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The quay of Port Mahon, Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
The quay of Port Mahon, Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

The E-Bikes of the Balearics

The hardest part of writing a business plan for any startup is trying to figure out the financials, especially how much business you expect to do. It's much easier if you have a precedent from which to draw, and today I just discovered one on the Balearic Islands.

I only know Port Mahon from the writings of Patrick O'Brien, the late, great 'age of fighting sail' novelist, who, from time to time, sailed his hero Captain Jack Aubrey and his British warship into its harbor for the occasional rest of his crew and retrofit of his ship during the Napoleonic wars.

The port is nestled on the eastern side of the island of Menorca, part of the sunny Balearic Island chain belonging to Spain. It's a popular tourist spot in the summer from about May through September. Curiously, I got a call via Skype from there today from a gentleman named Eduardo Carvajal. Venezuelan birth, his father is from Spain, but Eduardo was educated in Florida and Minnesota. The last several years, he's been commuting between the island and the mainland wanting to launch an electric bicycle manufacturing enterprise. He'd heard about Quikbyke and wanted to chat. It proved providential.

Just this morning, I had begun thinking about the next step in raising funds to launch the electric bicycle rental service. Following Mark Peter Davis' recommendation in 'The Fundraising Rules', I drafted an Executive Summary last week and this week determined to create the investor slide deck. That means supplying numbers: potential market size, costs, revenues: all the things Angels and VCs really need to know.

So, I fired up Numbers (Apple's version of Xcel) and started some very simple number crunching: how many bikes per pod, how often they are rented, for how long and most importantly, for how much. If you're interested, I'll send you copy of both. Just drop me a note to bill.moore@quikbyke.com.

The gross numbers look promising, but how to verify them is always the challenge. That's where Senor Carvajal enters the picture today. Turns out there's an enterprising son of an insurance broker on the island who bought some electric bikes and rents them out to vacationers. According to Eduardo, he makes enough in the first four month season to pay for the bikes and after that its sheer profit. Of course, the bikes sit eight months out of the year, which is why Quikbyke's model (pardon the pun) excels. What he's asking for them in terms of half-day rentals is not all that far from the numbers I plugged into my spreadsheet given the shrinking gap between the euro and the dollar.

That got me to thinking that it would really help if I knew not just what people are willing to pay for an e-bike rental on Menorca, but elsewhere. So, I sat down and create a quick questionnaire that I hope you'll take a second to complete. I set it up so that you'll see one of two possible scenarios: an extended stay holiday for at least as week at a resort and a day trip excursion ashore from a cruise ship. The computer randomly selects which you'll see.

If you can help me out, it would be much appreciated.

Posted By: Bill Moore [10-Aug-2015]