BikeFair is the first easy, fair, and fun to use pre-owned bike marketplace. No stolen bikes, no scam, just great deals from both bike shops and individuals. Designed to prevent trading stolen bikes, BikeFair offers an alternative to the shady dude trying to sell you an obviously stolen bike on the corner at midnight. Find out what are the benefits of BikeFair, what type of investors they’re looking to attract and why they chose Leapfunder as their online funding platform.
1. Hi Jan, thank you for agreeing to do the interview. Tell us about BikeFair, the idea that got it all started, and the amazing team behind it.
My pleasure! BikeFair is a solution to my personal problem. I learned to fix my bike when I was a kid, and when I came to the Netherlands to do my Masters, I was looking forward to the country of bikes. To my surprise, even though the infrastructure, bike ownership, and usage rates were incredible, the services around bikes were a bit disappointing. It took me a lot of time to find my first bike here, which I finally accomplished via Facebook. I had to travel across the whole town to pick the bike up, the guy brought a different bike because apparently ‘the other one is already sold, but this one is almost the same.’ I even had to pay more for it, which I agreed to because I didn’t want to spend another couple of days looking for another bike. Long after that, I found out it was probably freshly stolen. And to close the loop, the bike got nicked from me later. A similar thing happened to my girlfriend and several other friends. And since I heard this is a common struggle not only for ex-pats, I eventually decided to change all that for good.
2. What problems are you trying to solve? What are the benefits of BikeFair, and why is it a product-market fit?
In brief, a revolution in urban mobility is in progress because of the city centre congestion and climate issues. We believe bicycles will play a significant role in this in the future, even more than they do now, which already makes up for a huge €50 Billion+ industry. The challenge is that bicycle sharing models are either inherently unsustainable or too expensive for everyday use because of the unfavourable purchase versus maintenance cost ratio in that setup. So ownership proves to be the prevalent economic setup. The main challenge with bike ownership is that it brings hassle, at least for the masses. Efforts other modes of transport do not carry or are already resolved. Even for the group of enthusiasts, which is rather significant, there is a large number of obstacles you wouldn’t expect to exist in the 21st century. We are using technology to solve these issues and digitize the industry, one step at a time.
3. How much growth potential do you see for BikeFair and what type of investors are you looking to attract?
In my opinion, being a startup founder by definition means you expect massive growth; otherwise, you’d be a family business owner. And of course, we have global ambition. But taking things one step at a time, we now want to focus on the world’s most competitive market within our industry and get a significant market share in the Netherlands first. We are looking at a massive opportunity, and we’re searching for investors who will at least semi-actively help us utilise that opportunity and overcome all of the obstacles we will undoubtedly face on the way. We primarily seek those with experience with marketplaces, performance marketing and e-commerce in general, the bicycle industry, and anyone with experience in building their own business.
4. You chose Leapfunder as your online funding platform. What makes it the right tool for your startup, and what do you expect from the round?
One element is the community, bringing together founders of cool startups and engaged investors in a way that works for everyone. Given our stage and investment need, I also love the idea of providing the same conditions to all our investors, as opposed to negotiating with everyone individually or forcing lead investor’s conditions on everyone else. We had several in-depth discussions with Dennis and Tienko, and several with the first investors, setting up the round conditions. It turns out it works perfectly for everyone.
5. What are your plans for the upcoming months? Tell us about your go-to-market strategy and the plan to acquire customers.
We already found the elementary product-market fit, so there’s some of the standard stuff – further improving our performance marketing KPIs and increasing the reach, and expanding the network of sellers on the marketplace by approaching more shops in new cities. We will need to expand our team to do all this, which is super exciting.
One of the most rewarding things is seeing that while you might not expect people to purchase bikes often and repeatedly, we have many customers returning to buy a bike for their family member or recommending us to their friends, because of the value they see in our service. We intend to significantly deepen that behaviour and sentiment in general by building an active community, further improving the customer experience, using better technology, and improving our work with data. For instance, we are building a PWA to emulate a mobile app’s experience without necessarily creating one. This will enable us to work with auto-suggestions better and experiment with blockchain as a tool for creating a trustworthy platform.
We are also continually introducing new services such as bike servicing which provides value for multiple community members, automatizing and further improving our monetization, automatizing our marketing efforts and putting sellers a bit more behind the handlebars, and so on. Lots of cool things are coming up!
Thanks a lot for sharing your story with us. We wish BikeFair the best of luck.
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