Bike shops sought as create your own hire scheme biz Donkey Republic secures €1.5m investment

The Danish Growth Fund and Howzat, a venture capital provider, have thrown extra weight behind Donkey Republic – a concept allowing anyone to make their bike(s) hirable and earn in the process.

Perhaps well suited to bike shops with old low value stock cluttering the shop floor, the scheme has now received a €1.5 million investment to allow the concept to expand worldwide.

Launched in mid 2015 and already found in seven countries, the firm produces an electronic lock that can be retrofitted to most bikes.

Connected digitally, riders book and pay for ready­ to­ share bikes on, in advance or on the spot, 24/7. They then use the Donkey app to locate and unlock the bikes – by connecting to the lock through Bluetooth. In other words, they need no internet on their phone to unlock and lock the bikes as many times as they want, but also no docking stations, no cash, no leaving of ID cards or deposits and no complying with rental shops’ opening hours.

“The need for affordable and sustainable mobility in cities is growing exponentially, and bikes are an obvious solution. The sharing economy already has a good grip on the transport sector, but no current bike­sharing system can scale due to their need for public subsidies. What we are bringing to the table is a green and inexpensive solution to urban transportation that can be run without subsidies and provides everyone with a share of the profit,” Erdem Ovacik, CEO of Donkey Republic told CyclingIndustry.News.

Donkey Republic has now outlined plans to broaden its reach and is specifically interested in hearing from bike shops in high-level tourist regions. Hotel and tourist centre partners, as well as individual partners are also welcomed. Bikes can be listed here.

At present around 85 rentals are booked daily, though the firm hopes that with aggressive expansion it can have a few thousand bikes around the globe and subsequent hire increases by the end of the year.

Ovacik concludes: “Public transportation is costly to run and maintain. It makes sense to look at alternate solutions like bicycles shared through an automated system as part of the public transportation flow, e.g. when the citizens need to cover the last few miles from the train station to their workplace.”

At present the firm operates in Sweden, the USA, UK, Spain, new Zealand and Finland, as well as operating 300 bikes via 40 hubs in its native Denmark.