BikeBooker – Just another failed startup or added value

I am trying to pitch BikeBooker and get a feedback wherever I can, on lunch breaks, while having a beer, during workout (oh wait, what’s the workout), and even some anniversaries and reunions. I might sound obsessed but that’s feeding me and giving me fuel to keep pushing in the days when I get grounded by external factors I cannot influence, when my mood and motivation go down, in simple words when I’m fucked up.

So here is one of the stories I hear every time: “Why would someone rent their bicycle and expose to risk for that small amount of money?”. People all of a sudden become super rational and not seem to understand what is their environment capable of? Why do people eat junk food and spend the best days of their lives for something that will statistically fail in 98%? Or volunteer on a charity event? Or give coding classes to disabled people? They are our primary target group when it comes to bicycle owners, so called ‘locals’.

BikeBooker is not going to make the world a better place but it’s giving you a great feeling when you meet new people and have fun while fully utilising your bicycle and getting some pocket money. However, if you decide to list some cool MTB, racing or electric bikes, than you are definitely solving problems of the people who do not possess them and they are ready to pay for that.

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What’s mine is also yours, for a small fee.

More and more young people are turning to non-materialistic globetrotter lifestyle; some of them become digital nomads, some switch between different startups every year and some start their consultancy agency in Malesia or Singapore. Idea is that only stuff they can carry with them is valuable including their skills and experience since there is no reason for buying something if you are going to use it seasonally. Together with early adopters and yuccies they represent our secondary target group willing to rent or share more expensive bicycles.

The direction in which BikeBookers is going to steer is still unknown. We haven’t fully tested the market and concluded what is that people need or would like to use the most, which opens the door for us to pivot to i.e. electric bicycles-only online marketplace. People say that the market is not ready yet. The big issue are regulations which directly threatens scalability since every country has the different ones.

BikeBooker will be able to find its way, if not in Netherlands which has recognized the importance of “collaborative consumption”, adjusted the tax rules and even introduced the special startup visa, than on some other developed market. However, sharing economy service also needs a sharing economy insurance, and that’s where we are stuck at the moment. ‘Centraal beheer Achmea’ is probably one of few insurance companies in the world that started to develope customized sharing economy policies for such startups. However, since only one department is dealing with this kind of requests, BikeBooker has been rejected at the moment due to lack of capacity to develop such policy. In general, conditions are improving but maybe too slow for guys behind lean bootstrapped startups that are hungry to get the first customers and benefit from critical mass effect.

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