A startup called LimeBike has raised $12 million in venture funding to attain Chinese-style motorcycle sharing mainstream in the U.S. Andreessen Horowitz contributed the round, joined by IDG Ventures, DCM Ventures and other investors who declined to be named.
In China, corporations like MoBike and Ofo have raised a considerable amount of venture capital and distributed tens of thousands of their GPS-enabled bicycles in urban markets. The bicycles do not have to be retrieved and returned at docks like they do in major U.S. bike-sharing programs, such as the Citibike initiative with Motivate Co. in New York.
According to LimeBike co-founders, chairwoman Brad Bao and CEO Toby Sun, the startup is working with the Bay Area bicycle alliances, and other advocacy groups, to forge strong relationships with different cyclist communities across the U.S.
LimeBike, which is based in San Mateo, Calif ., is entering an increasingly mobbed marketplace. Competitors offering kiosk-free motorcycle sharing in the U.S. include Social Bicycles, Spin, Bluegogoand Zagster. And Motivate Co ., the domestic leader in so far, is still expanding its bike-share programs with kiosks, locking in exclusive contracts with metropolis, typically, wherever they go.
For its rolloutthis April, LimeBike has designed bicycles with GPS- and 3G-connectivity; foam core tires that arent at risk of deflating; a large metal basket for carrying shipment; an on-board solar panel and smart lock. Customers will pay$ 1 for every 30 minutes of use. They can fire up LimeBikes mobile app to locate a nearby motorcycle, use a QR code to unlock the motorcycle, then lock it up, freestanding, at their destination. The bicycles have a center kickstand, so users wont have to chain them to street signs or racks.
The startup works with outside both manufacturers and vendors for components, but designed and assembled the bicycles on their own. LimeBike has no immediate plans to sell the GPS-locatable bicycles as a consumer product.
Sun mentioned, Our squad has tons of experience is currently working on high-tech corporations like Facebook, Square and Tencent. We know what it takes to get the app right, and to attain products that work for the U.S. marketplace in general. But we have also spent period with the services in China, and can see what will work and wont work for big cities that want to increase bike use and reduction traffic.
Andreessen Horowitz partner Jeff Jordan mentioned LimeBikes trade knowledge impressed him. There is extensive competitive those who are interested in motorcycle sharing. Nobody in this marketplace will win on patents. Its all about the execution.An avid mountain biker himself, potential investors mentioned LimeBike is tapping into mega trends like urbanization, and a millennial view of transportation which is more about getting from A to B in the most convenient route possible, and less about car ownership than earlier generations.
LimeBike chairwoman Brad Bao said the company will use its funding to prove the companys bicycles and service work well in a subset of U.S. venues, largely metropolis and towns with large college or corporate campuses. They will likewise be gathering extensive data on the use of Lime Bikes in order to demonstrate advantages to metropolis and towns, including impacts on traffic and fitness in their communities.
Some towns were afraid that bikes is likely to be dumped all over their streets and sidewalks without fear for traffic, security and aesthetics are hostile to bike-share programs without designated kiosks. In San Francisco this week, new regulationswere introduced that would require kiosk-free bike-share companies to obtain a city permit before rolling out their goods. The metropoli willissue tickets to corporations for bicycles left where theyd block normal right of way foot or vehicle traffic. And non-permitted bicycles will be drag off under the new rules.
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