By @SimonCocking

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

BikeLook tracks bikes to reduce congestion and bike theft. We use low cost/long life devices to give city authorities the evidence they need to invest in cycling infrastructure to reduce city congestion. Cycle theft is a major disincentive for cycle commuting and we are offering a solution to alert cyclists when their bike is being tampered with.

How are you different?

We have deep experience in smart cities and sustainable transport, in addition to being avid cyclists! We have practical expertise in the wireless technology we are using and have already established international opportunities.

Why will the company/product do well?

The move towards low carbon and low pollution vehicles is a clear trend. Bikes have always been zero emissions but safety concerns are a big factor. As bikes become smarter they also allow the city to use that information to make cycling safer. We are responding to the new trends and capabilities in the Internet of Things and Smart Cities sectors to bring cycling, as a 200 year old technology, into the information age.

Where are you based?

We are proud to be based in Temple Bar in Dublin and to work with DCU Alpha in Glasnevin. We are also lucky to be working in Zurich for the coming three months to roll out our technology with various partners.

When was the company launched?

We launched in 2016 and formalised our approach as part of a DCU Ryan Academy IoT accelerator. We have also worked with Pervasive Nation through Connect Centre in Trinity College to refine our technological approach.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

We have Competitive Start Fund investment as part of the Enterprise Ireland High Potential Startup Unit and have been really impressed by the supports they have given us, including the Sprint Programme run by Dublin BIC. We also competed for, and won, Phase 1 and 2 Small Business Innovation Research contracts with Dublin City Council to look at how to increase cycling in the city using emerging technologies. Three other companies are in the Phase 2 cohort and I like to think of us as the beginning of a cycle technology cluster!
We were recently selected for the Kickstart Accelerator in Zurich, Switzerland. I attended a two day bootcamp to pitch our business and it was a real treat to meet so many exciting businesses from around the world. It was strong competition, but I had great conversations with the accelerator partners such as the cities of Zurich and Bern, Swisscom and AXA and we’re really looking forward to working with them.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

We are working with Intelligent Transportation Systems engineers and planners in cities and with commuter cyclists. There are many other customer types available to us but we are maintaining a tight focus in this early stage of development.

Tell us about your team?

I have a public policy and business background. Brian has mobile apps and computer science competency and Shane has wireless networks expertise. Veronica has specific cycling public policy experience and our design skills come from John. We have the hard and soft skills we feel are required to make cycling data as interesting and useful as cycling is itself. When Brian and I started BikeLook we felt we had to be seen to cycle everywhere and conspicuously carried our helmets to pitches! The helmets are now gone from the meeting room but the passion remains!

What are your long term plans for your product/company?

We know that cycling will be an ever growing part of urban transportation, in the form of private bikes, bike shares and cycle logistics. We intend to make cycling visible to transportation planners so that they can take best advantage of it. The issue of congestion and the opportunities to relieve it are global and we see our solution being readily exportable. The recent Kickstart experience in Zurich showed me how mobile and global small business can be right from the outset in the 21st century. It also showed me that in an age of connected things, mashups between businesses to explore new niches are also increasingly possible.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

We have tried a number of approaches to cycle tracking, from RFID tags to estimotes and Bluetooth sniffers. We also have solar panels, batteries and bike locks all over the place. Probably the most important, oldest and favourite bit of kit is bicycles – they are 200 years old and ever more useful and adaptable.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

I wish someone would invent a battery along the lines of an everlasting gobstopper. Although it is quite amazing how long batteries can be made to last with clever firmware, it’s never quite as much as you’d like!

Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?

Did you know that Dublin congestion costs the Irish economy €350 million per year and it’s been estimated that €10million worth of bikes are stolen every year in Dublin?

How do people get in touch with you?

We are always on [email protected] and always welcome followers @bikelook. I’m on [email protected] and @mrkbnt

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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