What is Baqme?
A shared platform for electric cargo bikes, with which the startup wants to make short car trips superfluous. First in Rotterdam and The Hague, soon in Ghent and in a few years, perhaps in the other big European cities.
The formula is simple: download the app, reserve a bike, open the lock with the app, pedal from A to B, and park the cargo bike within the city area.
A well known concept. However, according to co-founder Berenice van Gessel, Baqme fills a gap in the market: “There is still a Dutch party offering shared cargo bikes (Cargoroo, ed.), but in that game a bicycle always has to return to the same place.’
‘We let the user decide for himself how he uses the bike. And that is becoming fashionable, because our data shows that only one in five trips is round trip. The rest goes from A to B.’
Baqme works together with the transport companies RET and HTM, so that travelers can travel with a shared electric bicycle after their trip by bus or train.
The Rotterdam Baqme was founded in February 2021 by Souren Arakelian (35), Berenice van Gessel (35) and Sven Velthuis (35). Arakelian and Velthuis have known each other since high school. Van Gessel met Arakelian when they both worked in the financial sector. Van Gessel went to Uber, but when Arakelian told him about her electric cargo bike idea, she quickly changed.
‘We found that more than fifty percent of all car trips in the city are less than five kilometres. So cities are increasingly encouraging residents to walk or bike, but that’s not realistic if you want to bring children, animals, or belongings with you. An electric cargo bike is the perfect solution, except for one thing: price. Plus, you don’t need a cargo bike every day. This is how we came up with the idea of a concept to share.
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Who is waiting for him?
Any person in need of transportation, over 18 years of age, with an emphasis on the group between 25 and 45 years of age. ‘A large part of our target group are parents with young children, who use the cargo bike to take their children to school or sports. ‘
“We also focus on small businesses, which deliver packages, for example. And to individuals who want to transport things in the city. Think, for example, of a message at the hardware store, at the garden center or on a trip with your suitcase to the airport.’
How far is Baqme?
More than a year ago, Baqme started with twenty bikes in Rotterdam. Since then, the startup has expanded with 350 cargo bikes in Rotterdam and The Hague. This summer an additional 150 cargo bikes will be added for Ghent. This causes the startup to skip our capital, which is striking. It has to do with legal reasons. Amsterdam is somewhat stricter in terms of permits than other cities.’
Amsterdam is a bit stricter in terms of permits.
Baqme recently started offering entrepreneurs an ‘E-cargobike as a Service’ (ECaaS). With a flexible monthly lease, they rent their own electric cargo bike. Entrepreneurs don’t have to share this bike, but they do get the key and the opportunity to charge the battery themselves. Baqme takes care of the maintenance.
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The dream? it’s great Baqme wants the load sharing provider be in Europe. After the Netherlands and Belgium, Germany is the third country on the wish list. The startup will most likely get underway in a fourth city this summer, but Van Gessel can’t say anything about that just yet.
What is the revenue model?
Baqme has some pricing models. The most used is the pay as you gofor which the user pays an initial fixed rate of 1.95 euros and then 0.10 euro cents per minute.
‘Because we encourage longer use, we use various promotions. One hour costs 6 euros, three hours 12 euros, one day 24 euros and one month 150 euros. The startup does not want to share billing figures (yet).
Do you still need money?
So far, Baqme has raised approximately one million euros in investments. This came partly from its own network and partly from a crowdfunding campaign, with which the startup raised €400,000 in half an hour.
Baqme is currently in talks with investors about financing expansion plans. That is again 1 million euros.