Zagster is a company that offers cycle sharing in Boston, and it has announced that $1 million in funds has been raised to aid it in a national expansion. The funding is led by LaunchCapital and includes strategic investment firm Fontinalis Partners, which focuses on next-generation mobility solutions. Several leading angel investors in the area, including Jean Hammond and John Landry, have participated in the funding as well.
This cycle sharing company has a model that supplements the public cycle sharing schemes that are being launched in other major cities across the globe. Susan Shaheen, a researcher at UC Berkeley, revealed that there were about 184 cycle sharing programmes in 204 cities around the world as of May this year. These schemes have a collective 368,600 cycles at over 13,600 stations located in 36 countries on five continents. However, this public bike sharing system differs from others.
Zagster has a focus on users who need a cycle for longer periods and/or who need to make round trips because their bikes are located where they live, visit and work. The programme’s members are able to use mobile phones to receive codes that allow a cycle hire to be unlocked. The bike lock can be used to lock the cycle during the trip as well. This is something most schemes don’t allow, as their bikes have to be locked at official docking locations. When Zagster members finish their trip, they return the cycle hire to its original station, send a text to the company and the bike is relocked.
Zagster is developing a national footprint in partnership with universities, apartment/real estate firms, hotel chains and other businesses to accelerate its national rollout. This is because its programme is aimed at the employer, real estate and hospitality markets, which provide added value benefits and services to staff, tenants and guests. The funding will be used to hire sales and operational support workers, as well as enhance its cycle sharing platform technology.
The company is building a national network of service professionals and suppliers to ensure its new locations are deployed quickly and they continue to provide a high-quality, responsive service. Its goal is to streamline operations so it can put a bike fleet just about anywhere in the US within a week of a customer agreement being signed.
Zagster co-founder and chief executive Timothy Ericson says that this news is a great milestone for the company and a declaration of their business model to such investors who believe in their vision. They can launch cycle sharing services in more places faster and supplement the industry in cities across the globe due to their low cost, highly efficient model.
LaunchCapital Boston office director Bill McCullen says that they love how simple Zagster’s model is, as it can serve the places that big city schemes can’t and benefit from the existence of those schemes at the same time. They believe overall growth in the cycle sharing industry can be leveraged while finding highly profitable sectors to drive revenue and customer growth.
Fontinalis Partners founding principal Chris Cheever says that they are seeing a mobility technology revolution and a need for better mobility solutions in cities around the world due to more vehicles on the road, a rise in urbanisation, budget challenges for governments and aging infrastructure. They look to scale and invest in the brightest next-generation mobility options, which Zagster fits. They are very thrilled about the team and their elegant offering.