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Meet Spokefly, an on-demand bike rental marketplace helping people rent bikes instantly – Startup Story #44

By Guest User 15th February 2016

Spokefly is an on-demand bike rental company that lets anyone rent a bike with few taps on a smartphone. Working on the same business model as a car rental company, Spokefly lets a user browse bikes, book a ride and unlock a chosen bike – all through a mobile app. Currently serving the areas of Austin and San Francisco, Spokefly is gearing up for a launch in more cities in the USA.

Riding a bike is surely a good idea rather than hailing a cab which might leave you stuck in a traffic jam. Especially in cities like Austin, cycling is always a preferred means to go around the city by ditching traffic congestion. Spokefly has created a marketplace where bike owners can lend their bikes to those who want to rent them. We, here at Juggernaut got into conversation with Nate, founder of Spokefly to know more about this awesome startup and know their journey in the on-demand space.

Founder: Nate McGuire
Headquarters: Austin, TX.
Founded on: Mar 7, 2014
Startup Vertical: Bike rental marketplace.

Here’s what Nate McGuire said.

Q) Starting Peer to peer bikes on-demand platform is definitely a great idea. Tell us a little about Spokefly and your personal motivation for starting this service?

Spokefly started as an idea I had to make it easier to get around by bike without having to own one or rent one of the old school bike share bikes that are no fun to ride. I built the prototype for the web, started testing with users, and we’ve expanded out from there, now with apps on Android and iOS and in three cities.

Q) Can you give us a rundown of how it works?

Spokefly is simple – you match with a nearby bike, unlock it using the combination lock on the bike, ride anywhere, and end your ride with a photo and locking up the bike.

Q) What is the value proposition you are offering to users?

It’s the simpler, easier way to bike share, with better bikes. They say there are two types of cities: those that have bike shares and those that want them. The problem we’re really solving is that cities across the world don’t have the resources to build out a traditional kiosk-based bike share system as they tend to cost $2-5 million dollars to implement, where a non-profit or city government can Spokefly with a modest investment in bikes and have a system that operates better and pays for itself from ride revenues instead of tax dollars or fundraising.

Q) You are present in Austin and San Francisco right now. Do you plan to launch services in new regions? If yes, what is your strategy?

We’re in 3 markets: Austin, San Francisco, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Spokefly is self-serve, so interested, qualifying cities can start up their own bike-share system as long as they have the capital and demand to do so. On our end we’re focused on delivering quality software for cities to manage the bike share, so far we’ve built sophisticated reporting and mapping tools and are always improving.

Q) Could you shed some light on the technology and tools used to build Spokefly?

Spokefly is based on a marketplace model. Anyone having a bike can lend their bike when it is not in use and a user can simply rent an available bike per minute or on a daily basis. We have integrated maps into our app for precise locations.

Q) What is one particular Marketing Tool or process which you swear by, that has helped you gain more users on the platform?

Marketing for on-demand services is hit or miss. I’d recommend focusing on product development over marketing first because if the product is no good it will be hard to expand.

Q) What are your future plans? Are you planning to integrate more features in the service?

New analytics and reporting features, as well as always improving our iOS and Android mobile apps.

Q) What is your onboarding process to get bikes owners/bikes on the platform?

Our primary users are launching city-scale bike shares with hundreds of bikes, so we work with each one to onboard them in a way that fits their needs and timelines.

Q)Where do you see Spokefly in five years?

We want to expand not just to the US but even to other countries of the world. We dream about Spokefly providing bike rentals in Paris and other such destinations of the world.

Q) Any advice for startups trying to make it big or join the On-Demand space?

The on-demand space is tight on margin so you have to make it up in scale and lifetime value of the customer. To really get the scale you need an amazing product and flawless operations.

Wanted to create a similar business? Don’t worry, Jungleworks is here for you.

Jungleworks offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) system, such as Online Marketplaces, Delivery Optimization software, and Marketing Automation software that allows users to create a new product using the SaaS’s abilities and features without writing even a single line of code, designing, and testing.

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