Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!
Buycycle: We’re three friends and sports enthusiasts who live in Munich. We met while at college and doing sports and often go out on our road bikes together. That’s how we came up with the idea behind Buycycle.
Florian Senoner: Flo is 30 years old and from South Tyrol. He studied environmental management in Bozen and then worked as a sustainability consultant for five years. During that time, he developed concepts and strategies to make corporate processes more sustainable. He makes sure the processes at Buycycle are sustainable. He’s also responsible for finance and operations.
Jonas Jäger: Jonas is from Hannover and 29 years old. He studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich and then worked as a management consultant. Last year, he worked for a software startup that implements digital solutions for manufacturing companies. At Buycycle, Jonas is CTO – he takes care of the product and the corresponding user experience.
Theodor Golditchuk: Theo grew up in Berlin and is 30 years old. He studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich. After his studies, he worked as a management consultant for five years with a focus on the digitization and optimization of company processes. Marketing and sales are his primary focus at Buycycle.
Getting unused bikes out of basements
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Buycycle: The road bike market has been booming since the corona pandemic began – which means there are virtually no new road bikes available to buy. The manufacturers are sold out. Buycycle’s aim is to relieve the supply bottleneck as an online marketplace for buying and selling used road bikes We see two major advantages in the current situation:
- The potential of the used bike market has grown because there’s a short supply for buyers and potential sellers can sell their bikes at good, realistic prices.
- A lot of people are taking up road biking – but we’re convinced that you don’t always need to have a new bike and that there are so many unused bikes sitting around in German basements. With our platform, we’d like to leverage this potential and make the private buying and selling of road bikes simple, secure and quick. We want to make it possible for more people to start road biking and do our part in protecting the environment and resources.
Between an online marketplace and distributor
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Buycycle: It’s true, there are platforms for selling and/or buying used road bikes, but they’re limited in function. There are essentially two competitors and differences.
On the one hand, you have online marketplaces: sites like eBay Classifieds or Quoka are frequently used for exchanging goods. They persist because of their many users and the resulting broad range of offers. But for a premium road bike, these sites only work to a certain extent. To explain the problems and our ideas in detail:
Searching: On the current platforms, you can find road bikes among razors, books and furniture. The descriptions and pictures are often incomplete. Thanks to a databank of road bike models from the last 20 years, the advertisements on Buycycle have a standardized format and description. This creates an online shop look with a structured search tool. Moreover, sellers can create an advertisement with just a few clicks.
Communication: The number of unnecessary messages sent between potential sellers and buyers. Buycycle manages communication and organizes the correspondence between users.
Secure payment: You sometimes have to exchange large amounts of money without any guarantee. You run the risk of not receiving the item. We want to solve that problem with secure payment on our platform. And there’s no limit on the secure payments.
Delivery: Organizing packaging material and a company to deliver a bike requires a lot of effort from the seller. Which is why the bikes are often sold only for pick-up buy the buyer. Buycycle sends the shipping material to the seller’s home and then picks up the packaged bike from their doorstep. That eliminates any stress for the seller and the buyer won’t have to spend the weekend in their car.
Returns: Those who are new to road biking in particular can feel uncertain when buying an expensive bike. It hasn’t been possible to return items that are purchased privately until now. We’re closing that gap. If the bike is the wrong one or damaged, you can send it back to us at Buycycle. We’ll then take care of the rest of the return process with the seller.
And then on the other hand, you have distributors: Bike dealers are familiar with the weak points of online marketplaces we described above. They created platforms like Bikesale, which have a great range of features for buyers (secure payment, delivery, returns, etc.). But these online bike dealers need a lot of capital to buy these bikes and/or they acquire their used road bikes mostly through bike shops. Moreover, they concentrate on all kinds of bikes (from city bikes to mountain bikes). As a result, these sites usually just have a small number of used road bikes on offer.
We want to combine the advantages of both groups of competitors: the functionality of an online marketplace for connecting private and professional sellers and buyers combined with the significant advantages of a bike dealer. We’re hoping this will give us a broad selection specifically for road biking with a high level of user functionality.
Financing strategy and legal issues
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
- The financing strategy – figuring out how to cover our required capital in the beginning. We decided on a combination of our own capital and a startup loan (which was fortunately approved by a bank).
- The transition from our previous jobs to Buycycle – giving up reliable paychecks to work on our big goal while dealing with financial uncertainty.
- Becoming familiar with new topics – from legal issues to accounting, we’ve learned a lot about new topics and have certainly also made mistakes. But that learning is exactly what helps us grow by taking us out of our personal comfort zones.
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Buycycle: Our website will go live in mid-May. Up to now, we’ve only processed test purchases.
Munich loves road bikes
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Buycycle: It’s great! We’ve discovered coworking spaces, startup programs, business case competitions, potential investors and a large community of founders. After becoming part of the LMU accelerator program, we received valuable input on building our company right away during the first few weeks. We’ve also benefitted from a large network of service providers (from programming to marketing agencies), experts and students.
On top of that, Munich loves road bikes. Which means we can test and develop our product, service and marketing campaigns in the local market.
Munich Startup: Uphill or downhill?
Buycycle: Definitely uphill. But that’s easy to say when you’ve just gotten started.