Vilnius-based Dropbyke, which quietly launched at the beginning of last month, is aiming to introduce an element of speed to the process of bike rental, with a platform that allows quickly locate the nearest ride, use it, and then pass it on to the next person.
Taking advantage of Dropbyke involves downloading their app for Android or iOS and then using your GPS to locate the nearest bike. It does not have to be just any bike, either, as riders have the option of choosing on the basis of photos, the hourly-rate, and trip ranking. It is generally not a good idea to leave an unlocked bike out somewhere and, indeed, users will find that the bike will be chained. Users are expected to navigate that issue by submiting their credit card details, after which they will receive the combination for the lock and be on their merry way. Reaching the destination, they are expected to take a photo of it and leave a message for the next rider and then lock it back up. It is not a requirement, but the startup also encourages users to rate their trip in order to help others.
Dropbyke appears to be a pretty cheap option for those looking for some quick transportation, as the startup says that they only charge 1 Euro per hour for those within Vilnius to use the service.
Alexander Shvetsov from Dropbyke tells me that the founders are currently funding the project themselves, but they are about to enter into their first fundraising round. They claim 1,500 users at the moment, but operate solely in Vilnius. If all goes well, Shvetsov says that they are planning to roll the service out with 500 bikes across Western Europe within the next 6 months.