Business to push with your foot: how Russian scooter rental stations set the world trend

Speed, dynamism, movement are inalienable features of the metropolis. Run on transport points, endless

transfers - subway, bus, trolley bus. At this stage it may not be enough a few minutes, which may be key. The canceled meeting, the train leaving in front of the eyes, the missed turn to the doctor - trifles, because of which everything can go according to another scenario.

Samocat Sharing - Russian companyproviding scooters with automatic stations. Established in 2015 by Vasily Bykov, the company of microtransport issuing points has become the world pioneer in this field of business - scooter sharing.

Photo: Samocat Sharing

"The idea was in the air, but the first Americanthe projects appeared only two years later, ”recalls Vasily Bykov. “In 2017, the former top manager of Uber and Lyft, Travis Wanderzanden, founded Bird in Santa Monica, a rental service for electric scooters. At about the same time, LimeBike and Spin appeared. But in 2015, there was nothing of the kind, and I was not acquainted with Wanderzanden. In addition, the overwhelming number of scooter projects are not microtransport stations, but simply electric scooters without stations. ”

The founder of the project understood how important it is to increasethe speed of movement of residents of ever-hurrying cities where transport cannot help. The disembarking of passengers at the metro station, an endless stream of people. And now, near the station - an automated point for issuing scooters. Simple, fast and safe.

Samocat Sharing's own network of stations already operates in Russia and Finland. You can rent a scooter near the metro, in exhibition centers and at the airport.

The idea that began with the family

Scooters reminded themselves of Vasily Bykovconstantly, as if, pushing to the opening of a new business direction. The hobby of the daughter of scooters - the fateful point number one, their own childhood memories - a reason for reflection, and the final chord - the airport, scooter and the birth of ideas.

“It all starts with the family. When you see a scooter or a person on a scooter, I want to try, - the project founder believes. - First you buy children. And they start driving faster than you. Then you buy yourself and you understand what a great scooter solution is. It’s then that the scooters end up on the balcony or in the basement, and at that moment, when I want to go right here and now, they are in the trunk. ”

Photo: Samocat Sharing

And then the idea - scooters in the zoneavailability, when they are needed. Why a scooter, not a bicycle, should solve the “last mile” problem, Bykov explains that mobility is important. On a bike in the subway, underground passages and in the crowd is impossible to drive. In addition, the ratio of sizes matters. Stations that give out bicycles need decent space, and scooters can be issued everywhere. Considering the fact that they also add up, a large platform for the rolling point is not needed. Schering is convenient because you can transfer to a scooter in one place, and return it in another automated point.

Vending and sharing

Bykov came to the business, having a specialty,associated with heat and power plants, and experience as a shift supervisor at the oil terminal Lukoil in Kaliningrad. There were certain developments in the launch of public projects - youth, children and volunteer. Before the scooter business, Bykov worked with his own vending project, which started in 2005. Automatic distribution of tea, toys and household goods was established in Kaliningrad and brought a good income. In 2009, Vasily sold a vending company with 200 machines for $ 1 million. The proceeds became the financial basis for new projects.

Over time, the idea to connect a scooter andautomatic, that is, to establish the issuance of mini-transport without the participation of people. Schering of scooters - it was a completely new business idea, even by world standards. Because in the West, companies, including Uber, are developing rental of electric scooters, while Samocat Sharing is purely muscular scooters.

“I initially understood that for an organizationrental scooters, we need a single IT platform, which will be controlled automatic stations. - recalls the Bulls. - And you need to create an application that users will download to the phone and payment will be made from the application. All this required decent financial investments. ”

Europe, business school, failure

After Vasily stopped practicingvending machines, he tried himself in different businesses. A year later, in 2010, having moved to Europe, he became involved in social activities. In Belgium, he organized Council of Europe youth forums on programs: he participated in the Turtle Foundation and Greater-Europe. And in 2012 he went to France. From this country, Vasily Bykov went to Africa as a volunteer, where he participated in a charity program to save turtles. This idea looks strange, but Vasily was just interested in doing charity work, and the spirit of adventure is also inherent in him.

It was more difficult to do business in Europe in unfamiliar markets, especially without a specialized education, Vasily understood this and went to business school.

"I studied at Vlerick - at number 1 business school inBrussels and number 10 in Europe, ”recalls Bykov. “I received a degree in marketing and management. But at that time I understood that it was necessary to get a good top business education, not only to get a job, namely, to understand how top management works. ”

Photo: Samocat Sharing

On the business course in business schoolVasily Bykov decided to present his idea of ​​creating a network of scooter machines. The group caught fire, developed a business plan, and all received unsatisfactory ratings. After the presentation of the case, the teachers rendered a verdict - the idea is not relevant. The focus of the business school was focused on existing global developments. Everything new was incomprehensible and rejected. Opponents were confident that the idea would not take root due to the fact that no adult would use the children's scooter. The team with which Bykov was preparing the presentation agreed with the opinion of the teachers, and the future share businessman was left alone. It took a year to understand: you need to return to Russia and look for your team of like-minded people.

"I calculated the possible profit, determined the periodpayback. - Vasily tells. - In Europe, renting a bike costs € 2 per hour. If you buy 12 scooters and each of them will ride one hour a day, it turns out that you can earn € 24 a day. If you multiply this by 30 days, you’ll get € 600 in revenue. The costs are as follows: the automatic itself, that is, the scooter station, costs about € 1000, the niche shelves for scooters to make - another € 1000, and you can buy the scooters themselves - € 1000. It turns out € 3000. That is, a maximum of five months, and you will recoup the costs. "

Return and start

In 2015, Bykov returned to Moscow and took uplooking for employees and developers. I searched everywhere: through the Forsyth analytical platform, among familiar graduates and specialists from the NTI and MSU. Alone, to launch such a large-scale project was simply impossible.

Vasily Bykov was lucky with the teamlike-minded people. His idea was supported by the future co-founders of Samocat Sharing, Denis Medvedev and Sergey Pisarenko. Denis and Vasily met on the "Foresight Fleet" in 2015. Sergey and Vasily - in 2016 at Generations S.

In the fall of 2015, the Bulls registered a companySamocat Sharing. It was necessary to distribute responsibility in areas of the project. Medvedev and Pisarenko managed financial and marketing issues, Bykov was in charge of the technology part. At the first stage there was no attraction of third-party investments. Own funds made it possible to pay for the services of developers and purchase materials.

Sergey Pisarenko - born in Kharkov, graduated from the InstituteModern knowledge in Minsk. He worked as the head of the sales department of Renaissance Capital, the head of the department for working with VIP clients of Citibank and the head of the department for work with clients of Binbank. He is a co-founder and investor of innovative companies Aktivil and Risilika.

Denis Medvedev - born in Petersburg, graduated from stateUniversity of Telecommunications. prof. M.A. Bonch-Bruevich and the HSE. Product Director, Technical Broker, Expert in Project Management. Prior to moving to Samocat Sharing, he was engaged in the development of service infrastructure and relations with government agencies at the Skolkovo Innovation Center.

"At that time, the search for investors was notprimary task. It was important to find specialists who would be able to solve all technical issues, ”notes Vasily. “Schering assumed good knowledge of electronics, IT technologies, banking services. It was necessary to connect the cloud system, a mobile application, it was necessary to solve production issues. For the production of scooter stations, iron was required (and a third-party contractor was needed to manufacture the station buildings), special locks, sensors, and much more. ”

The first scooter in February 2016 gathered inChina based on the model of the French manufacturer Decathlon. After that it was necessary to create an application and the rolling station itself. Initially, Vasily Bykov invested in the project about $ 100 thousand of his own funds.

Accelerators and help contests

An important role was played by participation in the programs.Generation S accelerator. The presentation of the idea on this site made it possible to concretize it and created conditions for moving forward. In December 2015, the company ranked second in the Smart City track, receiving a grant of 1.2 million rubles from GenerationS and 2 million rubles from the Bortnik Fund.

In 2016, the company received an investmenthelp in the amount of $ 110 thousand from the New York accelerator Urban X. Vasily found out about this accelerator absolutely by accident, just searched on the Internet for organizations that invest in start-ups. He did not expect that simply submitting information to the American accelerator would immediately receive support from the American accelerator. However, he sat down and filled out an application. He was answered, invited to meet in New York. The project made an impression. At this time in Russia, serious work was already being done on the implementation of scooter stations.

Photo: Samocat Sharing

“The first stage is the development of industrialdesign: designing, visualizing how it might look. But there is very little expertise in Russia and generally in the world to create projects related to metal and electronics, ”adds Vasily. “You can’t do anything in two or three months. It turns out two or three years. Thanks to Skolkovo, we are now releasing a new version in two to three months. And then it turned out that half a year was waiting. By 2016, we made the first working version of the scooter station. She went to the series only in 2017 ”.

The first scooter network was launched in 2017in Finland, in Espoo. In order to rent a scooter, you had to download a special mobile application and link a card for payment. Testing at Aalto University by all students at 7 stations helped to find technological shortcomings and improve service. During the testing period there were constantly problems with the electronics and the breakage of the scooters themselves.

A year later, Samocat Sharing became the winners.IdeaLab competition organized by the Helsinki Transport Authority (HSL). According to the conditions of the competition, designed to reveal new ideas for the development of urban mobility, the HSL allocates the winner about a million euros. This money made it possible to install 50 stations in Finland, a partner of Samocat Sharing Oy.

Scooter sharing: production and franchisee

At the moment, the company Samocat Sharingmanufactures about 200 microtransport stations per month. The production line is located in the workshop of 1000 square meters. meters, which the company rents on the territory of the plant "Quartz" in Kaliningrad. Here is the final assembly: installation in the station housing electronics, anti-vandal locks, antennas, sensors, network indicators, mounting blocks and other things. Now the assembly employs 20 people. The body of iron and electronics are made by suppliers, including - Russian. Scooters themselves are ordered in China.

“We have come a very long way in search of reliablesuppliers in Russia ", - said Bykov. “For example, the Kaliningrad company AK-Products supplies the enclosures for the stations. Cases that were manufactured by various companies in Russia were tested, but AK-Products were the best. ”

The demand for rental scooters is high - for a month inMoscow makes about 20 thousand rentals. The popularity of sharing is explained by its convenience. It is enough to download the mobile application, bind the card and you can take a scooter at any time. Traditionally, the rental season in Moscow opens from April 25th. Samocat Sharing offices operate in Russia and Finland, there are orders from franchisees from Spain, Armenia, Georgia, France, from Cyprus.

Samocat Sharing franchise programIt has been developing since 2018, although the idea of ​​selling stations under a franchise was originally from Vasily. But it was possible to organize such sales only after the company itself tested this business, that is, established its own network of scooter stations. Since the beginning of 2019, 35 rolling stations have been established in the center of Moscow, in the Yakimanka area and near Gorky Park. Now Samocat Sharing has a franchisee network in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Sochi, Krasnodar and St. Petersburg.

According to March 2019, the company SamocatSharing has sold 400 scooter stations to its franchisee partners. Equipment for the stations is provided at a cost of 396–440 thousand rubles per station for ten scooters. For connecting to the system, each franchisee pays a commission of 20% of the cost of travel. As experience shows, the monthly turnover of one station for ten scooters is from 30 to 180 thousand rubles.

“There is an extra expense forall scooter stations - losses from vandal actions of passersby. In this case, the alarm and surveillance video camera near the station helps, ”Vasily complains. “The repair of equipment takes up to 5% of the budget. Now we are investing more in production in order to produce 10,000 stations per month by 2020 ”.