September 6, 2017
Purdue graduates create eco-friendly, smart bike share program to improve community transit, connection
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – VeoRide Inc., a Purdue student startup, is developing a sustainable and smart bike share program that allows users to retrieve and return a bike from and to the nearest bike rack to improve convenience, comfort and affordability of bike share experiences.
Candice Xie, a graduate from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, and Edwin Tan, a graduate from the School of Mechanical Engineering, co-founded VeoRide to commercialize their smart bike share idea and to improve alternative public transportation options.
“We hope to revolutionize how people use bike shares by giving riders a greater sense of freedom. Any bike rack could potentially become a VeoRide station, so customers won’t have to worry about returning or retrieving bikes to and from a specific location,” Xie said. “We’re excited for everyone and anyone to use our system to take you to friends, family or work.”
VeoRide’s mobile app allows riders to see all available bikes and their locations within the community, and the platform recommends the nearest available bike. The rider will choose an available bike, and then the application suggests a route to that bike. VeoRide also offers a reservation platform on their app to reserve a bike before pickup. After reaching the bike, the individual will scan the QR codes placed on the bike onto the app and “unlock” the bike. Once finishing the ride, customers will push the smart lock button to “lock” the bike and begin the automatic payment process.
“Our policies aim to not limit traveling distance and to be more convenient for the user. Our customers will save their credit or debit card information to the app, which allows us to collect payments automatically,” Xie said. “Always putting our riders first, we securely record and store rider's' personal information in encrypted databases and we partner with a third-party payment gateway provider that is level 1 PCI compliant, the highest level of compliance.”
Using a pay-as-you-go pricing model, VeoRide assigns a price based on the time the bike spends between “unlocked” to “locked.” VeoRide’s price is 50 cents for every 15 minutes.
Tan designed the VeoRide bike in attempt to allow all riders the best experience.
“We are a bike share company that knows the whole process from bike design to rider satisfaction,” he said. “I grew up in a bike engineering family. My education in mechanical engineering was oriented around bike design and bike-rider interaction. I worked at a top-tier bicycle company after I graduated. It was our goal that the VeoRide bike’s design offers the highest quality with the most affordability.”
VeoRide emphasizes sustainability by encouraging eco-friendly transportation.
“Every module on the bike is solar-powered through the baskets,” said Xie. “We want all our technology to be based in sustainability.”
Xie believes the VeoRide’s strength and competitive edge come from the subtle details.
“We collaborated with leading bike manufacturers to build reliable and high-quality bikes,” Tan said. “We develop one of the most stringent testing protocols in the industry. Every prototype had to pass at least ten types of testing on everything from fatigue testing to impact testing. Through a partnership with a third-party testing lab, we guarantee our products met US and international safety standard.”
By offering a high-quality bike, Xie and Tan also hope to bring a unique co-branding opportunity to local communities. They would like to make community growth another facet of VeoRide.
“We are looking forward to connecting with communities and even offering customizable bike fleets to our partners.” Xie said. “We hope to collaborate with cities and universities to promote cycling and to encourage sustainable transportation.”
VeoRide’s founders hope for a full commercial launch this fall. They are speaking with potential partners from multiple states. The company is seeking software engineers, market growth managers and operations managers to help scale the program. The company also anticipates collaborating with city planners and offices of sustainability.
Eventually, Xie and Tan aspire to expand VeoRide across the nation and across the globe.
“We want to make sure everyone has the choice and can afford to have to the choice to enjoy a bike ride. We want to make that access as available as we can,” Xie said.
About Purdue Foundry
The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer: Kelsey Henry, 765-588-3342, email@example.com
Purdue Research Foundation Contact: Cynthia Sequin, 765-558-3340, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Candice Xie, email@example.com
Edwin Tan, firstname.lastname@example.org