Bike share startup to promote cycling worldwide
The firm Bycyklerne has a new competitor called Donkey Republic, which has the advantage of bikes that do not have to be parked at a specific station but can be left anywhere. Aided by an intelligent bike lock with a Bluetooth receiver the closest courtesy bike can be tracked by phone and unlocked.
Alexander Frederiksen, an MSc student in business administration and philosophy at CBS , has put this new player on the market jointly with three colleagues. On Friday he will compete against 138 other groups in the DTU competition Green Challenge to be the best green project.
- I hope we win. Our project can have a significant impact on the world because we can help create a movement in which more people choose to bike, said 29-year-old co-founder Alexander Frederiksen.
He just met with Hillerød Municipality about piloting the concept there. There are already test bikes placed in Ballerup and Østerbro.
More bicycles, less cars
The idea behind the bike share project is to offer a Scandinavian inspired version of the German company Car2go, but with courtesy bikes instead of courtesy cars placed throughout the city, explained Frederiksen. The closest bike can be located via an app and then borrowed for a small fee. A five kilometer bike trip costs approx. ten kroner.
- Our solution is inexpensive and flexible. It will help more people choose a combination of public transport and biking instead of using a car. This means less pollution and better health. Fewer cars would also mean more space for green areas, he added.
In addition to bargaining with bike shops to assist with maintaining the courtesy bikes, Frederiksen also aspires to make Donkey Republic bikes part of the Travel Card scheme. This will give people the opportunity to switch from train to bus to bike without paying extra fees. This idea, however, has yet to be realised.
A variety of disciplines made the bike project possible
The collaboration between these four young men originally started two years ago at the Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship (CSE). At the time they were fully engaged in other projects. The incubator environment CSE created was great for leading to inspiring talks during which Frederiksen and his future colleague, Erdem Ovacik, who has a bachelor in mechanical engineering from Turkey, decided to put a plan into operation for the bike share project.
The two other co-founders, Jens Frandsen, who has a degree in electrical engineering from the DTU, and Rune Kokholm, who has a degree in business development engineering from Aarhus University, later joined the project. “Our different competences have been essential to the project”, says Frederiksen.
- The electrical engineer Jens was able to get the app operational and Erdem made the mechanical part of the lock possible. My philosophy and financial background allowed me to develop, sell and incorporate marketing into the project. When the task is so complex it’s essential that each team member can do different things, he explains.
The Donkey Republic project is sailing comfortably along. In August another 130 bikes will hit the streets and the newspaper Politiken also got wind of the project. If the Green Challenge judges like the project, or if their success continues, the four entrepreneurs have big goals ahead.
- The idea is to create a financially sustainable solution that is replicable in both small and large cities across the globe. Following growth in emerging markets and the spread of biking there is an obvious choice, he concludes.
Read more in the article by the newspaper Politiken “Private initiative proffers an alternative to city bikes” (in Danish)
For more information please contact Alexander Frederiksen, mobile: +45 27 28 06 32, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or journalist Matilde Hørmand-Pallesen, mobile: +45 41 85 22 05, mail: email@example.com
Facts about the Green Challenge
Green Challenge is sponsored by DTU and takes place all day Friday 26 June. There are 138 teams with students from Denmark and abroad presenting their projects and 22 panels of judges who will assess individual student projects. CBS President Per Holten-Andersen is among the judges. Students have the chance to be inspired by their peers and to network with people from abroad who are in possession of the greatest amount of knowledge about working with green sustainability. Next year CBS students will get the opportunity to take part in the competition again.