Our start-up of the week is Dublin and Moscow-based BikesBooking.com, an online reservation service for bicycle, scooter and motorcycle rental worldwide.
“We connect travellers who are looking for bike or motorcycle rental with local rental companies,” explained Anton Shreider, co-founder and CEO of BikesBooking.com.
“This is a new service; there are a lot of car rental booking websites, but we are the first who offers online reservation of all kinds of two-wheeled transport.
‘No parking problems, only wind in your hair’
– ANTON SHREIDER
“We don’t charge any commission from our users and offer the best price guarantee,” Shreider said.
“You already can rent a bike in almost 1,700 locations in Europe, Asia and America on our website,” Shreider explained.
“Currently, we have more than 900 partners in 50 countries. Our main markets are resorts and big cities of Europe and the United States as well as Rome, Paris, Ibiza, Athens and Miami. People love to ride a bike in Barcelona. The Italian and French Rivieras are also very popular.
“Now you can choose from 35,000 vehicles already available for booking: city bicycles, road bikes, Vespa scooters, ATVs or even Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
“According to our research, the market is big enough to become a notable part of the online travel market.”
Before BikesBooking.com, Shreider had previous experience with start-ups.
“When I was in university, I created a website where people were able to rent things to each other. It was kind of Airbnb for everything.
“Then, my co-founder Tatiana Skorniakova and I noticed that there was a gap in the market of online bookings.
“You can book a hotel, aeroplane ticket or rent a car easily and in five minutes, but it was not possible to do the same with motorcycles or bicycles, so we founded BikesBooking.com.”
Skorniakova and Shreider developed their own global distribution system for small rental companies that can’t work with giant platforms such as Amadeus or Sabre.
“That helps us to offer real-time rates and availability for our customers.
“From the client side, travellers who want to rent a bike or motorcycle simply use the search form on our website and get results with vehicles, prices and ratings.
“From there, they can choose a bike they prefer and book it to be sure that the exact model will be awaiting them on arrival. We don’t write ‘or similar’ as car rental companies usually do – you always book an exact bike on BikesBooking.com.”
The start-up will also launch an API in the next few months.
“You will see BikesBooking’s offers on the popular OTA [online travel agency] websites and will be able to book a bike together with your hotel or aeroplane ticket.”
Shreider said the overall goal is to provide a new dimension to travel.
“We are offering an absolutely new service for travellers. Instead of car rental, you can rent a bike or scooter on any resort of the world, and enjoy your holiday in an eco-friendly manner. No parking problems, only wind in your hair.”
Shreider said that two-wheeled transport is gaining more and more popularity among travellers as an alternative to car rental.
“We are looking to change the way people move around the city and sightsee in their trips.”
Get your motor running, head out on the highway
BikesBooking.com is growing faster than expected even half a year ago, said Shreider.
“What is more important is that we have had revenue almost from the first month we launched.
“Regarding investment, we got a pre-seed round from Enterprise Ireland in 2016 to test our service on the European market.
“Currently, we are raising a €1m seed round to expand our service and hire more staff.”
The biggest challenge for the company was attracting partners, as it was the first company of its kind in the space.
“It took some time to explain how rental companies can benefit from this cooperation. Raising money in Russia was kind of a challenge too, but we were lucky to receive investments from Enterprise Ireland. I think most of the challenges are only coming. But since we have a tested and proven technology, now we will need to scale it.”
Shreider’s view on the Irish start-up scene is that the quality is high.
“I saw many companies developing difficult technologies in the sphere of machine learning and AI … What was interesting for me [was that] Ireland has a well-developed female entrepreneurs ecosystem that I haven’t yet seen in other countries.”
Shreider’s advice for other founders is: “Be persistent and never give up. No one will care about your company as strongly as you will. Only the vision of the founders can move your company from scratch to something big.”