Tech Pitch: VonCrank
With the number of cyclists in London at a record high, the founder of the "AA for bikes" app says it's time cyclists were treated the same as motorists...
Company name: VonCrank
Founders: Cariern Clement-Pascall (25)
Background: Semi-pro rugby player and then worked as director of a mobile bicycle company for three years
Based in: London
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?
- VonCrank is the bike shop that comes to you. Our mechanics repair and service bikes on streets, at homes and in workplaces. We pick up, drop off, and come to the stranded at great speed.
- VonCrank is a simple to use booking, management and integrated payments app which allows users to connect with local, experienced and vetted bicycle mechanics instantly.
- It is much like Uber/AA for bikes; the affordable, convenient service for all cyclists. Digitalised, modernised, we are the bike repair platform for the 21st century.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
As UK cities balloon in size, and pressures mount on many transport links, people are turning away from traffic jams and packed Tube and tram journeys and, instead, are finding the freedom of two wheels.
According to Transport for London (TfL) the number of cyclists in London is at a record high, and shows no signs of slowing. The number of cycling journeys annually has hit 23 million (just in London) and is rising and so the number of punctures, broken chains, and unsuspecting pothole victims increases too.
VonCrank is the bike repair and service solution to meet these demands. It is far more affordable than other repair companies and offers a uniquely convenient service – VonCrank is set to be the future of bike repairs. We don’t expect the drivers of the UK to push their cars to garages when they break down and we don’t think cyclists should be treated differently. Saving the cyclists of the UK time, money and hassle, VonCrank keeps our cities moving.
Are you funded?
VonCrank is self-funded with the company running on reinvestment of profit. We will be aiming to secure seed funding in January 2016.
What were you doing before starting?
Before VonCrank I pursued a full time rugby career, playing semi-pro rugby league. I played for London Broncos (Harlequins RL) and London Skolars.
I then co-founded a mobile bicycle repair service, operating in London from 2011-2014. I’ve always had a strong interest in analysing people and finding patterns in their behaviour and I developed entrepreneurial instincts early in life. To me, there is so much that can be learnt from the success of others. I always seek to develop knowledge and understanding by looking at pre-existing examples.
Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.
It is through personal experience and researching successful business models and entrepreneurs, that I have developed and honed my understanding of business and the transport industry.
What’s the best thing about where you’re based?
Based in London, VonCrank is immersed in a creative hub with fantastic support for start-ups. With London being such a centre for technology, we have had countless opportunities to converse with a diverse and talented range of individuals through networking events. This continued exposure aided the creation of our app.
London’s population continues to surge, and the number of cyclists rises with it. Congestion charges, more cycle lanes, investment in green alternatives all mean there is no doubt that London and other cities needs for our service will only increase.
We believe that commuters, investors and mangers of infrastructure will inevitably look to the healthiest, most environmentally friendly forms of transport and the industries that support them.