Hong Kong’s first bike-sharing app Gobee.bike raises US$9 million in venture capital round
Hong Kong’s bike-sharing service Gobee.bike said on Thursday that it has raised US$9 million in its first venture capital round of funding, as the startup looks to finance its expansion in the city and overseas.
The Series A funding round was led by venture capital firm Grishin Robotics, with participation by the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF), a non-profit initiative by the world’s largest online shopping platform operator to nurture the city’s startups. Alibaba is owner of the South China Morning Post.
Gobee.bike launched in April, making bicycles available for hire in Sha Tin, Tai Po, Ma On Shan, as well as Tuen Mun, Fanling, Tseung Kwan O and Tung Chung. The company plans to expand to more areas in the New Territories, Lantau Island and Kowloon, with thousands of bicycles available for use by the end of August.
“Bike-sharing offers many benefits such as improved air quality and a healthier quality of life, which are in line with the government’s initiatives to make Hong Kong a greener city,” said Gobee.bike’s co-founder and chief executive Raphael Cohen. “With Gobee.bike’s green technology, we hope to contribute to the local economy and raise Hong Kong’s image as a green city.”
The funding raised will be used for enhancing the startup’s technology, research and development, as well as fund its global expansion, Cohen said.
Unlike mainland China, where almost 40 bike-sharing smartphone apps now compete for users around the country, Gobee.bike’s main competitor in Hong Kong are the bicycle rental stores that require their vehicles to be returned after use. Gobee.bike’s dockless business model allows users to leave their bicycles anywhere after use, making it a lot more convenience and versatile for the customer.
A ride on Gobee.bike costs HK$5 every 30 minutes, compared with typical bicycle rentals at Tai Po that costs HK$40 per day.
“Dockless bike sharing is just the latest example of innovation coming from China, that is getting global attention,” said the AEF’s executive director Cindy Chow. “We believe bike-sharing has a great future in Hong Kong and across the globe.”
Two other bike-sharing services are also getting into the game in Hong Kong. HobaBike, which launched in June, is aimed at family users, and requires customers to park its bicycles at designated areas. A third operator is in the process of being launched by a group of local cycling enthusiasts, raising their financing through crowd funding.