Bike thieves beware, your job is about to get harder – Lock8, one of a wave of companies designing and building smarter bike locks, will sell the first 1,000 of its product at the Eurobike trade fair later this month for delivery in December.
The sale is being targeted specifically at bike rental businesses which want to check the lock out ahead of the summer 2015 season. Eurobike is an international four-day event held in Friedrichshafen in western Germany each year.
Lock8, which won the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin last year, has created a secure bike lock connected to GPS and Bluetooth. The lock essentially works as a docking station and can be controlled via smartphone, alerting the user if someone tries to interfere with it, including emitting a piercing alarm. The product is now being squarely aimed at rental companies, and the company has reported pre-orders from more than 30 countries.
Part of the reason for that is that the Lock8 technology opens up the possibility of a web-based rental business, where bikes all over the world can be connected to the network enabling users to book and unlock them via an app.
Franz Salzmann, co-founder and CEO of Lock8, said: “In order to provide the opportunity to test our system ahead of the 2015 season, we will sell five to ten test locks to our business customers at Eurobike. … Overall we have 1,000 locks available that can be delivered this year.”
Fellow co-founder Dr. Daniel Zajarias-Fainsod explained how the technology can redefine global bicycle hire and sharing: “When you need a rental bike, you can find one equipped with Lock8 in the vicinity with the smartphone app. After booking, the bike can be unlocked via the app and off you go.”
Salzmann added: “This makes bike rental as simple and flexible as never before.”
Lock8′s parent company VeloLock is based in Berlin and London, although the two founders studied together at Oxford University.
Following their win at Disrupt, they appeared at the Apple Store on Berlin’s famous Kufürstendamm together with one of their investors, Christophe Maire, and shortly afterwards announced a manufacturing deal with Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics.
The pair will be hoping to make significant inroads into what promises to be a lucrative market for the next generation of bike security, with many competitors – such as Bitlock and Skylock – snapping at their heels.