Cycling has gone interactive too, with mobile apps telling you where to go and what to see. Unlike driving, however, accessing maps can be somewhat of a pain for cyclists as it requires them to repeatedly browse on their smartphones. For the cycling enthusiasts behind BikeCityGuide, this issue demanded a solution and they set about building a business which would make it easy and fun to get out and explore your city (or surrounding countryside) by bike.
Bike Citizens, the parent service, actually promotes several different products. The most attractive are the BikeCityGuide (available for Android and iOS) and BikeNatureGuide (same), which are apps designed to help cyclists find paths, receive verbal directions (notifications), and track your cycling stats.
If you happen to be cycling in a major European city (full list at the page for the Android) app, BikeCityGuide users can download cyclist-generated guides. You can try these for free for up to 30km and then you need to shell out 4.49 Euro for “city packs”.
There are companion guides for the BikeNatureGuide app as well, but they are currently only available for regions in Austria. In both cases, users don’t need to work about having a stable internet connection, as the apps are capable of working offline.
However, the startup is not solely involved in software. Users don’t want to have to constantly reach into their pockets for their phones, so the startup also sells “Finns”, which are bike-mounts that can be purchased for 12 Euro. In terms of traction, BikeCityGuide claims more than 150K combined downloads on Android and iOS and more than 30K active Android users.
One of the things that struck me about this startup is that they have opted for a crowdfunding campaign to obtain funding needed to continue to expand their business to the United Kingdom. It is not completely unheard of for startups to appeal to the general public, but it does not appear to be a common practice among established businesses. In this case, the company obtained more than 136K Euro (far more than their goal of 50K) from 160 backers.
They are quite open about the success that they have achieved, stating that they started the business in 2011 with just 1,500 Euro, but took home more than 320K Euro in sales in 2013 and 250K Euro in just the first 4 months of this year. The company is currently valued at 2.5 million Euro. In addition to funding their international expansion, they intend to begin offering Finns in multiple colors.