Rekola

Rekola: Bicycles to the streets, bicycles for everyone!

Prague, Czech RepublicPrague, Czech Republic
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We believe that every city deserves a bikesharing. And that you can start one without city council support or thousands of dollars. We're making it happen in Czech Republic (Prague, Brno, Olomouc, more to come...) right now and would love to spread the idea around EU.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Everbody can use public bike whenever is / whenever go, without husle: just borrow it somewhere and then return somewhere else?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Nearly everybody in EU has to move around city somehow. But I think our live is too short to be spent in traffic jams. Of course the best could be quick walk. But sad to say, usually we dont have time for that. What about using another type of transportation? Bikes? But if you use your own bike, you have to take care of it. Hmm!

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

System of public bike sharing. But without stations:places, where you have to return or rent bike. There are so expensive. And you have to agree on so many locations of these stations with city hall... It takes so long! We are using different system. Old bikes, painted in pink - you can see them easily on streets and are less likely to be stolen). They are locked by standard bike code lock. By mobile application/SMS you can locate nearest bike, rent it (=> app give to you lock code) and go whenever you want. And there you just lock it, return in app, and somebody else can use it again! We tested this workflow successfully in autumn 2013 in Prague in small scale. So we are now running in 3 cities and more cities are going to join us.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Tom woke up and look at alarm clock. "Shit! Shit! I am running late for final exams!", he thought. He got up instantly. Put dress on him. "I simply cant make it by public transport! It takes so long!". He took a look on his mobile phone. "Yes! One of Rekola bike is nearby!". He run to the bike. Enter number of bike to phone app. "8732" is combination of this one, Mr. Pollock (BTW each bike has his, unique name). He simply unlock bike and ride it to his university. He made it in time! // this is, I think, actual story behind this tweet: https://twitter.com/tomkukral/status/473338628132048896.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Now: 1) People can use bikes in Prague, Brno, Olomouc. Once you are registered and paid fee, you can use all bikes in network, doesnt matter in which city you register. Today (= 20.7.) we have 471 users, who are paid and can today rent bike. From start at 16.4 we had over 4.7k of bikes borrowed. We are about ~1 borrow / bike / day. 2) People learn, how to repair bike (and help us paint bikes) on regular community painting of bikes in cities. We had about 15 workshops and together we paint about 150 bikes! 3) NGO / city has data, where (Rekola) bikes are mostly return so they can plan infrastructure for bikers (more precisely). As we did in Prague in cooperation with local NGO: Auto-mat. 4) Rekola could be found on festivals. We are going to Summer film school in Uherské hradiště (25. 7. - 2. 8.; usually about 5000 visitors).

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

we are planning: 1) reduction of criminality - we want put on bikes GPS / GSM chip, so we can see, if some bike is stolen. And in cooperation with local authorities / Police we want to get busted thefts 2) gamification - e.g. "GTA on real street”. Prepare storyline for users; so they can discover something new, as they are using service. We want this way help with relocation of bikes (big expense for BSS with stations). 3) ... and of course go to another cities / countries (its happening anyway). We are offering Rekola system as franchise (and considering doing "white labeling"
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are self sustainable because of monthly / yearly subscription from members. For scaling we need external funding (business / foundations / partners / …)

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

- public transport (=> isnt everywhere, usually you have to walk from public transport stops to your final destination) - walking (=> slower) - own bike (=> you have to take care about it; repair it; ...) - (note: in Czech Republic we dont have any working bikesharing system on city scale)
Team

Founding Story

Vitek is cyclist (city / long distance) and he have founded IT company 5 years ago (clevis.cz/en). One day (in Jun 2013) he met guys from http://zijemetady.cz/ who tried something something crazy: bring old bikes, paint it in pink and put on streets in small part of Prague. He loves the idea! But how it could be scaled? And this is how idea behind system in Rekola started... Vitek thought about it, had lots of interviews (ref. Lean startup) and finally he made MVP. He used hithit.com ("Czech kickstarter") for first funding from people and to validate his idea (Will people care? They did! Even Vodafone foundation have doubled his money on hithit.com). So project can start testing in real word in autumn 2013 with ~ $8000.

Team

Federation: - Vítek & Filip Ježek - founders (volunteers) - R. Hodova - social networks (vol.) - K. Tothova - helpdesk (vol.) Prague (similar structure is in Brno / Olomouc): - J. Koutny ("sheriff" of Prague, paid) - V. Hajek, J. Holzer, E. Germis, J. Matosik, J. Hulik, L. Langhammer (servismans, paid) - T. Cermak, M. Stingl, J. Kavan, M. Tonder (vice-servismans, vol.). We are doing lots of things, but there is not enough space : X
About You
About You
First Name

Vit

Last Name

Jezek

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Prague

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Prague

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Businesses, Regional government, Customers.

Supplemental
Sector

Sustainable Sourcing, Inclusive Business.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

- students of universities (they have buldings around city; need to move around quickly; they havent got any problem with new technology)
- young working people in city center (any problem with new technology; need to move around city center quickly)

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

We are self sustainable in day-to-day running because of members subscription. But we do need external funding for scaling.

In general, we are investing in two different layers (city level / federative level). And we are using money from won competitions for federative level (= benefit for everyone in Rekola) or for testing some cool, but more risky parts of project on city level in small scale. If we can find out working solution; we can find money from foundations / other partners more easily.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

- I have found company Clevis s.r.o.(clevis.cz/en) 5 years ago. We are now about 13 people and have monthly turnover about $15 000.
- I am coordinator of Junior Internet(juniorinternet.cz).Main focus is competition for young web experts (=<18 years old);but we are adjusting it more to education for young people and connect them to (quite small) czech web community.
- Clevis s.r.o. is now doing WebExpo.cz - the biggest conference about web in CZ

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

Are you are a current Unilever employee?