Oxford University alumnus Agne Milukaite launched Cycle.land in April 2016. During her studies, Agne, like many other Oxford students, relied on a bike for transport; and although this was second nature to someone from a Lithuanian ‘biking town’, it gave her an idea for an online bike-sharing scheme, and Cycle.land was born. Agne’s Oxford-based bike-sharing mobile-enabled website has seen user numbers increase by 100% month on month since its inception, and now has hundreds of bikes for rent across the city. Registered cyclists list their bikes with a picture and a short description, including location and rental price, to make them available to over 1,000 potential customers, mainly students.
But Cycle.land does not stop at students or at Oxford. Plans are already underway to expand the peer-to-peer sharing models to Cambridge, Bristol, Brighton, Edinburgh, East London and elsewhere. Rapid growth has encouraged Agne to look beyond Oxford and conceive plans for a global bike sharing community. It’s true that in some places Cycle.land might be ‘competing’ with other bike-renting schemes but Agne doesn’t see this as a problem: “Cycle.land can help to bridge the bike-share gap for smaller places with more limited funds, and to build a new network of alternative transportation in the process”. The birth of Cycle.land was supported by the Oxford University Startup Incubator. They supported the team in translating their idea into a working minimum viable product, validating the business model supporting this product, and running a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Oxford University Innovation has been my dream partner, giving Cycle.land the financial and institutional support to move rapidly from an idea to a trading business. With that support, the Cycle.land team was able to build a fast-growing bike sharing marketplace in Oxford within a few months. Our mentor, who runs the Oxford University Innovation Startup Incubator, was one of the first enthusiasts about the idea of peer-to-peer bicycle sharing. Through him we also met the Funding team who have been helping us to become “investment ready”.