, 10228 km and 1019 hours cycled in September, our best month so far!
Since April of this year, all providers of free floating platforms need to apply for a license. There are strict requirements and certain norms (average usage, maximum number of bikes etc) that need to be obtained on a yearly basis or the permit can be revoked. There are only 4 available licenses for bike sharing, meaning we could maximum have 3 competitors. Cloudbike is holder of such a license and it is valid for at least another 2,5 years. At this time we are massively exceeding the norm set out for average usage of bikes for the first year. This license obviously has a great amount of value for the future.
We do not own any patents since we don't develop ourselves, but our sotware and harware partners do.
We have concluded an exclusive sponsorship deal with car dealership Jorssen. This deal has allowed us to not solely rely on user fees and makes our business model more sustainable than other bike sharing providers.
The great thing about public bike sharing is that it markets itself. For example we regularly have tourists that walk past our bikes, read the instruction sign, download the app and go! So far we have relied mostly on word-of-mouth, using our network and free press attention. Nevertheless, we want to increase our customer base even more by focussing on online and social media marketing. For our new e-cargo bike project we will have a similar approach, online marketing and a press launch. We will also launch an e-mail campaign using our list of 8.000+ email addresses acquired over the last year. Our B2B customers are acquired through cold calling and using our network, our sponsor and partner Jorssen gets us in touch with their fleet clients regularly as well. We are also planning on hiring a new business developer!
Our public bike sharing is currently primarily focused on the Antwerp market. Our goal has been to create a bike sharing platform that works, is well organised and has a high level of quality and service. This entails a great deal of work on a daily basis to keep the fleet up to its standards and cannot be scaled too quickly in our opinion, we have seen other similar businesses fail using that approach (for example oBike). However, we have noticed a lot of interests from municipalities to start bike sharing, we are already in conversation with lots of them and expect a couple of expansions in 2019 through tenders. For example, we are currently involved in a tender process for the municipality of Boom for 100 bikes. The e-cargo bike project can be scaled to other cities like Ghent or Leuven if the pilot is successful. Our B2B efforts are in first instance focused on Flanders, but can be expanded to the rest of Belgium in the future.
Jorssen is not only a sponsor, but is also taking an advisory role and getting us in touch with their fleet customers to present our customised B2B solution.
Werkmmaat is a social economic business and we partner up with them to outsource our bike maintenance.
We are currently also negotiating a commercial agreement with a new hardware and software supplier, but this hasn't been formalised yet.