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“Dockless” bike sharing launched on University of Sydney campus

12 October 2017
Student launches new bike sharing start-up

A new bicycle sharing app which aims to make crossing campus easier has been launched on the University of Sydney campus in the wake of its success in the Business School’s Sydney Genesis Start-up Program.

Airbike bicycle

Airbike, a bike sharing start-up, created by Economics and Chinese student Angus Mcdonald

The start-up, known as Airbike, will be one of Sydney’s first “dockless” bike sharing platforms, and can be hired for $1.30 per half hour by using the mobile app to scan a QR code built onto the bicycle frames. Unlike traditional transport sharing options, “dockless” bike sharing allows users to leave the hired bikes anywhere on campus, and locate available bikes through the app.

Economics and Chinese student Angus Mcdonald developed the idea after seeing bike sharing services around Shanghai, while he was studying on a New Colombo Plan scholarship at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

“After living in China and seeing their bicycle sharing networks I was inspired to create an Australian version that was modified to suit our environment, market, and regulations. Since then we are adapting to new consumer needs through design changes, positioning and marketing campaigns,” said Mr McDonald.

The idea won the Genesis program’s ‘Best Scalable Business in Asia’ award, which provided Mr McDonald with $2,000 seed funding, six months of virtual office membership, and return flights and accommodation to visit the start-up’s software developers in China.

“Genesis was one of the first major wins for the business. It was a place to develop our idea and continue to pursue it. We also received mentoring, advice, and professional development,” said Mr McDonald. “They funded a trip for me and my software engineers to meet some of our suppliers in China and have continually been a great pillar of support for our negotiations with the wider university.”

The app ensures bicycles are evenly distributed across campus and allows users to find and reserve bicycles on a map, as well as easily track their expenses and riding history.