Bicycle-sharing service gobee.bike starts in Hong Kong with backing from global investors
[20 April, 2017, HONG KONG] Gobee.bike, Hong Kong’s first bicycle-sharing system, launched yesterday on International Bike Day with over 1000 smart bikes spread out across key locations in the New Territories which include bike-friendly Sha Tin, Tai Po, and Ma On Shan. This number is set to grow to 20,000 by July. The newly-introduced service aims to cover most of Hong Kong (including Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, Discovery Bay and Park Island) by the end of the year, allowing riders to pick up the bright green bicycles parked nearby simply by using a mobile application. With public bike-sharing systems in place in over 1000 cities worldwide, Hong Kong’s differentiates itself by letting riders drop their bikes in any public space, without the restriction of fixed bicycle stations.
Noticing the inaccessibility of bicycles in Hong Kong and the inconvenience of renting one, CEO and co-founder Raphael Cohen decided to introduce the highly affordable service, made possible by a tried-and-tested technological concept, after the company met their capital target from global investors. The round was led by Swiss Founders Fund; Cocoon Ignite Ventures, Lasminute.com group's Founder & Chairman Fabio Cannavale, Goldman Sachs alumni as well individual investors also participated in this seed round. “Our mission is to bring bike-sharing to the masses and make it accessible to anyone looking for convenience, whether they are students, daily commuters, or tourists,” says Raphael Cohen, who has worked at Rocket Internet, is the former co-founder and CSO of HotelQuickly and MD and co-founder at Foodpanda.com.
With strong financial backing, gobee.bike aims to extend its reach on a global scale over the next two to three months after launching in Hong Kong. “Many of our expansions are already in place. As a fast-growing international enterprise with a world-class team and investors, we are excited to bring cycling to you anytime and in any place,” says Cohen.
The recognizable gobee.bike bikes are equipped with a basket, a smart light for night rides and an integrated alarm system to prevent theft. To rent one of the recognizable rides, cyclists can log in to the brand’s mobile application on their smartphones, register their credit card and then locate the nearest bicycle through an active map. The GPS smart locks and smart lights system on each bike are powered by solar panels and can be unlocked within seconds by scanning a unique QR code. Cyclists can then park at any designated public area. By locking the bike, the system automatically stops charging, and the total usage time and price are made visible. The system is connected through a cloud that links smart locks, user’s accounts and the gobee.bike management system; while it is currently only accessible on Android phones, the company is working on extending the availability to iOS users.
With the majority of living spaces in Hong Kong being too small to make owning a bike feasible, in addition to being convenient, gobee.bike allows users to embrace a healthier lifestyle as they opt to cycle to their destinations in lieu of using public transportation or driving, and in a city with already high pollution levels, gobee.bike offers a more environmentally-friendly choice.
Renting a bicycle from gobee.bike costs HK$5 per half hour and payments can made directly through the application by linking a credit card.