Let’s Talk About Bikes
We created AirDonkey because we believe that biking changes both people and cities. Therefore, we also think that bikes should be available to anyone, anywhere. We trust that easy access to bikes will get many more people on the roads, no matter where in the world they travel. So how, you ask?
AirDonkey is a lock and a platform that, together, allows bike owners to rent out their (spare) bike in the simplest way possible and allows renters to find and rent a bike by the click of a button. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not.
To get on board the bike revolution, all you have to do is get a Donkey kit, mount it to your bike and start renting out your bike whenever you don’t use it. There’s no limit as to how many bikes you can rent out or for how long, equally giving individuals a great chance to monetize on the system in the way that suits them.
Donkey Republic has tested the lock and platform in and around Copenhagen, and the system works. We have served more than 300 paying users since June, and have more than 10,000 trips on Donkey system.
Now we’re ready to share it with the rest of the world, and people are already starting to talk …
We are a group of bike-crazed entrepreneurs based in the bike-crazed city of Copenhagen. We’re eager to create better urban areas, and we know that bikes is a great place to start, just look at where we live.
Using more bikes rather than cars have ample benefits: Lower emissions and air pollution, increasing physical activity, improving local economy, and increasing general safety are among well-known ones. We also like the democratising effect of bicycles replacing ugly SUVs.
Needless to say we absolutely love biking and we’re based right in the middle of all the positive impact biking has had in Copenhagen. And it is exactly this impact we’re keen to see happen in many more places around the world. With the lock and the platform, we’re now ready to see bike sharing taken on in every corner – and without even the need of building custom bike stations. We want to share the bikes that are already in the cities, while creating value for both the owner and user of the bike.
The Business Case
We want to spread the Donkeys all over, and that is only possible if it also means good business.
The going rate of (city) bicycle rent in Northern Europe is around 10 EUR per day. It’s more expensive at hotels, and it is typical for a hotel in Denmark to rent a single day of a bike at 20 EUR (150 DKK). We have rented our own Donkeys for 10 EUR per day (75 DKK) with ease.
Donkey Republic, the company behind AirDonkey, takes 20% of the rental fee – leaving you the80%. For this price, we provide, customer support, marketing and constant improvement of the system.
This means that you can earn 8 EUR per rental day, and only after 10 rental days, the investment in 80 EUR AirDonkey kit will have paid for itself.
Depending on your location, you can expect to rent your Donkey out 10-30% of the time. Placing your Donkey in central locations, and having interesting features on your bicycle (a baby seat?) will increase chances that it’s rented. It is realistic to expect 100 rental days in a year for a nice Donkey. And that pays not only for the lock, but also for your bike – including repairs.
What They Say
Michael Colville-Andersen runs Copenhagenize, and consults cities around the world on how to create a better cycling culture. in October, he was in Brussels to inspire EU transport ministers on how to make cities more bicycle friendly.
Here is what he had to say about AirDonkey.
And, here are a few Donkey users telling about their first-hand experiences.
How It Works
It’s one of our best moments each day when unlocking our bikes to get to work in the morning with the Donkey App and lock mounted on our bikes. Watch this video to feel the magic!
Order your AirDonkey Kit and mount the lock and panel on your bike.
Take a picture of your bike, create a profile for the bike on AirDonkey and choose the weekly and daily rental prices for your bike.
Park the bike in a convenient place, define your drop-off zone and the bike is ready to make someone’s holiday better!
If you need to use your bike yourself, you simply take it out of the system for an hour, a day, a week or however long you may need it.
Create a profile and enter your credit card information.
Use the in-app map to locate bikes near you. If you have a hard time finding the bike, hit “Ping” to make the lock send out a sound. When you’re by the bike simply hit “unlock” and start riding.
At the end of your rental, leave the bike back in the drop-off zone and lock it.
There’s no need to hand back keys, wait for a bike shop to open, you don’t have to be back at a specific time and you don’t need to mess around with cash. Bike rentals have never been easier!
Partners (Owners With More Than 5 Donkeys)
If you are planning to set up a business with a lot of Donkeys, we should speak. We will build closer ties with those investing / operating more than 5 bicycles. We will help you with the setup and best practices. If your intention is to get more than 5 Donkey kits or bikes, drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; subject line: ‘I want to run a Donkey hub’.
What We Offer
Under The Hood
The Donkey lock is based on a simple but effective design. It’s designed to last and to withstand the climate. We are not just saying that, our locks have been on the streets of Denmark during the winter season.
The lock dimensions is 12.5 cm x 15.0 cm x 4.5 cm and fits all standard sized bikes very well. It weighs 0.5 kg.
Have a backstage peek into how and where our locks are produced. This footage is from our last team trip to visit our suppliers in Istanbul.
We have built relations with our suppliers over the past year. With the kickstarter campaign support, we will need to invest in metal molds and new processes to automate some of the manufacturing that is currently delivered manually. Also, we will establish a scalable assembly and quality assurance line.
Breaking the bike during rental
Accidents happen. We expect that now and then the renter will break something. When that happens, we will ask the renter to explain the issue with the bike. The renter will need to take a picture of the bike at the end of the rental, and from the picture we can also verify disputes for most issues.
The renter will pay for broken parts. The payment will be fixed by a tariff established to protect both sides. This tariff will consider average prices for replacing the broken part.
We cannot yet offer insurance against theft. But we are speaking to insurance companies to propose some options. If the bike is stolen while it is in rental, renter is liable for it. Once renter locks and take s a picture of the bike, the responsibility is over to the owner.
Donkey lock is built on 3mm thick iron plate that holds everything together. The easiest way to open the lock is via cutting the iron beam, which is not easier than cutting through a chain.
While the Donkey Lock only locks the back wheel to the frame, by using an additional security chain, one can lock the bike to something. We make such a security chain available alongside the AirDonkey kit. One could also use a leash to support the lock.
We’re all about security, and we’re always working to improve. We do frequent hammer tests, to make sure our product is up to scratch. Judge for yourself
Getting a chain or a leash with your lock
We offer AirDonkey package with a chain, or without a chain (see the rewards).
If you would like to choose a leash or a chain yourself, here are a few options to order them online.
- Superlock Chain for 12 EUR
- ABUS Chain for 15 EUR
- Trimax Chain for 24 EUR
- ABUS 8mm Cable 12 EUR
- ABUS 12mm Cable for 17 EUR
Your Donkey lock is protected by a highly sophisticated symmetric encrypted handshake performed between Donkey Republic’s secure server and your Donkey lock. This protects your bike against known attacks that leverage the fact that a standard Bluetooth Low Energy key exchange can be sniffed.
That’s why we implemented a secure handshake directly between our secure server and the lock. This makes the data transferred through the renters app unreadable to anyone but the lock.
When a renter purchases a rental the server will generate a timelimited unlock command packet. The encrypted command packet is downloaded to the renters phone and can be used only for the period which he or she paid for. Once it expires it can never be used to unlock the bike again.
A similar mechanism is implemented for returning the bike. And it even works if the renter only has an internet connection while purchasing and ending the rental.
Feel free to ask any questions about how we secure our lock, we are open because true security doesn’t come from obscurity.
Donkey the Original Bikes
Where It All Started
The idea started here in Copenhagen, when our co-founder Erdem and his friend started playing around with renting out bikes using texts and code locks. This inspired Erdem and that’s when we started to develop the lock. He found some other bike-entrepreneurs, and Donkey Republic was born.
We were convinced there had to be a way to make it easier for people to share and monetize their bike, making it worth their while, and AirDonkey is the solution.
Here’s the founders talking about why they started the company in the first place:
Where We Are Now
In the spring of 2015 we started testing the lock and the system in and around Copenhagen with Donkey Republic bikes. Now we have more than 300 paying users and 10.000 logged trips in the system. We’ve spent a lot of time perfecting the design, setting up the best possible supply chain to ensure high quality and ensuring that the communication between the lock and the app really works.
Now we’re absolutely ready to start sharing bikes all over the world and let everyone who wants use the platform and the lock for their bike(s).
We’re a proud team of bike-loving engineers, developers, marketers and business developers. We have several start-ups behind us as well as years of experience from the corporate world. We also love cake.