India started adopting the idea of renting cabs after Ola and Uber revolutionized the commute system. But there was still a gap for bikes. This gave birth to the famous bike rental startup – Bounce.
Renting a cab is fine but what if someone needs a quick ride somewhere around? Cabs are not feasible everywhere.
Moreover, what if a group of students wants to travel around on two-wheelers? Hostelers don’t even have bikes. So, bike rental services can be a good option for such use cases.
How does the Bounce app works?
You need to install the Bounce app on your smartphone and register. Based on the location, bikes will be shown on the map. Follow the path and take the bike. Entering the OTP will unlock it and you are free to ride it.
Your location will be tracked using GPS. Once your ride is completed, you can park the bike anywhere and leave it. But make sure you park it at a safer place.
Charges are as less as Rs 6/km. Currently, this service is only operational in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mysore, Vadodara, Vijayawada & Jaipur.
Story of bike-sharing platform Bounce
Bounce is a Bangalore-based startup that was initiated as a scooter-rental service in 2014.
WickedRide is the parent company of Bounce and they used to rent luxury bikes like Harley Davidson, Royal Enfield, Triumph, etc.
As time passed, WickedRide decided to cater masses by renting out the scooters. The approach was different.
Unlike Ola or Uber, Bounce bought all the scooters & bikes to rent them. If you don’t know, Ola and Uber don’t own a single car. Their cabs are owned by drivers.
This bike-rental startup raised more than $200 Million in 9 funding rounds till now. The biggest investors are Sequoia Capital India, Accel India, and many others.
The idea was good. The Bounce team implemented it well. Everything was looking perfect on paper but practically things started moving out.
Reason? People simply don’t deserve such initiatives.
What went wrong?
Bounce invested all the funding amount in buying new scooters & bikes. They planned to expand the brand in multiple cities. But this turned out to be the biggest mistake.
The business model could never become asset-light and scalable because buying new scooters and maintaining them is a costly affair. Importantly, some users misused the whole service and exploited the vehicles.
People not only drove the vehicles rashly but they vandalized the bikes. Several incidents and reports mentioned that scooters were left in gutters, homes, and the worst possible places. Some users took out the spare parts and sold them.
As a result, the company started facing heavy losses. Operating vehicles is not a big deal. They calculated it well. But these expenses were unexpected and that burned a hole in the startup’s pocket.
No company bears the expenses. It affects the good customers as well as the society.
According to Economic Times, Bounce fired 40-60% of its employees in February 2021.
Even in June 2020, the company laid off around 22% of its workforce due to lockdown in India.
Revenue Model of Bounce Sharing
Bounce soon realized that they need to change the business model and operations. So, they started expanding in multiple verticals.
- Bike renting – No doubt, this is the core business model where they rent their bikes and earn money from users.
- Bounce Loop – Allows vehicle owners to rent their vehicles on Bounce and earn money from two-wheelers. As a platform, the company takes some commission out of it. Good initiative since many people have their bikes at home without the need of commuting daily.
- Bounce Mechanic – Company has a workforce for servicing their vehicles. As a two-wheeler owner, you can directly hire these experts for your vehicle’s maintenance.
- Bounce Shield – This is a subscription for vehicle owners where Bounce will help them out during unwanted calamities like running out of fuel, punctures, or even vehicle breakdown. If you own a two-wheeler, this can be a good protective measure for you.
- Bounce Suite – This is a CRM platform for all the business owners in the auto industry. It gives several features to get customers and manage them. In return, Bounce charges for that.
- Selling Vehicles and Accessories – The company sells EVs, scooters, used bikes, helmets, and several accessories. Most importantly, Bounce has entered the segment of electric vehicles recently.
In short, you will notice how this startup has evolved to bring products related to vehicle owners and not on rental services.