LimeBike is a bike-sharing startup that just came out of stealth mode earlier today. The company announced the completion of a $12 million funding round led by big names like Andreesen Horowitz and DCM.
The company aims to put a new twist on the world of bike-sharing. Other bike-sharing programs typically require kiosks. You pick up your bike from a kiosk, then drop it off at a kiosk.
LimeBike has a different approach: The company’s distinctive, lime-green colored bikes connect to the LimeBike network over cellular networks, tracking the position and availability of all bikes. The network also collects payments from riders.
“This gives us the ability to turn a mobile device into a payment and parking mechanism,” wrote Toby Sun, cofounder and CEO of LimeBike, in an email to VentureBeat you can read here.
The app is preparing to launch later in March 2017.
How Does LimeBike Work?
You install the LimeBike app on your mobile device. Then, you use your device to find the nearest LimeBike. Once you arrive at the bike, you scan its QR code with your smartphone to unlock it. The app charges you one dollar for every 30 minutes, or $0.50 per ride for students.
The unique part of LimeBike, as mentioned above, is that riders aren’t required to return bikes to a docking station. You can leave the bike wherever you like – as long as you lock it up using the mobile app.
The advantages are obvious: cities don’t have to subsidize millions of dollars a year for expensive stations. LimeBike’s service can become more affordable than traditional bike-sharing services.
Where is LimeBike Available?
LimeBike has not yet announced any availability information. However, VentureBeat reports that the team “is in final discussions with a number of cities and college campuses in California, as well as other areas of the country.”
Today, there are more than 1,000 bike-sharing companies around the world. Some have created controversy in recent years – like when China’s bike-sharing startup Bluegogo announced plans to dump 20,000 bikes on the streets of San Francisco without any planning or permits. The City of San Francisco threatened legal action against the company.
LimeBike is based in San Mateo, California. The company was founded in 2017.
Today’s funding announcement is LimeBike’s first institutional round. The funding as led by Andreessen Horowitz and included investors like IDG, DCM, Jason Zeng, and Free Wu. The company has raised $12 million so far.
LimeBike was co-founded by Chairman Brad Bao and CEO Toby Sun. They’re currently working with Bay Area bicycle coalitions and other advocacy groups “to forge strong relationships with different cyclist communities across the US”, reports TechCrunch.
Look for LimeBike to appear on city streets near you in the future!