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It's not just your hard cash these canny capitalists want to get their hands on......

Investors are pushing millions of pounds into dockless bike sharing because of the valuable data that users share with the schemes.

According to a new report,  “What attracts investors is the integration of rental services with the Internet or mobile Internet, such as GPS and mobile payment.”

The report estimates that in China, by the end of 2016, the supply of sharing bicycles had exceeded 3 million and is increasing by 1 million per month.

There were 18 million bicycle sharing users by the end of 2016 and this will increase by 200,000 per month in 2017.

The true value for any company is having an account linked to a user’s credit card details, be it Uber or Spotify.

Coupled with geolocation data, this provides a wealth of information and the possibility to squeeze more spending out of each user.

As BikeBiz notes: “Mobike’s backers include major players such as Tencent, Sequoia, TPG, Hillhouse Capital, BOCOM International, ICBC International, and asset management firm Farallon Capital. Earlier investors included Foxconn, which manufactures iPhones for Apple.

“Ofo is backed by Didi Chuxing, China’s version of Uber, and online retail giant Alibaba. It operates six million bikes in 120 cities in five countries. The company was only founded in 2014 but is already valued at $1-billion. It has more than 20 million registered users.

“In America, US-based start-up LimeBike (owned by two Chinese American entrepreneurs) raised $12-million from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to finance its expansion. Spin of Seattle, founded by an ex Lyft Product Manager, raised $8-million.”

So despite the controversy surrounding dockless bike hire, including street obstructions, vandalism, theft and local politics, it seems that our data is worth all the hassle to some of the biggest investors in the world.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

3 comments

Avatar
Leviathan [2668 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

I've seen these mobikes abandoned in some random places. You just ride and leave it, right. Maybe someone will find it and ride it back somewhere else; but i have to think, is there someone moving these around in the middle of the night? Is anyone repositioning them? And what happens if you hire a Sadiqbike and get to the dock on a Tuesday evening and it is full? Is there an army of bike pixies?

Avatar
brooksby [2401 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes

Didn't someone once say that if a product is free (or stupidly low cost), then *you* are the product...?

(The dockless bike itself is just a gimmick to get access to your data)

Avatar
check12 [101 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

 

Ive too wondered if the company is moving them too places too, I saw 3 neatly in a row on the top floor of a car park at the traffic (Trafford) centre and thought that's not happened by someone cycling them there.

some insider must want to share the sordid info!

Leviathan wrote:

I've seen these mobikes abandoned in some random places. You just ride and leave it, right. Maybe someone will find it and ride it back somewhere else; but i have to think, is there someone moving these around in the middle of the night? Is anyone repositioning them? And what happens if you hire a Sadiqbike and get to the dock on a Tuesday evening and it is full? Is there an army of bike pixies?