Cyclister wants to become an Airbnb for bicycles

The company is starting at home in Denmark

Danish company Cyclister hopes to add bicycles to the list of resources people are willing to share for a price.

Cyclister is among the startups with a presence on the show floor at the Web Summit conference, hoping to build on the success of companies such as Airbnb, finding something people are willing to share. Cyclister launched its service in Copenhagen six weeks ago and has an online database of approximately 300 bikes. The cost to rent a bicycle is about €12 (US$15) per day, according to co-founder David Paag.

"Denmark is the perfect place to start. It's the bike capital of the world, and 25 percent of all tourists actually rent a bike," he said.

So far, the company has only been able to attract a handful of people willing to rent out their bicycles, so rental companies offer almost all of the bikes in Cyclister's database.

The company is looking for investors to help expand and improve the service, including developing a mobile app to make it more convenient, the need for which is obvious, according to Paag.

Cyclister will have to compete with city-led bike rental programs, which are becoming standard in big cities. But Paag is convinced that Cyclister can compete by offering a wider selection of bicycles, including cargo, racing and mountain bikes.

The company's goal is to have 5,000 bikes in Denmark in February.

Cyclister isn't the only company taking part in Web Summit hoping to pedal its way to success. Italian company Bikee Bike is offering conversion kits that attach to the crank arm to let users electrify their existing bicycle in 10 to 15 minutes, according to founder and CEO Matteo Spaggiari.

To conform to different legal requirements around the world, Bikee Bike has developed three versions of the conversion kit. The version for the European market has an output power of 250 watts, the version for Switzerland and Canada has 500 watts, and the U.S. version is the most powerful with 750 watts.

The company is planning to launch the product via a Kickstarter campaign in January. The price will be from about €1,000, including taxes, for the least powerful European version.

"The e-bike market is booming right now, because gas prices are getting higher, and in many cities there are too many cars and public transport doesn't work well," Spaggiari said.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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