At a campus unfold over 700 acres, commuting has been a busy exercise for the scholars and employees at NUST, Islamabad. Strolling lengthy distances between departments, cafeterias, and libraries, campus residents are often hitchhiking or strolling. With the day by day drill, some junior college students began brainstorming environment friendly methods to mobilize the residents and guests of NUST. Right here, Cykiq was born. A ride-sharing startup, Cykiq basically is an automatic system for on-campus bike renting.
Numerous universities, throughout Europe and company-campuses throughout America, have efficiently deployed shared-biking techniques for college students, and staff respectively. Now, our very native startup, Cykiq is all prepared to rework on-campus and public transit system of Pakistan. Bikes usually are not solely efficient for masking quick distances but in addition present a viable resolution for a shareable mode of transportation.
In a dialog with TechJuice, Chief Working Officer of CYKIQ, Ans Shehzad shares the journey of the bike sharing startup and its progress over the quick span of time.
As soon as the co-founders arrived on the resolution. they began working instantly and launched a public survey to measure the response of their goal market. At NUST, there was already an intra-community transport system in place, nevertheless, it labored on mounted routes and was not obtainable 24/7. It didn’t present the exclusivity and freedom whereas commuting. Subsequently, when the crew pitched a inexperienced and inexpensive resolution to campus administration, they garnered help and encouragement to kickstart Cykiq.
The bike sharing system is usually specified into two varieties: docking and non-docking. The docking system has specified stations the place customers should unlock a motorbike from a supply station to journey which might later be parked at a vacation spot station solely. Initially, Cykiq started with a docking system which was designed by its personal crew and regionally manufactured by them.
The testing part of the undertaking kickstarted with two stations and 10 cycles. One station was situated close to the hostel, whereas the second was deployed close to one of many departments. With the introduction of this facility, the 15-minute stroll distances have been lowered to a cycle journey of three to Four minutes. Nonetheless, Shehzad tells that being deployed at solely two stations, the service appeared to be very restricted for a campus that homes 5000 residents and has a day by day footfall of 12000 day-scholars, employees members, and guests. Every month, roughly 20 customers have been sharing the 10 cycles. Subsequently, Cykiq determined so as to add extra cycles to the system however they deserted the thought of constructing extra stations.
Injecting extra cycles and understanding customers
With the addition of recent bikes, Cykiq additionally launched a shareable locking system which offered the customers with keys to the identical set of locks. In 4 months, that they had elevated the variety of cycles from 10 to 30 and finally scaled as much as 50 bikes in 5 months. Throughout this time, the system was working manually.
With these 50 cycles, they initiated person profiling to raised perceive the wants of their goal market. They found that 60 p.c of their userbase comprised of feminine riders. Furthermore, the service grew to become in style amongst the blue collar employees who didn’t hitchhike and often walked the distances. In the meantime, summer time holidays had arrived they usually weren’t anticipating a lot traction. Turned out, they have been overbooked for whole summer time because the residents most popular to journey a motorbike in warmth than cowl distances by foot.
Progress slowed down when senior yr engulfed the crew members in tutorial commitments. Nonetheless, as quickly as they graduated, they have been again on monitor working full time on the startup.
Growing expertise and regionally manufacturing cycles
For public use, it was important that cycles underuse have been robust in grit and adopted a sure requirement so upkeep necessities are lowered. Subsequently, Cykiq determined to fabricate its personal unisex bicycles. They partnered up with the oldest and prime biking producers in Pakistan, Sohrab. Cykiq offered the designs to Sohrab and 100 cycles have been regionally manufactured in Lahore. By December 2017, Cykiq had 150 cycles in its fleet.
The crew additionally moved away from docking stations and employed a non-docking mannequin. In such a mannequin, all expertise is mounted on the bike and lock. It additionally gives elevated comfort for customers as they don’t seem to be certain by a location to select and drop their rides. The non-docking mannequin can be capital intensive as in comparison with constructing whole stations.
With the brand new mannequin, Cykiq additionally launched a companion cellular software for Android and Apple customers to entry the bikes. They may scan the QR code and the lock would pop upon. The bicycles may also be tracked with the app and sensible locks. The locks have been designed in-house, however with the restrictions of native manufacturing, Cykiq is getting them manufactured from China.
At the moment, Cykiq gives three totally different locking techniques:
- A guide Four-digit mixture lock that unlocks with a button
- An computerized Bluetooth lock
- One other computerized GPS based mostly lock
Growing a fee pockets and a pricing mannequin
One of many greatest challenges of Cykiq was to introduce an internet fee methodology. Initially, the crew was depositing money funds, nevertheless, it was not being possible as they began scaling up. They built-in SimSim pockets and EasyPaisa however acquired a backlash from their customers so as to add one other app for utilizing the service. Subsequently, Cykiq determined to introduce their very own pockets, CyWallets. The pockets could possibly be charged from any cafeteria on the campus, offering ease and comfort for the customers on campus.
Shehzad shares that their packages are extremely inexpensive. In case you require a motorbike only for a day, then a journey for half an hour will value you solely PKR 15. In case you are a frequent person, you possibly can go for the 5-rides package deal that may cost PKR 70. There’s additionally a weekly package deal ranging from PKR 150 and month-to-month packages vary from PKR 300 – 500.
Numbers, funding, and partnerships
Since December 2017, Cykiq rides have accomplished over 10,000 kilometers of distance. The Cykiq app has been downloaded nearly 3000 instances. The app has day by day customers starting from 150 – 200 bike-hailers.
Being a capital in depth startup, Cykiq has been dealing with challenges to boost funding regionally. They kickstarted with private funds and bootstrapped whereas scaling as much as 30 cycles. They later secured a seed fund however now they’re tapping avenues past the nation to safe funding.
Furthermore, they’re additionally pursuing franchise partnerships with non-public and business entities. They’ve lately signed a franchise take care of Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI). In the event that they promote three extra franchises, the startup will turn out to be money constructive.
The startup has additionally opted for China to get customized made cycles which might be sturdier for public use. The check batch has arrived and Cykiq can be ordering a mass manufacturing order for summers because it kickstarts its operation in GIKI. They can even be launching a feasibility examine for the College of Karachi.
What’s subsequent for Cykiq?
Shehzad believes, the restriction of ride-hailing companies getting into the campus and want of quick distance commuting, tutorial institutes present a distinct segment for Cykiq. Subsequently, the startup has been exploring different avenues throughout universities throughout KPK, Punjab, and Sindh. He additionally acknowledges that public universities undoubtedly have the necessity however lack of funds might limit them from adopting such options. Subsequently, Cykiq can be searching for business partnerships that may be capable of deploy the answer past universities.
With public transport being streamlined, there may be additionally a necessity for commuting from metro stops to the specified vacation spot. Subsequently, as a substitute of calling a ride-hailing service, public cycles may also be launched for such short-distance commuting. Peshawar Metro Venture has additionally launched bicycle lanes, subsequently Cykiq can be aiming to foster partnerships with the federal government.
Cykiq is led by Hamza Afridi who’s the CEO of the startup and manages expertise and technique. Ans Shahzad, the COO handles all operations, legalities, and partnerships. Two industrial designers Senam Khan and Ammara Tariq are additionally part of the crew who take care of user-centric design and advertising. Shehzad shares that the crew additionally has a monetary analyst and veteran enterprise developer.
For a startup, this younger, manufacturing 100 cycles regionally and introducing its personal pockets isn’t any small feat. Pushed by its imaginative and prescient to disrupt the general public transit of Pakistan, Cykiq is without doubt one of the Pakistani startups which might be laser-focused to unravel native challenges and perceive their area of interest properly.
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