ECONOMICS

Bikeshare Programs Confessions From Kenya

Dani Simons, Director of Marketing and External Affairs with NYC Bike Share explains the process of using the bicycles, in this case returning a bike,  at a dock and lock station at the Brooklyn Navy Yards Sunday, May 12, 2013 in New York. The expanding bike share system allows those who join to ride bicycles and return them from the same or different docks in parts of New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Dani Simons, Director of Marketing and External Affairs with NYC Bike Share explains the process of using the bicycles, in this case returning a bike, at a dock and lock station at the Brooklyn Navy Yards . The expanding bike share system allows those who join to ride bicycles and return them from the same or different docks in parts of New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The call for bike enthusiast and stakeholders to participate in a Bicycle sharing business brainstorming by the Nairobi Innovation week has made me excited and hyped up for the discussion and subsequent presentations. In 2014, we sat down as colleagues enjoying trying out a bunch of stuff, with the goal of starting an activity that would keep us busy and at the same time generate an income for us.

We went on a browsing spree looking the coolest ideas in the startup world. It took a few months and finally we hit the jackpot. We got an idea which was pretty easy to start and ultimately easy to manage. What we thought.

Armed with our low risk venture, hoping to get high in returns. BikeshareKE was the name. We had managed to save some crowdfunding capital that we got from our online campaign in partnership with M-Changa and 1% club. So capital wasn’t the problem what so ever.

After acquiring 3 bicycles and starting the “money making making venture”.  we started out on a roll. We even had time to come up with those cute infographics that startups are popular with. The reception was amazing. and we were drunk it.

there are many reasons for startup failure. It might not be my job to lie to you that I know all of them. That’s why Google is still King in this web mess of banking on someone’s information. Maybe its because they turn the mess into mess-age. Back to my contemplations. For starters, we forgot the classic reason why bikes go missing, that’s because they get easily stolen.

Going through the positive feedback that we had with our loyal customers. We had to be cautious on winding up/closing shop and also to see how we could retain the klout’ that we had gathered over the months. Sometimes failure doesn’t need to have a  gentleman’s excuse. Ask Kenya airways, they can’t explain their losses and they manage fleets of aero-mobiles.

Still, we are hopeful that the innovation week( https://twitter.com/InnovWkNairobi) will help those interested in Bikeshare programs to be able to compete in teams for the winning idea. The winning idea will then go through training and mentor-ship at the ( https://twitter.com/c4dlab). There might be seed funding from the organizers United Nations, C4dlab and University of Nairobi. Opportunities are still coming up for innovators in this retro-based cycling exercise.

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