It was a cold Saturday night in Copenhagen when team Selfie rode home after a party and KP’s chain felt off. In that moment we thought “Damn, now it would be nice if there was just someone around to help out. Or at least a place where we could grab some tools to help KP…”
From this experience, ‘CPH Bike SOS’, a mobile marketplace connecting cyclists in need with reliable helping hands, was born. On a trusted community basis bike enthusiastic business students contribute their management skills and social creativity to bail out desperate cyclists beyond opening hours. ‘Share your skills and put a smile upon someone’s face!’ – a simple, but effective mission in accordance with urban biking lifestyle.
Anyone familiar with the Honeycomb model? Well, now you are – and, as you can guess, our business fits into the ‘services’ section of it. The reason is that the users that are signed up are the ones that provide repair services to other customers, thus helping them with any issues that they might have faced.
If we think about it, the sharing economy is transforming the way people work, play, and do business around the world. We want to be an integral part of this movement in the city of Copenhagen by offering a service that is truly valuable, renewable, social, and approachable.
The underlying problem captures a cyclist’s regular pain. Being faced with a broken bike beyond opening hours in Copenhagen causes huge frustration. As a cyclist, you don’t know where to go at that time and you can’t even help yourself, as there are no tools available. Furthermore, when taking the bike to the bike shop on Monday morning, you don’t know anything about costs, quality or handling time. At worst, you are without a vehicle for a couple of days – and trust us, that could be a disaster in a city like Copenhagen.
‘CPH Bike SOS’ aims to make the cyclist feel comfortable again by offering reliable peer-to-peer bike repair anytime and anywhere around Copenhagen. How it works, you’re wondering? Check it out:
- Describe your emergency: Tell us what you need, where and when it has to be done
- Locate yourself and find a helping hand: Use the GPS integration of your smartphone and find a private helper, check availability of mobile repair trucks or check bars, clubs or kiosks providing ‘medi-kits’ for self-service
- Get connected and negotiate the price: Use the messaging system to get in contact with a private helper. Then, he or she sets up a reasonable price based on effort, time, skills and average market price for bike repairs.
- Pay only when the repair was done: Once you’re satisfied, you pay safety through our website. You have 24 hours to assure the service quality. Within this time, we hold back the money before transferring it to the private helper.
- Review: Don’t forget to rate the service in order to improve quality and reliability
So, what’s in it for the people? (Value proposition)
The service we provide is based on convenience, usability and reliability by offering an immediate and efficient bike repair-service anytime and anywhere around Copenhagen. And because we are nice people, the main goal is to make sure anyone can find help when needed, no matter the time or location.
Our mission: to establish a mobile platform open for participation in order to enhance collaborative lifestyles in Copenhagen.
Our service will enable people in the local community to share their time, skills, and tools to help others who find themselves in need of bicycle repair services. This will also give people who use the service an opportunity to socialize and meet new people in their communities. Hence (we love using smart words) – this will benefit the community by providing a valuable service while bringing down barriers and creating opportunities for interaction.
Our vision: Empowering cyclists, inspiring everyone.
Not only that, but businesses who decide to offer tools at their establishments will have the opportunity to benefit from the positive perception created by a valuable service and assistance in time of need. Because “reputation capital is becoming so important that it will act as a secondary currency, one that claims you can trust me”.
In other words, we allign our product with the Sharing Copenhagen effort, which pursues the mission of “combining sustainable solutions with growth and quality of life, while happily sharing knowledge with the rest of the world”.
Tapping into a niche market segment – our service offering is quick, easy and inexpensive. We value long-term commitment – therefore we aim to set up high entry barriers for potential competitors by building up strong partnerships. This is certainly a balancing act since we need an initial critical mass of users and stay flexible in order to be responsive to the diverse and changing user needs. Our service works extremely cost efficient as we only calculate with variable costs.
However, we haven’t forgotten that every time strangers are paired together there is the risk of fraud and mistrust. We contemplated that aspect and established valid trust policies to protect our customers sufficiently from liability and fraud.
How we build our trust:
- Verified ID: Cyclists and helping hands verify their IDs by connecting to their social networks and scanning their official ID or confirming personal details
- Profile & Reviews: Get to know your helping hand through detailed profiles. Thorough ratings and reviews offer insight into his or her marketplace reputation.
- Secure cash-free payment: There’s no need for cash to exchange hands. The entire payment process (including tips and reimbursements) is done securely online after a repair is done.
- ‘CPH Bike SOS’ Guarantee: We strive to delight and deliver on every task. If for any reason you’re not satisfied, we’ll do our best to make it right. Our Customer Support team is here to help 24/7.
Market (or some numbers so that you can fall asleep for a while)
We are tapping into a niche market where we aim to satisfy the needs of urban cyclists with basic bike malfunctions. Copenhagen’s urban area has about 1,2 million citizens from which 36% are regular cyclists (Copenhagen Bicycle Account, 2012). In 2012, 97% of households in Denmark own a mobile phone with 50% of them having smartphones (Statistics Denmark, May 2012). Breaking down these numbers to the capital where urban density and interconnectedness is supposed to be higher we assume that at least 80% of regular cyclists in Copenhagen possess a smartphone with mobile Internet. Since cycling is perceived healthier and greener it is to be expected that the number of commuters by bike will go up to 50% by 2015 (Grøne Cykleruter, 2009). Therefore, the market size is estimated for a critical mass of 350.000 potential service users and might go up to 480.000 users within the next 2 years.
Furthermore, we assume that a bike needs to be fixed at least 6 times a year (e.g. flat tire, outworn brakes, loose chain) and set an average price for repair at 100DKK (e.g. 50DKK for flat tires, 150DKK for chain adjustments). Thus, we calculate a market value for the critical mass of 210 million DKK.
Customers (or who the hell are we doing this for anyway?)
Generally, we distinguish between three target groups: cyclists in need (buying the service), private helpers (offering their skills), and strategic partners (organizations providing the service). However, we want to actively involve a diverse set of people into the community ranging from craftsmen, students, stay at home dads or retirees who are looking to supplement their income. For sure, they share some common motives like problem solving capabilities, reward orientation or simply fun and experience. However, it is obvious that our customers are located in Copenhagen, have a smartphone and regard their bike as main means of transportation.
What about our competitors?
Yes, we are unique! Since the market niche is yet untapped there is no other firm offering our service in the way we do. Regardless, traditional bike repair shops delivering professional service take a certain position in our market. As we only work with amateurs, it is reasonable to fill the gap of high quality service in our portfolio and try to establish strategic alliances with them.
As our business model is easy reproducible by competitors we need to be quick in building up strategic partnerships. For instance, already established repair services like ‘Cykelven’ or ‘Copenhagen Free Bike Rental’ could provide their mobile trucks to go immediately to the place of action. Furthermore, we could engage bars, clubs or off-license stores to provide basic ‘medi-kits’ containing essential bike tools (e.g. mini pumps, wrenches, screwdrivers etc.) to offer the cyclist easy self-service. ‘CPH Bike SOS’ would rent these tool kits from external suppliers and ensure that strategic business partners are equipped. It is a win-win situation for all stakeholders thus we are sure to find receptive partners.
We will inspire our users to get involved by giving and receiving bicycle repair services in their communities in a way that no only helps them resolve the immediate issue, but also enables them to build trust and strengthen their personal networks. It is also an opportunity for skilled people to provide repair services in their free time. In other words, here is an inspirational quote:
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe” –Simon Sinek
Key words: Copenhagen, bike, collaborative consumption, sharing economy, reputation, inspiration, services, bike repair, reliability