- Age of business: 4
- Name of business: Bike Citizens
- Location: Graz, Austria
- Team: 20
- ODINE funding: €99,000
- Pitch: Bike Citizens provides smart services including a route planner and a bike-sharing feature to make urban cycling easier.
How did you meet?
We were invited to present Bike Citizens at the Finodex startup acceleration camp in Berlin in June 2015 as an example of open data usage. ODINE was presented there as well. When we heard about it, we immediately started an evaluation, because we had a project in mind which we thought could be the perfect fit for ODINE. It turned out that it was!
Where did the business idea come from?
Our original business model already included cooperation with cities, licensing our app to make it available for free. The additional bike sharing feature will be one more feature we can offer and therefore ease the negotiations or it may even be main reason, why we could get a deal. End customers will also appreciate an additional feature to make cycling in cities easier.
Are you working with any other partners?
So far we do not have any investors and have managed to make our way by licensing our services to cities such as Vienna, Bremen and Coventry. We’ve been running research projects with FH Joaneum, TU Wien, Austrian Institute of Technology and the European Space Agency, to share competences and create new services for cyclists.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Our main goal is to get as many people as possible to use the bicycle as their primary means of transportation.
A lot has changed in the mobile and open data ecosystem over the past few years. To achieve our goal, we would leverage new technologies that were not available back in 2011 and put even more focus on social and community features, which is what we are working on now.
How has ODINE helped you?
The ODINE network, its mentorship programme and its expertise are valuable assets to realise our idea of a sustainable business on a foundation of open data. Obtaining the ODINE funding was a key component for a young company like us to be able to pursue and develop our web and app technology-based bike sharing idea without being limited in resources. We believe this initial investment will prove critical to our success and growth in the long term.
What advice would you give to other companies pitching to ODINE?
Make sure your idea is solid and that your use of open data makes sense, is responsible and will also have a measurable social, economic and environmental impact.
What would you say to other startups thinking of working with open data?
There is a lot of great open data out there just waiting to be used, integrated and combined. The data has significant social and economic value. By all means, use it and also contribute back – you’ll be doing a service to both those who originally released the data and those who will find new uses for it.
How would you encourage big business to buy into the open data movement?
Open data and open standards are vital to economic development in this day and age. There is a trove of open data you can build upon right now. Giving others the opportunity to integrate with your data helps to increase your exposure (and the value of your business) and provides an additional selling point for your service or product. Offering the data under an open license shows that you are serious about providing that opportunity.
What’s the key trend in open data at the moment?
Integration and tooling around open data sets is maturing. Many businesses are now focusing on interoperability, open source and open data to create an efficient collaborative ecosystem. At the same time, more governments and councils around the world are joining the Open Government Data movement, leveraging modern information infrastructure to allow fair and more efficient access to public and tax-funded data.
This article first appeared on the Guardian.