StartUs Presents: BimBimBikes

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Bimbimbikes lets you rent bikes anywhere, anytime. Founder Michel Willems explains why he chose to be an entrepreneur rather than captain of his own ship.

Describe BimBimBikes in 50 words or less.

BimBimBikes is the worldwide bike rental booking platform with professional bike rental companies. You can find your favorite citybike, mountainbike, roadbike or e-bike, compare it and reserve it online.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

I started dreaming at a young age. At the age of 6 I wanted to have my own farm to get up early and decide what I wanted to do. At the age of 8, to get up early was not important anymore. I wanted to be captain on my own ship and to decide where to sail to. At the age of 12 I learned that most captains are told where to sail to, so I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

I never considered having a proper job a viable option. I just never thought of it. Being an entrepreneur is just part of me.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

First of all you can rent a bike anywhere in the world, at any time. A truly easy and transparent proposition. We hope to inspire more people to enjoy a bicycle ride during their holidays or travels, it’s just such a wonderful way to explore your destination.

By getting so many people on a bike, we want to get the carbon foodprint of travellers lower. Moreover, once enjoying a bicycle during a stay elsewhere could lead to more cycling at home!

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Growth of amount of rental points, growth of number of daily bookings, average money spent per booking, amount and percentage of happy customers. We take these figures in on a daily basis, analyze them and act according to the need. We are on track right now, but with 40 countries and 700 rental points we still have a long road to go.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the global bike rental booking site like you imagined it in the beginning?

Clients that want a citybike are using it as expected. However we found out that serious cyclists that want a specific roadbike have some additional needs. Based on their feedback we are currently improving the booking process of these specific road, race and Triathlon bikes. Also we are testing last minute booking options.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Financed with our savings, so rather bootstrapped.

We are planning to start a crowdfunding campaign in the last quarter of this year. Also we are talking to informal investors. Since nothing has been decided until now, interested investors are very welcome to contact us! However, although we are pretty sure we will have new funding on board at the end of this year, we will keep our bootstrap mentality!

What do you look for in team members?

We look for independent thinkers, people that are authentic, people that share our dream. We are not looking for copies of ourselves, but people that inspire us. But they should be willing to get their feet wet. Talking about strategy without working in the trenches is a no-go.

Why would a talent join your team?

Who wouldn’t like to work in a fun, small, truly international and young team that’s conquering a travel niche at great speed? Who wouldn’t like to be able to really have an impact? Is there anybody who wouldn’t like to work in an environment where your ideas are not only heard but also executed if you go for it?

What was your most memorable moment so far?

As always, the first order of a person we didn’t know. It’s the first real proof there is demand for our service. That’s the very moment that shows you are on the right track.

But we also enjoyed numerous other moments. The joy of being in 40 countries, the first flowers we got from a happy customer, the intern I found during a ride share at Blablacar, being in a well respected Dutch magazine, having a work hard – play hard team. It’s just an amazing journey.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Dream – think – do – rethink – do it again – but keep dreaming. A plan not executed is still worthless. Sticking to a plan that proves to be worse than expected is stupid. Pivoting without liking the new strategy and losing your dream is even more stupid.

Furthermore, read the book “Exponential Organizations” by Salim Ismael and Yuri van Geest. It helps you with a framework to really, really, really grow!


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