Uber for bikes on the rise in Lithuania

    While Uber is hiring in Vilnius, Dropbyke is letting Lithuanian cyclists share their bikes.

    Dropbyke is a stationless bike-sharing system working via a mobile app. It lets you hire a bike just like you would hire an Uber car – just open the app, search for a bike, get accesss and enjoy the ride. Dropbyke runs on existing bike infrastructure. Users can drop their bikes at any public bike parking in Vilnius.

    Dropbyke began as a project of INSEAD MBA graduates – CEO Alexander Shvetsov, Software CTO Alexander Sutyagin and Hardware CTO Alexander Petrov. The idea was born during a San Francisco study module devoted to Startups in October 2014. First prototype tests were held in Miami in December 2014 – February 2015. After the course the team decided to build upon the positive results.

    Dropbyke public beta was launched in Vilnius on August 6, with over 1000 registered users joining the service in the next two weeks. You can try the app on App Store and Google Play.

    Our long-term vision is to build global platform for P2P bike sharing. We are currently focused on demand side, and are only working with corporate bikes. We have plans to admit private bikes in the future.

    The vision is not an easy one. Every major city in the US seems to already have a bike sharing service. Bikeshare alone is operating in over 50 cities in the US in Canada, with more coming soon. Though they are not yet open to private bikes, this may be due to regulatory issues which Dropbyke would have to overcome.

    Currently the founders identify taxi as their main competitors in Vilnius. They stress the advantages of no waiting time, faster ride during rush hours and 5-10x lower cost per trip, all that in addition to health and environmental benefits.

    Even though Dropbyke is not likely to take taxis out of business, the younger and sportier citizens seem to be finding it attractive, particularly on sunny says.

    Here is a short demo:

    To ensure that the bike is hired by a valid user, the person needs to sign up with a valid phone number or a Facebook account. The user is also requested to provide credit card details before the ride, and the service charges his card once the ride is finished. This also ensures that you can continue your ride legitimately even if your phone dies or breaks.

    The project is fully self-funded and is finishing the product based on feedback from beta launch in Vilnius. In a few months’ time, the team plans to select the next city to expand to and raise funds for international expansion.