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Typing paper model of Quikbyke's prototype Qiosk.
Typing paper model of Quikbyke's prototype Qiosk.

Quikbyke: One Year Later

It was one year ago this month that the Nebraska Department of Economic Development awarded Quikbyke a 1:1 matching grant to build our first solar-powered electric bicycle rental "shop-in-a-box". We were required to write a feasibility report on the one year anniversary. Here's the gist of that 13-page report.

Design & Metrics - The design goal was to build and test the technological feasibility of operating a semi-mobile electric-assist bicycle rental service from a solar-powered, repurposed shipping container; and to assess consumer interest in renting said electric bicycles. Our key metrics were focused on charging system performance, eBike utilization, and rental rate acceptance.

Market Analysis - Our location adjacent -- literally within a few feet -- to a dozen-bike B-Cycle station at 10th & Dodge proved instructive from the viewpoint of product competition. Three factors seemed to determine when someone rented a B-Cycle instead of a Quikbyke. One: Product familiarity ... Two: Pricing... Three: Exercise.

Product Performance - We asked our renters upon their return to share their comments about their ride on the end panel of the container, a space measuring some 8 x 8.5 feet in area. We gave them a “Sharpie” felt marker and left them to write whatever they wished. Those comments ... universally praised the experience. “Great Ride - Robin,” “Awesome Ride! Loved It! - R.I.S.,” “Lots of Fun!”, “Nancy from Jersey - Great Ride,” “Wonderful way to around - Wyatt & Jada Slavin, Kansas,” “Electric bike is a blast - Kate H,” “Best way to see Omaha,” “Such a blast,” “Fantastic idea, fun way to travel,” “Absolutely the best bike ride ever!! Thank You - The Smiths, Pittsburgh - Go Leah!”. The last comment is by the parents of Gold and Bronze Medal winning swimmer Leah Smith at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

Distribution Avenues and Marketing - Our aim is to use the first Qiosk as a marketing tool, as well as proof-of-concept, primarily to help raise our first round of seed capital, which we see in the $1-3 million range, metered out over 18-24 months as we scale up and meet required milestones: building follow-on units and contracting with local operators, which can include both private and public entities.

Risk Analysis - All our technology is well proven and becoming increasingly affordable, which of course means we can expect to see competitors... High import duties, licensing fees, and property rentals can be expected, as well as shipping fees from the mainland to the islands and back twice a year. There also are the environmental risks posed by an ever-warming planet. Rising global temperatures and sea levels are forecast of spur intensifying tropical storms, coastal flooding, and the spread of tropical diseases like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus and now Zikas. These all will impact tourism in areas where we favor deploying our Qiosks, and are threats over which we have little if any control. However, we do hope to protect our technology, if not our market share, through our patent pending system for renting out electric-assist bicycles from a solar and/or wind-powered shipping container.

Commercialization Description & Feasibility - Now that we have built the prototype Qiosk and tested it in downtown Omaha over Summer 2016, our next step is to move it to Florida for further market acceptance “stress” tests: renting more bikes to more people to prove out the economic model.

Feasibility Conclusions - Quikbyke’s unique proposition is that we are the first to combine (these technologies) into a trend-pacing business model that taps into the growing generational interest in zero-carbon, active urban mobility and community asset sharing.

In short, to paraphase “Field of Dreams,” we built it and they came. Now we need to refine and replicate the model and offer it in many more communities.

Posted By: Bill Moore [25-Oct-2016]