A.Angela Gonzalez came up with the crucial idea on a business trip to Australia. She noticed cyclists with trailers who pulled advertising behind them – and thought that this type of advertising could certainly be improved. Back in Germany, she told her passenger Patrick Klug about it on a car trip – he was thrilled. So excited that he quit his job in sales and founded the start-up Bikuh with her.
Now, with their idea of using the space between bicycle spokes for advertising and paying the cyclists for it, the two were invited to the program “Die Höhle der Löwen”. Hessian companies like the pizza dough baker Lizza, the account app Finanzguru and the Flapgrip mobile phone clip have already been able to conclude lucrative deals with “lions” like billionaire Carsten Maschmeyer or ex-Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg. Gonzalez and Klug get their chance with Bikuh on Monday evening. Your offer of participation to the “Löwen”: 200,000 euros for 20 percent of their company. By participating in the show, which was seen by more than two million viewers again last week, Gonzalez and Klug expect national fame. “An exciting topic,” said potential investor and grab box king Ralf Dümmel when he greeted them on the show.
Around 20 cents per kilometer
The two Frankfurters by choice have been working on their start-up Bikuh since 2015, which has already won several local and regional awards. You are relying on two business models. The first is about equipping private bicycles with advertising discs between the spokes. The cyclist’s remuneration depends on the distance traveled. You can expect an average of around 20 cents per kilometer, plus surcharges for bad weather and frequent drivers. The model is not worthwhile for “Sunday drivers”, says the 39-year-old Klug (who is still called Kolb on the show, but has been married a few months ago since it was recorded). Because Bikuh only pays when the drivers cover at least 100 kilometers a month.
The advertising customers have so far included a Frankfurt university, the city of Frankfurt, a location app provider and a cooperative bank. In total, they would have had 14 advertisers. For an area with a million inhabitants and 200 bikes, they would have to pay 26,000 euros a month, the founders explained in the program. In 2019, the annual turnover was 68,000 euros.
Bikuh describes cycling advertising as an innovation. “Our advertising is carried from the target group to the target group,” explains thirty-four year old Angela Gonzalez. Because one weakness of outdoor advertising is that it is difficult to personalize. This weakness is addressed by Bikuh, because the cyclists can choose which advertising to attach to their spokes. The result: Friends, relatives and colleagues are presented with advertisements that are also relevant to them because a member of their peer group has selected them. The vegan is interested in nutrition, so chooses advertising from this area. Gonzalez believes that the advertising works better that way.
“Stop that, it doesn’t work”
But when you drive, nobody can see the advertising, replies “Löwe” and entrepreneur Nils Glagau in the show. Ex-TV boss Georg Kofler thinks that outdoor advertising has no future, the trend is towards digital and interactive advertising. “That won’t work, I’m out.” “Stop that, it won’t work,” says Carsten Maschmeyer, too, but for different reasons: He recommends a B2B concept to the founders, ie a business model that is aimed at companies . The effort with private customers is too high. The other “lions” do not take hold either. The founders have not been able to convince any of the television investors.
Bikuh has now developed an offer for companies and it works without advertising and minimum kilometers. Bikuh now wants to offer employers to motivate employees to cycle to work. With the help of the Bikuh app and the GPS in the smartphone, kilometers traveled by employees can be recorded, to which the company can then either give a cash bonus or, for example, a day off – quasi an additional commuter allowance from the boss, but there are commuters in the corona pandemic currently only a few on bicycles. So it remains to be seen what happens to this business plan. The entrepreneurs do not want to comment on current sales. The situation was “extremely tense” due to Corona, but the start-up could continue to pay for the seven employees. However, the founders are still sticking to the idea of spoke advertising.
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