In need of a mountain bike for a trip last spring, Jake Maude, an MBA candidate at Babson College, did what most people would do: he went on Craigslist.
But instead of finding the hidden gem that he had hoped for, Maude had what he refers to as the “classic Craigslist experience.” The negotiation was sketchy and after riding the bike the first time, both tires were flat.
Realizing his experience wasn’t unique in the bike community, Maude founded BikeLord, a peer-to-peer marketplace for buying, selling and soon renting bikes.
“Right now, we are focusing on the local bike economy,” Maude, whose background is in software development, told The Buzz. “There are all of these awesome bikes out there…we want to make it easier for people to see them.”
The app allows people to not only purchase and sell bikes, but also add parts to the bike, have it tuned up and get the bike delivered. Bike shops can use the app as well. The company has partnered with a third party to help out with the maintenance and delivery piece.
Maude said BikeLord will make money by taking a small commission on bikes sold, for the delivery piece and for any maintenance the company might do on individual orders.
The company is planning to roll out the rental piece soon, where people can rent bikes from one another for a minimum of three days. Maude also said he would like to partner with nonprofit organizations to promote environmental issues.
“Ultimately, if you get more people on bikes, there are less cars on the road,” he said.
The market for bike sales is huge. According to Maude, 18 million bikes are bought and sold every year, with $50,000 to $75,000 worth of bikes listed in for sale every day in Boston alone.
The market for used bikes in the U.S. is worth $2.6 billion and $6.2 billion for new and used bikes. If successful in Boston, Maude would like to expand to other hubs like New York City and Washington D.C.
Right now, the company is focused on acquiring users, with a goal of having 1,000 transactions completed on the app by mid-May. If interested in partnering with Bike Lord or learning more, email jake@BikeLord.co.